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Compiled by:
Thomas B. Vincent
Department of English
Royal Military College
Kingston, Ontario
The Bibliographical Information Files presented here attempt to record and describe the sequence of Editions and Impressions of selected titles in Canadian Literature. They are intended to assist scholars, librarians, bookdealers and book collectors in identifying a specific volume in hand within the context of the publishing history of that title.

In addition to the authors and titles currently available on this site, research on the fiction publications of the following authors is well advanced: Ralph Connor, Norman Duncan, W.A. Fraser, Basil King, William Kirby, J.M. Oxley, Frank L. Packard, Gilbert Parker, and Arthur Stringer. Others (such as Barr and Roberts) are at an early stage.
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SOME EXPLANATIONS AND A CAVEAT

There are several aspects of this work that I feel those who use it should be made aware of from the start. For example, one should note that there is a significant difference between the descriptions of titles that were arbitrarily selected in the early stages of the project to act as trial cases and those that ultimately formed the major part of the project as it subsequently unfolded. These later treatments are fuller and more complete, and form the core of this set of information files. Nonetheless, because the information in the earlier files is useful and informative (if sometimes limited), they have been included in the materials offered.

Note that the information presented here is designed to function at two levels: first, as a series of Annotated Enumerative Bibliographies, by author and title; and second, as a form of Descriptive Bibiliography of the titles examined. The shorter annotation focuses mainly on the distinguishing features of an edition/Impression/variant, and is designed to help identify a particular volume in hand. The fuller descriptions selectively follow the conventions of descriptive bibliography to provide fuller information.

The enumerative ordering of the files has presented difficulties in developing a paractical and clear publishing record of a particular title where a large number of printings form the publishing history of the title. In such cases, it is easy to lose a sense of the "shape" of a title's publishing history, and it becomes overly difficult to locate a particular printing one may be looking for. Moreover, the conventional criteria of bibliographical organization, based in relationships between text settings, compound the confusion because they do not adequately reflect the printing practices of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. The intention of this bibliography is to reflect structurally, as clearly as possible, the publishing history of a particular title rather than trace overtly the printing history of its text.

In pursuing this approach, some of the conventional terminology gets significantly redefined. For example, the term "edition" does not simply identify a specific text setting, but is also used to distinguish national jurisdiction and subsequent issuances under another company name. While chronology provides basic sequencing, this broader use of the terminology allows the bibliography to distinguish clearly separate national patterns of the publishing history, and, in cases where large numbers of files are involved, to subdivide the presentation along national lines for the sake of clarity. The approach does, however, violate the conventional use of the term "edition". For example, the "First Canadian edition" may be distinguished from the "First US edition" although the texts of the two are printed from an identical (even, common) set of printing plates. A note that the text of the Canadian edition is a sub-edition of the First US edition will be included in the file describing the Canadian edition, providing printing information but keeping that information separate from the publishing history. In like manner, if another company published a reprint in the same jurisdiction, that printing will be identified as the "Second ... edition", even when it is printed from identical (or common) printing plates. In all cases, a change in setting (in keeping with convention) will be distinguished as a separate edition.

Obviously, what is lost here are immediate clues relating to resetting of the text. That information is now contained within the body of the descriptive file. What is gained, however, is a clearer understanding of the historical pattern of publication in relation to national jurisdictions and corporate entities.

The term "Impression" is used to denote subsequent printings of the same text setting by the same company. They are generally distinguished by differing preliminary and/or appended materials, and often by different bindings. Thus, "First Canadian edition, Second Impression" would issue from the same company with the same text setting as the First Impression, but would be distinguished by a later publication date, and possibly different appended advertisements or a different binding. The term "Variant" is used when the printed contents appear identical (and appear to be the same Impression), but the bindings are different or the tipped-in illustrations are located differently.

The over-riding intention here is to offer as clear a view as possible of a book's publishing history and to provide a convenient reference resource for identifying the publication context for a volume-in-hand. While I believe that the information offered here is useful and valuable, there are significant deficiencies that I openly acknowledge. First, although the listing attempts to be chronological, we often do not know for sure the sequence of printings and issues. Therefore, when using this information, be warned that frequently we are presenting a "best guess" and one should approach the information accordingly. Second, there are undoubtedly editions, Impressions, and variants that we have not yet identified. If you discover new information or items not listed, please contact us so that we may make the information files more complete. Appropriate acknowledgement will be given.

Most of the abbreviations used seem straight-forward. In the Copies Examined section, we have used standard symbols to identify the various repositories, except for the symbol "pc" which stands for "private collection". Unless indicted otherwise, those holdings are my own.




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