June 24, 2009 by Tracey S. Rosenberg
My recent non-novel project has been a critical edition of Mona Caird’s The Wing of Azrael (1889). While it isn’t completely impossible to find, it’s nearly so. You need either a) an excellent academic/copyright library or b) the patience to wait a few years for it to turn up on a used book website and then the ability to pounce, like unto Thundercat on a bit of fuzz, when the alert comes through. I have both, thankfully.
(I just tried to find copies on Worldcat but it refuses to tell me anything other than microfilm versions exist. Which is untrue because I know I borrowed a copy in the states at one point – it’s why I have the photocopy [yes, I KNOW]. But even in the UK, only four of the copyright libraries have it. according to COPAC.)
Anyway, in addition to scanning and checking a 140,000-word text – those triple-deckers were wordy; thank you, Mudie! – I wrote an introduction, found and typed in several appendices, and researched (not counting the ones for the introduction) 320 or so footnotes. And yet I’m sure there are some I missed, not even counting the ‘This reference has not been traced’ ones, because even when I was doing my final does-a-curly-quotation-mark-next-to-a-dash-go-the-right-way check, I thought, hmm, that sounds Biblical, and then I’m typing out Amos 6:3 and rejigging every subsequent ‘see footnote x’ reference so they all point to the right ones.
Anyway, it’s as good as I can make it, and I’ll send it off to Valancourt as soon as I hear that they have recovered from the unpleasant relationship between a computer and a Big Gulp. This is, sadly, the second such story I’ve learned of this week, though in the other case it was coffee. I am presently instituting a regime of sippy cups.
Something BIG is DONE. YAY.
(And please go buy books from Valancourt while you’re waiting for mine.)