Monthly Archives: December 2016

Dickens – the extra Christmas numbers in Tauchnitz

Bookdealer Jeremy Parrott hit the headlines last year when he discovered a remarkable set of bound volumes of ‘All the Year Round’, the periodical founded and owned by Charles Dickens.  The volumes had been annotated by Dickens himself to show the names of the authors of each contribution.

All articles, stories and poems had originally been published anonymously, with only Dickens’ own name appearing as editor. The authors of many had remained unknown for well over 100 years.  It had become one of the great literary puzzles that scholars debated endlessly, and at one stroke Jeremy Parrott seems to have solved it.  It’s hard to imagine the excitement that he must have felt when he realised what he had discovered.

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But a small dent had been made in this puzzle much earlier.   One of the many firsts that the German publisher Tauchnitz achieved, was to be the first to identify who had written what in some of the Christmas numbers of ‘All the Year Round’.  Here’s how it happened.

It had become a tradition for Dickens each Christmas to publish a special Christmas number of ‘All the Year Round’ (and before that ‘Household Words’), which contained a series of short stories by different authors linked into a single overall framework.  Dickens himself would write at least one story, as well as forming the framework, and other contributors would write the other stories, or chapters.  As usual, contributors other than Dickens were mostly anonymous.

In 1862 Tauchnitz reprinted the stories from ‘All the Year Round’ of 1859, 1860 and 1861 as volume 609 of the Collection of British Authors, under the title ‘Christmas Stories’.  The paperback wrapper described the stories as being by Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins etc., but the title page, listed all the separate authors for each story.   Dickens and Collins are given precedence in each case, followed by the other names, so it is not made clear exactly which parts were written by which author.  But at least the names are there, and according to research by Neville Davies in 1978, this is believed to be the first time that they had been identified.

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Tauchnitz volume 609 – crediting all authors

Tauchnitz had been caught out before by reprinting works from ‘Household Words’ and seeming to attribute them just to Dickens.  In 1856 he had started a series of ‘Novels and Tales  reprinted from Household Words, conducted by Charles Dickens’, where most of the writing was by other authors.  This was in the tradition of ‘Household Words’, but it became a bit much when all of volume 4 of the series and most of volume 5 were devoted to a single novel, ‘The dead secret’, written by Wilkie Collins.   Although Collins was credited on the contents page, the only author’s name on the title page and the wrappers of the first printing was that of Dickens, and this really did seem unfair.  On later printings, Collins was properly credited.  Once bitten, Tauchnitz may have been twice shy.  When it came to reprinting the Christmas stories, he wanted all authors credited.

Five years later in 1867, he brought the series up to date by publishing the Christmas stories from 1862, 1863 and 1864 as volume 888 in the series, and those from 1865 and 1866 as volume 894.  Perhaps surprisingly, this time the title page shows only the name of Dickens, although it does add ‘and the authors named at the head of the stories’.   Although this is in some ways a step backwards, the real difference here is that at the start of the stories, each chapter has the name of the author against it, so that we can now see exactly who wrote what.   Again this is believed to be the first time that this information had been revealed.  Presumably it was done with the approval of Dickens, and the same information appeared in Britain the following year, after the final Christmas story of 1867, when a Collected Edition of all the 9 stories from 1859 to 1867 was published.

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Tauchnitz volume 888 – ‘Charles Dickens and the authors named at the head of the stories’

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That final 1867 story – ‘No thoroughfare’, which was written by Dickens and Collins only, was published in a Tauchnitz Edition in June 1868, as volume 961, and both authors are fully credited.  But the story was not long enough to fill a volume on its own and so another story that had been published in ‘All the year round’ was included with it.  ‘The late Miss Hollingford’ had been written by Rosa Mulholland, but was published anonymously, leaving the rather unfortunate impression that it too had been written by Dickens and Collins.

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‘The late Miss Hollingford’ – not by Dickens and Collins

 

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America’s Overseas Editions

By March 1944, the Council on Books in Wartime, the body responsible for publishing the US Armed Services Editions, was already starting to think about the need for books in post-war Europe.  Not in an entirely disinterested way, of course.  This was a project sponsored by the Psychological Warfare Branch, made up of members of the US Army, the Office of War Information and the OSS, a wartime intelligence agency that was the predecessor of the CIA.  In the words of the official history of the Council, ‘Books were wanted which would give the people of Europe a picture of what Americans are like and what we had been doing since communications were closed’.  Not to put too fine a point on it, this was a propaganda exercise, and one that led to a substantial publishing programme.

