Monday, 1 February 2010

First Edition?!

At some point in the long-forgotten mists of time, I must have accidentally selected 'Yes' to a question while purchasing something from Amazon.com when in fact I should have selected 'No', for now I find myself the occasional recipient of random email recommendations for books on the site. Ordinarily, I simply delete these with nary a second thought, but the one I received today made me do a double take.

It purported to be for a first edition of Homer's Odyssey.

Yes, you read that right. Someone is trying to sell a nice leatherbound copy of an originally orally-transmitted poem that was first written down over 2500 years ago as a first edition. In translation, no less. It's even got "First Edition" in big gold letters on the front cover.

As it turns out, it's actually Pope's translation, but Pope's name is nowhere on the cover (or indeed inside, so far as I could tell from the glimpses Amazon permits to potential buyers, or, for that matter, in the product description on the site). Any poor pleb with no background in Western literature would naturally assume that this was an historic keepsake being sold for an unmissable low price.

Definitely one for the 'Strangely Interesting' box.

9 comments:

Kiran said...

I hope you bought it.... If it was a first edition of Pope's Homer, then it would be worth quite a lot.

You know what they say "Homer's Homer is the best. Pope's is second best. Everything else is arguable."

GAB said...

I already have a copy of Pope's Odyssey, which I hope to have read before the end of the year (got it about two months ago; hence, presumably, the recommendation). But I'm not so sure if it is even a first edition of Pope's Homer. His name doesn't seem to appear anywhere in the book, and it's not mentioned anywhere on the site either. I only worked out it was Pope by comparing the first few lines of it with my own copy. Of course, I could be wrong- maybe it is a first edition of Pope's Homer. But I have my doubts. Follow the link and see what you think.

Kiran said...

You have Pope's Odyssey? Can I borrow it from you when time permits?

I have Pope's Illiad, but not the Odyssey.

GAB said...

You don't have Pope's Odyssey?! Kiran, my esteem for you has plummeted.

Matt said...

The first page of the book, at the very bottom, says "(c) Published 2009 by 1st Edition Media".

It seems "1st Edition" is the name of the publisher. A little misleading.

I've never seen a first edition actually say "1st Edition" anywhere on the cover. Sometimes it is on the first page, but often you just have to work it out. Indeed, in older books, it is often impossible to find even the date of publication.

GAB said...

Ha. I didn't even notice that. As you say, misleading. But quite funny, come to think of it. I wonder whose idea it was to name the publishing company that.

Kiran said...

Well, Pope's Odyssey is mostly not by Pope, despite (I am reliably informed) some pearls lodged therein...

Sara said...

GAB. The Odyssey - capture your imagination? How about a random visit from an old friend. rigbycreat@gmail.com

GAB said...

Well, well. Hello Sara. I shall email you forthwith.