Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Duplicate copies

Over on my Virago venture today, I have a guest post from Paperback reader Claire, who is writing about her 3 copies of The magic toyshop. And it got me thinking about MY duplicate copies and what I'd consider keeping duplicates of. I was first introduced to the idea of owning the same book in more than one edition by my father, who one day brought home a lovely hardback book of the first three Molly Hughes "London Child" books; I'd long been familiar with our lovely Oxford paperback editions and asked him why - he said that it was a lovely edition of the book with many different photographs. Of course, when Persephone brought out an edition of The London child, I was quite happy to buy that to complement our copies. Since then I've been more open to owning multiple copies, particularly if they have different introductions or new illustrations.

One title that I own several copies of is The school at the Chalet by Elinor M Brent Dyer. The Armada paperback copy is the copy my Mum bought for me to read when we were in Innsbruck, aged 8 (where the book is partly set), the hardback copy is my Mum's copy which she had forgotten about and is an original Collins 1st edition, and then it was reissued by Girls Gone By Publishing (in fact I have a number of Chalet School duplicates due to GGBP - many of the original CS books were heavily cut when published in paperback and GGBP have been publishing them in full) with lots of lovely explanatory material and maps.

Another book that I have two copies of is Vanishing Cornwall by Daphne Du Maurier. I own a Penguin paperback second hand copy (which I loved) and the sumptuous edition which Virago republished last year and was a birthday present from my Dad. My Mum thought I was insane asking for a copy of a book I already had, especially in hardback (Mum likes to wait for the paperback), but Dad understood.

The final duplicate I want to share with you today is my copy of Mariana. I bought this a while ago, and love the simplicity of the old Penguin cover. I now also own the Persephone edition of it. I haven't yet read it as I can't bear to read the last Monica Dickens that I haven't read before, and I'm not quite sure which copy to read when I do.

I'm having to be strict with myself at the moment with regard to my recent acquisition of Virago Modern Classics - if I'm buying a VMC of a book that I already have, then the non-VMC unless it is particularly special must go. In an ideal world I'd love to have multiple editions of all of the VMCs, owning them in new and green covers, but sadly the bookshelves in Verityland are not quite extensive enough for that possibility. Although, I've just heard this week that Virago are bringing out a paperback copy of Excellent women, which I bought in cloth covered anniversary hardback earlier this year, next month, and it will be difficult to resist that to go with my other Barbara Pym re-issues...

What books do you own multiples of?


  1. Ah, I love admiring other people's books and discovering why they are special to them.

    All of yours are beautiful :). The third School at the Chalet, the one on the right, is the copy I read :). A library copy. When I can afford to indulge I'm going to splurge and buy them all!

    Your approach towards Mariana is very sweet and completely understandable. The Persephone is the one that I have and I am wondering whether to read it for Persephone Reading Week or lose myself in it at another time, when I have more time to linger...

    I try to be strict when it comes to duplicates but there are some books that I cannot part with and then another wonderful edition comes along...

    I also fully appreciate the conflict about the Pyms :o. I am neurotic about sets of books matching and one of the few exceptions to that rule is Virginia Woolf, whose books that I own are all different for some bizarre reason.

  2. I'm not planning to read Mariana during the PW for the same reasons as you Claire. You are being a bad influence on me with regards to matching books though - I wouldn't be buying the new Pyms if it wasn't for you!

  3. I love your Dad, he seems quite sentimental. Being a tad too practical for my own good most of the time I don't own duplicate copies of books but am always tempted by a new edition of Pride and Prejudice. Regarding the new Pyms - yes please! I just placed a hold on Some Tame Gazelle to read after PW and dovegreyreader's One Fine Day middlebrow read-along.

  4. I have an affinity for I Capture the Castle. I have two paperbacks (the lovely new version that looks like some sort of 1930s pattern and the virago), a folio-society hardback and slipcase, and two older hardbacks. I adore them all. I also like different copies of A Moveable Feast, but so far have only two.
    Mariana was my first persephone, so I'm partial to that one. The dove grey cover though, not the persephone classics. I read a penguin copy of Ripening Seed by Colette that shares the same cover as the persephone classics Mariana and now I only think of that of course when I see it.

  5. I have that same copy of Ripening Seed and the classic of Mariana so it amuses me greatly having the same over for two different books.

    Darlene, I'm doing that read-along too! It will be nice after PRW.

    Verity, yes, pretty much!

  6. I only have duplicate copies when I forget I already own a copy!

  7. I have multiple copies of Jane Austen novels - various paperbacks and then a beautiful leather bound set my husband bought for me. There are at least a couple of copies of The Great Gatsby around here, too.

  8. Duplicate copies: very interesting subject and one that's hard to condense into a quick sentence. You've made me think about what I have or have given away.
    But duplicate covers: the picture on the Persephone Mariana turned up today on Harriet Devine's post on Colette's Ripening Seed ( )

  9. The only duplicates I have right now are my Wuthering Heights. I've given away my other duplicates for shelf space.

  10. Duplicate copies seems to have got everyone quite excited!

    Claire - I have quite a number of CS duplicates due to the re-prints. I wish I had money for all of the GGBP reprints. I've got a complete collection of CS books but in various editions - I have a whole bookcase in the bedroom devoted to them. I must post about them sometime.

    Darlene - you are very disciplined. I can't wait to get my hands on the new Pyms though!

    Heather - I don't even own ONE copy of I capture, but I wish I did. Must look out for it. I remember reading a lovely yellow cover as a child but there is a lovely Green Virago.

    Jackie - I do the same, in fact I did it only yesterday, but Paperback Reader Claire kindly offered to adopt the duplicate.

    JoAnn - Jane Austen I agree is someone that it would be nice to own lots of editons of. I don't think I own any Jane Austen.

    Cornflower - thanks for the link.

    Claire - shelfspace, very important. I need to think about making some which is why I'm thinking about rationalising things...

  11. Ooh, yes, do post about your CS collection! I am in a similar situation with them, I think - I have all of them in paperback, and then duplicates of some in hb or GGBP reprints. At one point I was determined to get hbs of all of them, but I think that is some way off yet! I especially love the ones with the Nina K Brisley illustrations. I think it was the CS that first got me into collecting duplicates.

  12. Sophie, thanks for popping in. I wish I had all of the CS books in paperback.

  13. I did a post about this a while ago - check it out!

  14. Ooh, that is a lovely post Simon. I bet you've got loads more duplicates by now though!

  15. I don't have any duplicate copies. I think I'm too practical and I can't justify buying the same novel because it has a new cover. If it has something different (illustrations, or annotations) then yes I'd consider buying another copy, but not otherwise.
    Tight-fisted? Moi?

  16. Then of course there are the books which only become duplicates when you marry a library! There is a lovely essay which takes that phrases as its title in Anne Fadiman's collection "Ex Libris", which I recommend to everyone.

    My wife and I have discarded most of our duplicates, pragmatically, but some have escaped the cull, saved less often by sentimental associations than by attractive design.

  17. Owen - I shall look out for that book and that essay. Fortunately Ken's books are very different to mine (aeroplanes, languages, business, psychology); the only near duplicate that we have is that I own The devil wears Prada, and he owns the same edition but in Russian!


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