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Posts Tagged ‘publishing history

Madame Eulalie’s Rare Plums…

 

“The column itself was an extraordinary affair. . . . You would quote something from the morning paper and then you’d make some little comment on it.” (Wodehouse, quoted in David Jasen’s A Portrait of a Master, 1974.)

The column was “By The Way,” a front-page lineup of pert and pithy paragraphs and verse revolving around Edwardian politics and quirky news items from the police courts, London, the British Isles, America, and the world over. It had been a feature (with a distinguished pedigree) of the Globe and Traveller evening newspaper since 1881. British humorist E. V. Lucas wrote that the column “consisted of a dozen or so paragraphs, each with a joke or sting in it, bearing on the morning news.” Richard Usborne wrote it was “a column—a dozen or so short snippets and a set of verses.” The column was pieced together by a couple of fellows every morning in “The By The Way Room” according to a balanced formula of politics, funny news commentary, and verse.

Wodehouse contributed to “By The Way” intermittently from August 16, 1901 up to August 1903, when he joined the paper as full-time assistant, working six days a week; a year later he was put in charge of the column, a position he held until he left the paper, as best can be determined around 1910. His meticulously-kept cash journal Money Received for Literary Work records his payments for columns from 1901 up to the last entry in February 1908. By his own accounting, he worked on over 1,300 “By The Way” columns…

The P. G. Wodehouse Globe Reclamation Project is a not-for-profit volunteer group, formed earlier this year, devoted to unearthing these thousands of humorous paragraphs…

We promised the Wodehouse Estate, which quickly approved the Project, that we would compile and preserve all of the recovered columns for the future benefit of researchers, biographers, and fans. We were hopeful and expectant that that we would find, out of those 1,300 days Wodehouse either verifiably contributed to or worked on the column, a treasure trove of noteworthy, funny, pure Wodehousean material and verse.

Check it out on the Globe’s page, and then browse their host, Madame Eulalie’s Rare Plums, a trove of early Wodehouse…

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As we careful to forgo liquids as we read, we might recall that it was on this date in 1712 that the 555th and final issue of The Spectator was published.  The work of Richard Steele, a politician and writer, and Joseph Addison, a poet and playwright, friends from their schooldays at Charterhouse, The Spectator followed their earlier periodical, The Tatler.  With a central character “Mr. Spectator” embodying its point of view, The Spectator ran to about 2,500 words daily (except Sunday), offering a mix of news and essays intended “to enliven morality with wit, and to temper wit with morality.” Steele and Addison contributed heavily to their periodical, but also ran essays from the likes of Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift.

The Spectator was ostensibly politically neutral; but it was a subtle force for Whig values.  Its second most valent continuing character,  Sir Roger de Coverley, an English squire of Queen Anne’s reign and the (supposed) descendant of the inventor of the English country dance, was a lovable– but laughable– exponent of Tory maxims.  No less august an authority than Jürgen Habermas has called The Spectator instrumental in the “structural transformation of the public sphere” which England saw in the 18th century– a transformation that came about because of, and in the interests of, the emergent middle class.

(The contemporary versions of both The Spectator and The Tatler are unrelated to the originals.)

The first issue of The Spectator, March 1st, 1711

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Written by LW

December 6, 2013 at 1:01 am

Ennui! In color!…

(Some of) the comic stylings of Tom Gauld

Ladies and gentlemen, You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack!

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As we parse our predicaments into panels, we might recall that this was the cover date, in 1882, of the first issue of Golden Argosy, which featured stories by Horatio Alger, Jr. and Edward S. Ellis.  The first “pulp” magazine in the U.S., Golden Argosy (soon renamed simply Argosy) went on to publish such authors as Frank Converse, Malcolm Davis, Upton Sinclair, Zane Grey, and dime novelist William Wallace Cook.

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Written by LW

December 9, 2012 at 1:01 am

To the day…

Barker’s Illustrated Almanac (1912)
Monthly calendar and almanac with various testimonials for Barker’s horse, cattle, and poultry powders.

Almanacs are books published annually that can contain a host of useful information including a calendar of holy days, holidays, farmer’s planting dates, weather forecasts, astronomical data and various statistics. The times of the sunrise and sunset as well as tide charts can also be included. Almanacs, in various forms, have been in existence for hundreds of years. It has been stated in the Encyclopedia of Ephemera that the first printed almanac was published in Vienna in 1457 and the Almanack Calculated for New England – the first American almanac was published in 1639 in Cambridge Massachusetts. The Old Farmer’s Almanac has been published since 1792, making it the oldest continuously published periodical in North America

According to ABC for Book Collectors (an invaluable source for any book lover) an almanac is: “[c]alendar[s], usually in pocket-book (more rarely sheet) form, augmented with Saints’ days, fair-dates and astronomical and meteorological data; a bestseller from the start and protected by jealously guarded patents, the different titles [were especially] hot rivals in the 17th century….”

More data on day books on the ever-illuminating Abe Books blog.

[TotH to reader MK]

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As we page through the year, we might recall that President Abraham Lincoln wasn’t the only person to die in Ford’s Theater: it was on this date in 1893 that three interior floors of the building collapsed.  Following Lincoln’s assassination, the United States Government appropriated the theatre, (Congress payed Ford $100,000 in compensation), and an order was issued forever prohibiting its use as a place of public amusement.  In 1866, the theatre was taken over by the U.S. military… then in 1893, the front of the building gave way, killing 22 military clerks and injuring another 68… which led some to conclude that the former Church-turned-theater was cursed.  (A restored Ford’s Theater opened in 1968.)

Bodies being removed from Ford’s Theatre following the building’s collapse

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Getting small…

Over the years, (R)D has contemplated miniature paintingsminiature Biblical temples, miniature pencil carvings, even miniature golf

Now, something even closer to your correspondent’s heart: miniature books.

Miniature books (generally defined as not exceeding 100 mm [3.9 inches] in height, width or thickness) first came into fashion in the late Fifteenth Century, when the tiny tomes were produced as novelties. Soon, printers began producing the small volumes to show off their skills.

Hungarian collector Jozsef Tari has been collecting miniature books and newspapers since 1972; his library now includes more than 4500 volumes of Lilliputian literature.

More on miniature books and Tari’s collection at Web Urbanist (from whence, the photos above).

As we reach for a smaller duster, we might bake a laced cake for journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson; he was born in Louisville on this date in 1929.  The author of Hell’s Angels, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 is widely credited as the creator of the Gonzo school of journalism (an extreme form of New Journalism in which the reporter isn’t simply present, he/she is central), and widely remembered for his love of inebriates and guns and for his hate of authoritarianism in general and Richard Nixon in particular.

…the massive, frustrated energies of a mainly young, disillusioned electorate that has long since abandoned the idea that we all have a duty to vote. This is like being told you have a duty to buy a new car, but you have to choose immediately between a Ford and a Chevy.
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72  (1973)

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