Monday, May 31, 2021

Ballantine's Road Goes Ever On: Bibliographers Off by a Year!

I’ve been looking everywhere in my Tolkien files for something I need that is Hobbit-related, and I even braved my huge pile of unsorted research notes, some of which date back thirty or more years. But at least in the absence of finding what I’m looking for, I can clear up a long-standing mystery about the Ballantine edition of The Road Goes Ever On. It went through three printings, the first was a jacketless undated hardcover, with the Barbara Remington Lord of the Rings mural  inset on the lower half of the upper cover. The other two printings were trade paperbacks, the second printing is designated on the copyright page August 1975; and the third printing January 1978. But each of these list the first Ballantine printing as having been in October 1969. And that is how it is dated in J.R.R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography.

But I made a research note that I had examined one copy that was inscribed “Christmas 1968”—which, if true, would put the edition back a year in time.  Lin Carter, not normally remembered for accuracy, listed it as an October 1968 publication in his list of sixteen Ballantine precursors to the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, in “Bibliography II” (page 268) of Imaginary Worlds (1973).

And Lin Carter was right. Publishers Weekly for 2 September 1968 lists it with a October 14th [1968] publication date, with notice of major promotion and publicity.

Publishers Weekly, 2 Sep. 1968, p.63

Details and cover scans of the Ballantine printings can be found at Devon Press’s TolkienBooks.US site: the hardcover here, and the paperbacks here. (Now updated with the correct 1968 date.)




Sunday, May 23, 2021

New Issues with Following Blogs by email

Most blogs I'm involved with have a "Follow by email" option. The "Follow by email" function worked (fine) via Google's Feedburner since I started using it.  Google is eliminating Feedburner in July, which means I have had to find an alternate source. 

Over the next week I will be transferring this following-by-email function ON THIS BLOG to I already have seen anomalies (with other blogs), and hope they won't be numerous. In theory I should be able to migrate those already following this blog over to the new service, but I'll believe it works smoothly when it's done. Meanwhile, I'll try to fix errors if they are reported to me.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

What the Pandemic Has Done to the Arts

There is a depressing, but thorough, article on the new (June) issue of Harper's, that details the dire situation for artists (usually musicians and performers, but also writers) before the pandemic hit and now that things seem to be lifting. It's worth taking the time to read it, for everyone should see these trends and what they portend for the future.

Here's an early paragraph: 

Still, I don’t think most of us appreciate just how bad things are. The crisis goes well beyond the performing arts. Surveys published last summer found that 90 percent of independent music venues were in danger of closing for good, but so were a third of museums. In a survey by the Music Workers Alliance, 71 percent of musicians and DJs reported a loss of income of at least 75 percent, and in another, by the Authors Guild, 60 percent of respondents reported losing income, with an average drop of 43 percent. During the third quarter of 2020, unemployment averaged 27 percent among musicians, 52 percent among actors, and 55 percent among dancers. In the first two months of the pandemic, unemployment in the film and sound-recording industries reached 31 percent. Meanwhile, as of September, gallery sales of modern and contemporary art were down by 36 percent. What has been happening across the arts is not a recession. It is not even a depression. It is a catastrophe.

Read the full article here. The article is by William Deresiewicz, whose equally insightful (and depressing) book, The Death of the Artist: How Creators Are Struggling to Survive in the Age of Billionaires and Big Tech (2020), came out last summer.