Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Virginian and Barbed Wire

Lyn and I have been working on our barbed-wire book. We wanted to cite Owen Wister's novel The Virginian from the original 1902 edition, so I bought a cheap copy. It's not a first edition—the book was reprinted repeatedly during that first year—but it does give a good sense for book-selling and buying sensibilities of the time.

I noticed, for instance, how important the cover is for a book published without a dust jacket. And then thought how dust jackets with their photographically reproduced designs subtract from the design of the actual book. The Andres Neuman Traveller of the Century I wrote about in the previous post, for instance, has a cover so bland as to make the word "bland" an overstatement.

By the levels of Bear Creek that reach like inlets among the promontories of the lonely hills, they came upon the schoolhouse, roofed and ready for the first native Wyoming crop. It symbolized the dawn of a neighborhood, and it brought a change into the wilderness air. The feel of it struck cold upon the free spirits of the cow-punchers and they told each other that, what with women and children and wire fences, this country would not long be a country for men. 

No comments: