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Saturday, March 10, 2007

I Have Failed You

Yesterday I travelled north with a friend of mine to do a little shopping. There is a shopping centre in Bayer's Lake which has several 'big box' stores and the like. There is a branch of Chapters there. Chapters is the only major mainstream bookstore left in Canada, if I'm not mistaken. Long time readers will know my feelings about them and their practices, but I went all the same. To my relief, their selection was a slight improvement on the one back home (although an entire section on poop was unnecessary... It was called 'the scoop on poop.' What the deuce...)

Anyway, to my delight, I kept bushing up against Bronte novels. Back in my part of the country, it took me months to find a copy of Agnes Grey, and the Chapters stocked a grand total of one copy of Villette, three of Jane Eyre and two of Wuthering Heights. They had some very nice editions of the collected works.

And here is where I have failed you all. As my eyes glittered with the book lust, I neglected to note any information on the publisher or other details. Priced at about $30 was a hardcover edition of the Bronte novels- illustrated. Illustrated with images from turn of the century editions of the novels. My only complaint was that the book was laid out in the same way as the editions of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, with the text in two columns on the page.

I also had the chance to personally handle one of those Jane Eyre journals I reported last year. The journal is made to look like bugundy, aged leather with a page from the Jane Eyre manuscript embossed in gold on the front. Interestingly, the page chosen for the journal is from the interrupted wedding scene and begins somewhere near Mr. Brigg's first lines about the 'impediment.' Not exactly what I expected. Also, the signature they chose was probably one of Charlotte's messiest, but messy is in. In fact, at first glance I could not even read it... I would suspect that it was fabricated, but that the cross on the T is very high. Yes, I may be just a little too methodical.


melrose plant said...

Though it is all part of the Indigo company, like Chapters and Coles, you would have LOVEd the bookstore I worked at while doing my U of T degree.

I worked in the fiction and lit section of the World's Biggest Bookstore!

There I made sure we had every possible edition of Villette possible.

Further, that the lit crit section was chock full of Bronte !

I am trying to carry on the tradition at the Indy bookstore I assistant manage.

ChrisV said...

Please feel free to redeem yourself by letting us know if you ever find out the publisher of that tantalizingly illustrated edition! ;-)