“The Royal Game of Bezique,” by Camden — Part XI: A few comments on variations in content in different editions . . .

In the preceding post, I detailed some of the main differences between a Twelfth Edition of Camden’s The Royal Game of Bezique, 1872, and a Forty-Sixth Edition, 1919.

Below are a few observations.

1.  First, all things considered, the text (the wording) underwent almost no changes whatsoever after the Twelfth Edition, up to and including at least the Forty-Sixth Edition.

2.  But you might say, “Who cares about the Twelfth Edition!  What about earlier editions?”  Well, working backwards, my closest earlier edition is the Tenth Edition.  Based on an extremely quick glance, it seems likely to me that the Tenth Edition’s attributes are similar to the attributes of the Twelfth Edition, disregarding the covers, and the advertising on page 12.

However, other differences between the Tenth Edition and the Twelfth Edition are interesting enough to merit a separate post.

3.  Going still earlier, my next earlier edition is the Sixth Edition.  I am not saying that the wording of the body text differs from that of the Twelfth Edition.  I tend to doubt that it differs much, if at all, but I have not really compared them.  But other differences between the Sixth Edition and Tenth Edition are significant.  I hope to discuss this in a future post.

4.  One might think that by the time the Twelfth Edition (discussed in the preceding post) was published, that Goodall’s approach to the work would have become quite consistent. This would seem especially plausible in view of the similarity of the Twelfth Edition and the Forty-Sixth Edition.  But that turns out not to be the case.  I’ll probably go into this in one or more future posts.

5.  I do think that by the time of (at least) the Thirtieth Edition Twenty-Eighth Edition [very likely pre-1910, and probably 1906 or so], that there was a great deal of consistency (though there were various cover variations, as well as differences in advertisements).

6.  As of the Twenty-Fifth Edition, however, it was still hard to say what any stated edition was going to look like.  In fact, I have two copies designated “Twenty-Fifth Edition,” and they are about as different as one could reasonably expect.  Again, I’ll probably have a separate post on that one!

7.  As I said, I think that as of (at latest) the Thirtieth Edition Twenty-Eighth Edition, things had settled down.  I do not have any examples of the twenty-sixth, twenty-seventh, twenty-eighth, or twenty-ninth, so I cannot say when this change occurred.  I do not have copies of the twenty-sixth or twenty-seventh.  I do have a Twenty-Eighth Edition, which has the same cover as (for example) the Thirty-Second — that is, the “recent” Goodall style.

—Tom Sawyer

January 1, 2012

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