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The Americans were undoubtedly right though to identify the need for books, and to prepare for it.  Within a relatively short time the US, along with the other Allies, found itself directly administering some quite large areas of Europe, and present in much wider areas.  Its ambitions were far more than just to keep the peace.  It wanted to do what it could to ensure there would never be another European war, and in pursuit of that goal it wanted to spread what it saw as American values of freedom and democracy, and suppress what remained of the philosophy of totalitarianism.

Within the directly administered areas in Germany, Austria and Italy, the US took wide-ranging control of almost all aspects of the media, through the Information Services Branch (ISB).  Press and radio were tightly controlled, as were other aspects such as theatre, cinema and even art.  But publishing was clearly an important area for the spread of ideas and as well as trying to influence and control the output of local publishers, the Americans issued their own publications, as did the British.

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For the British, the series of Guild Books editions, published in Germany and in Austria, were the gentlest form of propaganda.   The American equivalent, the ‘Overseas Editions’, were both more political and more explicit in their aim.  As John Hench described it in his ‘History of the Book in America’, the books were “intended  to reacquaint Europeans with the heritage, history, and fundamental makeup of the USA, plus a picture of our role in the war.”

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Overseas Editions were produced by a subsidiary of the Council on Books in Wartime, and shared some of the same production methods and some of the same titles as the Armed Services Editions.  But in other respects they were very different and posed particular problems.  The most obvious difficulty was the intention to publish in foreign languages.  That required translations, which took time, and it also required typesetters competent in those languages, who were in short supply.  Plans to publish in both Chinese and Japanese had to be dropped at a late stage.

Finance was also a significant problem, only solved in the end by an offer from Pocket Books to use its credit, in return for having its imprint on the finished books.  When this led to further problems though, Pocket Books waived its rights and no imprint appeared.

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In shape and size, the books were closer to Pocket Books than the unconventional oblong shape of the Armed Services Edition.   In one respect though they differed from both  Pocket Books and Armed Services Editions and almost all other American paperbacks of the time.   US paperbacks were almost defined by the colourfulness, even brashness  of their covers.  Yet the Overseas Editions have an extraordinarily restrained standard typographical cover, with just a small logo.   Did the Americans decide that brashness would not go down well in a more sober Europe, or was it just inappropriate for the more serious subject matter here?

Most of the books, including the Italian translations, but interestingly not the German ones, carry a short message on the front cover referring to how free publishing had been ‘interrupted by Axis aggression’.

A total of 72 books were published – 22 in English, 22 in French, 23 in German and 5 in Italian.  Some of the same titles appear in all four languages, but there’s also some variation.  Most of them are unashamedly patriotic works – Stephen Vincent Benét’s ‘America’, Bernard Jaffe’s ‘Men of Science in America’ and Walter Lippmann’s ‘US War aims’ were typical selections.  But there was also room for a small number of novels, notably Hemingway’s ‘For whom the bell tolls’ and William Saroyan’s ‘The human comedy’.

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Over 3.6 million books were printed, all of them in 1945, with the final shipment in November 1945.  The overall cost was $411,000, equivalent to around 11½ cents each, and as the books were sold at retail prices in each market, the project produced a profit for the Government, something that wasn’t in its original objectives.  Indeed a note in the books is quite specific that they are published by a non-profit organisation.

The books were widely sold, not only in occupied Europe, but also in North Africa, Syria, Turkey, the Philippines, China and Japan.  They’re still relatively easy to find in second hand markets in Europe, in Holland and Belgium as well as in Germany, France and Italy.

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Overseas Editions in German, numbered G1 to G23

 

 

 

 

A Victorian satirist in Tauchnitz Editions

The name of Eustace Clare Grenville: Murray is hardly well-known these days, and so far as I know no photo of him survives.  But between 1871 and 1883, ten of his books, accounting for a total of 17 volumes, were published by Tauchnitz in its Collection of British Authors.   Although the first three were published initially under a pseudonym, he clearly became a well-enough known writer to sell significant numbers of books on the European continent, as well as in Britain.

