18 July 2011

Selling The Unfulfilled

A dry study in international relations? I thought so when I unearthed this book last month. After all, author W.G. Hardy was a professor – at the University of Alberta, no less. And just look at the thing. The flap copy informs, but does not inspire:
What do Canadians really think about Americans? An outstanding Canadian novelist here shows the full impact of the United States upon her nextdoor [sic] neighbor [sic] across the famous "undefended border" – and upon the consciousness of the free world. In a compelling novel, Dr. Hardy has done for the character of Canada and the Canadian what no other Canadian or American novelist has done so effectively.
Image and cover copy come from the 1951 McClelland and Stewart first edition. The first American edition, published the following year by Appleton-Century-Crofts, uses the very same cover and spelling.

The paperback houses knew better how to sell a book. Here's the first paper edition, from Harlequin:

No mention of "the character of Canada", nothing about "the consciousness of the free world", the young publisher sells sin – more than one, apparently.

The American paperback, published in 1952 by Popular Library, is hotter still. Odd, adultery isn't even mentioned in the hardcover flap copy. An "Abridged edition", it's rid of dead wood, but still fails to satisfy.


  1. Neighbor is spelled correctly, darn you. That bothersome u the Brits like to throw in there (and in "color" and "favor" and several other words that properly end in "or") is not missed at all. North Americans should not be adopting all those British spelling eccentricities. I bet some copy editor transplanted from upstate New York was working for McClelland at the time. All part of a subversive spelling conspiracy.

  2. British spelling eccentricities? Goodness, it's only correct English. Colour, favour, labour, honour... the extra ink shouldn't rankle (yet I know it does).