29 October 2010

Limited Time, Limited Editions (6/6)

General Ludd
John Metcalf
Downsview, Ontario: ECW, 1980

Bought nearly a quarter century ago, it turns out that this, not No Man's Meat, was the first signed and numbered edition in my collection. That General Ludd was overlooked is understandable, I think; there's no real indication that this book is in any way unusual. What we have here is John Metcalf's signature, with a number in the upper right hand corner. This latter feature caused considerable confusion when it was purchased. No, not the price, but the number: 45 of 100 copies. Or was it 50 copies?

As I say, nearly a quarter century ago.

At the time I was a student at Concordia, the model for the novel's St. Xavier University. I'd been on a tear through Metcalf's writing after having being introduced to it by Harry Hill. Goodness, I miss Harry. A wonderful teacher, he features briefly – too briefly – in Metcalf's Shut Up He Explained (Biblioasis, 2007); all to do with "cottaging":
I'd heard the word used by the late Harry Hill, actor and raconteur, in one of his scabrous anecdotes involving a power failure in the lavatory of the Montreal Voyageur Bus terminal at Berri-de Montigny and the loss of his partial plate.
The binding of this General Ludd is by The Porcupine's Quill. I'm a great fan of the press – it has produced some of the finest and finest looking small press books this country has seen – but this design seems deathly dull; quite the opposite of the novel itself.

A quarter century ago.

That confusion at the cash took place in the Double Hook. Also gone.

The ladies of the Double Hook were wonderful booksellers, unlike these folks:

Not the limited edition, mind you, but the paperback. It's a new, unread book that is typical of used books and just might have some notes or highlighting. Oh, it might also be an ex-library book. Still, you'll be surprised. Just remember, it's a new, unread, used book.

This can be yours for only US$102.76 (shipping included!).

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