One of the reasons for his relative lack of public profile, then as now, was that much of his work, both as an author and as a journalist, was published anonymously or under pseudonyms.  And with good cause.   A lot of his output was highly satirical, or even scurrilous, mocking public figures mercilessly.  He almost single-handedly invented, or at least developed, the style of journalism that in today’s Britain would appear in Private Eye. In his own day though, he wrote extensively for ‘Household Words’, the journal edited by Charles Dickens, as well as for various newspapers and briefly for his own publication,’The Queen’s Messenger’.

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Extracts from ‘The Queen’s Messenger’

For much of his life he combined his writing with work as a diplomat, based in Vienna, Constantinople and Odessa amongst other places, and he didn’t hesitate to lampoon his colleagues and even his direct superiors in the diplomatic service.  The Ambassador in Vienna became Lord Fiddledee in Grenville Murray’s writings, while the Ambassador in Constantinople was immortalised as Sir Hector Stubble.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, he failed to progress in the service, and was shunted into various diplomatic backwaters before being dismissed in 1868.

The cover of anonymity failed again to protect him from trouble the following year, when he published an article satirising Lord Carrington and mocking his late father.   Carrington attacked him physically, outside the Conservative Club, leading to a series of court cases, and eventually to Grenville Murray’s exile in France.  That was far from the end of his journalistic career, but it was the stimulus for his career as a novelist, and as a Tauchnitz author.

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His first novel to appear was ‘The member for Paris: a tale of the Second Empire’ written under the pseudonym of ‘Trois-Etoiles’ and published in 1871 in two volumes (vols. 1183 and 1184).  It was followed by two other novels under the same pseudonym, the partly autobiographical ‘Young Brown’ in 1874 (vols. 1444 and 1445), and ‘The boudoir cabal’, in 1875 (vols. 1514, 1515 and 1516).

Grenville Murray had arrived in Paris shortly before the Franco-Prussian War, the siege of Paris in 1870/71 and then the repression of the Paris Commune with much bloodshed.  It was the worst of times, but for a journalist and an author, it was also the best of times. There was both a wealth of material and intense public interest, in Britain and on the continent, in the events of the time and in the regime that had preceded it.

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A rare paperback first printing

He followed up those first three novels with two series of sketches of French life, called ‘French Pictures in English Chalk’, for the first time published under his own name, and now acknowledging his authorship of the earlier volumes as well.  The first series appeared in 1876 (vols. 1612 and 1613) and the second in 1878 (vols. 1770 and 1771).  In-between, ‘The Russians of Today’, a satirical review of Russian life drawing on his experiences in Odessa, was published as volume 1742.  A single volume of ‘Strange Tales’ (vol. 1793) was his third publication in 1878, followed in 1879 by another two volume novel ‘That artful vicar’ (vols. 1820 and 1821).

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Astonishingly, as well as those three books published by Tauchnitz in 1878, he was also able in the same year to have a fourth book issued in the rival ‘Asher’s Collection’ then published by Karl Grädener in Hamburg.  Another series of sketches of French life, ‘Round About France’ appeared as volume 145 in Asher’s Collection.  This seems though to have been the only title he denied to Tauchnitz.

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Grenville Murray died in Paris in 1881, but there must still have been the appetite in continental Europe for more of his writings, as two posthumous volumes followed.  ‘Six months in the ranks’, a novel of military life, was published in 1882 as volume 2064, and ‘People I have met’, a series of comic character sketches, as volume 2129 the following year.

Like all Tauchnitz Editions, the books were originally published as paperbacks, but few first printing copies remain in their original wrappers.  Most surviving copies have been rebound, and are found now in the usual variety of bindings.

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I can’t finish this post without first acknowledging the biography of Grenville Murray written by  Professor G.R. Berridge, called ‘A diplomatic whistleblower in the Victorian era’.  And secondly I have to deal with the question of that odd name.

