Tuesday 25 August 2015

It's a Battlefield, A Gun for Sale and Continental Paperbacks: Graham Greene Library Edition (Heinemann, 1959–60)

The response to my post last month on the 1959–60 Heinemann Library Edition of the Works of Graham Greene continues to be a source of unexpected delight. First there were the initial commenters on the post; then came additional images of Peter Edwards's wonderful wraparound wrappers for the edition from Henk Konings and Peter's daughter, Martina Weatherley; and now yet more images from Chris Fisher, Guy Pujol and Henk again.

Let's take a look at the images sent to me by Chris first – of the two Library Edition dust jackets that heretofore were missing from the original post (due to the fact that I don't – as yet – own either of these books myself):

It's a Battlefield, published into the Library Edition in 1959 (originally published by Heinemann in 1934), edition number L6, and A Gun for Sale, published into the Library Edition in 1960 (originally published by Heinemann in 1936), edition number L10. Chris reports that he acquired all thirteen books in the Library Edition in one fell swoop four or five years ago from an eBay seller, paying about $80 for the lot, which sounds like a bargain to me. (Chris also reports that he's a Graham Greene collector rather than a book collector, and hadn't realised the Library Edition had become so scarce.) I've added his two wrappers to the Library Edition post, and to Beautiful British Book Jacket Design of the 1950s and 1960s, so now a complete set of all thirteen of Peter Edwards's dust jackets can be found in both those places.

Someone else who owns all thirteen books in the Library Edition is Guy Pujol, who left a comment on the initial Library Edition post recounting how he began collecting the edition two years ago and had managed to secure all twelve of the novels within two months (it took him another year to track down the sole non-fiction book, The Lawless Roads, mind). Guy also helped me fill in the Library numbers I was missing, and made mention of a variant binding in the edition – slightly smaller, and with pictorial boards rather than dust jackets. And, at my request, Guy kindly sent a couple of photos of his magnificent collection:

Something else Guy mentioned in his comment was the existence of continental paperback editions of Greene's novels which used Peter Edwards's Library Edition dust jacket illustrations for their covers. Thus far Guy's been able to identify two such paperbacks – The Power and the Glory and The Heart of the Matter – and lo and behold, shortly after Guy's comment appeared, Library Edition recidivist Henk Konings emailed me with photos of those very two books, which were published in 1961 by Heinemann/Nederland N.V.

My thanks to Henk, Guy, Chris and everyone else who's contributed to the Graham Greene Library Edition discourse. Keep those comments and updates coming.

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