At his birth in 1824 his name was recorded simply as ‘Eustace, son of Richard and Emma Clare’.  But Clare seems to have been an invented surname to cover up his illegitimacy. The actual parents were Richard Grenville, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, and Emma Murray, an actress.   He grew up with his mother and first took her surname, becoming Eustace Clare Murray.   Only later did he add his father’s surname as well, to become Eustace  Clare Grenville: Murray.   The colon seems to have been nothing but an affectation.  In the long run, as in the short run, his true fate was to become anonymous.

A century of celebrations and the celebration of a centenary

Tauchnitz loved issuing celebratory volumes and had plenty of occasions to do so.  The 500th volume of the series in 1860, the 1000th volume in 1869 and the 2000th in 1881 were all marked by specially commissioned volumes and by specially bound presentation copies to be offered to authors, friends and business contacts.

Then in 1887 it was time to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the business, with a specially published history.  Much of this is taken up with a long list of the works published by the firm, making it a rather luxurious catalogue, but it also includes excerpts from authors’ letters to Tauchnitz, which was to become a feature of subsequent histories.

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Title page of the 50th anniversary history

Volume 3000 seemed to slip by largely unnoticed, but volume 4000 in 1909 was marked by a ‘A manual of American literature’.   This gave full recognition for the first time to the huge contribution from American authors to a series that for 70 years had been called ‘The Collection of British Authors’.

Then in 1912 another anniversary history to mark 75 years.  The catalogue of publications has now disappeared, and more prominence is given to letters from authors, with Charles Dickens pre-eminent among them.

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A selection of letters from Dickens in the 75 year history

The milestone of the 5000th volume was reached in 1931 and celebrated with an ‘Anthology of Modern English Poetry’, but by then the business was tottering.  It was sold in 1934, and lived on until the outbreak of war effectively as a sub-division of Albatross, the firm which had defeated it commercially.

So when the time came to write its centenary publication in 1937 it must have felt to some in the firm more of an obituary than a celebration.  The task of writing it fell to John Holroyd-Reece, the Managing Director of Albatross, and in the end he did Tauchnitz proud, although an early draft had contained a paragraph seeming to celebrate his own role rather too much.  Again the publication included a selection of letters from famous authors, including Dickens and Disraeli, this time in facsimile form, and also a range of congratulatory letters from well-known people, including the British Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin and the Archbishop of York.  Slightly oddly, it was given the title of ‘The Harvest’, perhaps suggesting that the firm was now reaping the benefits of previous efforts, and no longer sowing new seed for the future, a position uncomfortably close to the truth.

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The book appeared in two different forms, one with cream paper boards, and one with gold wrappers, each with a blind-stamped Tauchnitz Centenary logo on the front.  Neither version is difficult to find today.  More interesting are the presentation copies prepared for authors and other friends of the firm.  These are identical to the gold paperback edition, but the half-title is replaced with an individual printed page with the name of the person to whom it was presented.   The copy illustrated here was presented to Janet Beith, the author of ‘No second spring’, published as volume 5157 in 1934.  Other copies in public collections have the names of W.W. Jacobs, Louis Golding, H.M. Tomlinson and Helen Simpson.

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Presumably copies were printed with the names of all Tauchnitz authors still alive in 1937, which would have included, amongst many others, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Graham Greene, Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, Daphne du Maurier, Aldous Huxley, P.G. Wodehouse and A.A. Milne.   As Louis Golding, whose copy survives, was published only by Albatross, never by Tauchnitz itself, this suggests copies may also have been presented to all Albatross authors.   In that case, copies may exist with the names of Agatha Christie, Evelyn Waugh and Ernest Hemingway, amongst others.

An intriguing question arises though from the fact that several of the Tauchnitz authors, including for instance Joyce, Wells and Huxley, had been placed on the list of banned authors, by the Nazi party, then in power in Germany.  Albatross, whose editorial offices were based in Paris, continued to publish works by banned authors, but always in the Albatross series rather than in Tauchnitz, and presumably for sale only outside Germany.  Interestingly the Albatross books were still being printed in Germany, just down the road from where other works by some of the same authors were being burned.  But did Tauchnitz in 1937, a German-owned firm based in Leipzig, print special celebratory volumes for authors at that time banned in Germany?  A copy printed for James Joyce would be an interesting find …