Cauchemar Blanc

Giraud_Cauchemarblanc_01Cauchemar Blanc est une compilation de neuf histoires courtes parues dans différents magazines entre 1972 et 1976: “Cauchemar Blanc” (dans L’Echo des Savanes #8, 1974, 12 p., publié en anglais dans Moebius 6: Pharagonesia), “Calque A” (planche sans titre ni dialogue, 1976), “Approche de Centauri” (dans Métal Hurlant, 1975, 6 p., scénario de Philippe Druillet, publié en anglais dans Moebius 4: The Long Tomorrow), “Il y a un Prince-Charmant sur Phenixon” (dans Pilote, 1973, 4 p., signé Gyr, publié en anglais dans Moebius 4), “L’Artefact” (dans Pilote annuel, 1971, 4 p., signé Gyr, publié en anglais dans Moebius 4), “Interview” (dans Schtroumph, 1974, 9 p.), “Calque B” (1 planche sans titre ni dialogue et une planche qui décrit le gommeux, une créature extra-terrestre (type encyclopédie galactique, noté “Essais, Vol. IV)”, 1976), “Deima” (inédit, 1975, 3 p., publié en anglais dans Moebius 0: The Horny Goof), et “Barbe Rouge et le cerveau Pirate” (dans Pilote annuel, 1972, 5 p., signé Gyr, publié en anglais dans Moebius 4). Seulement cinq de ces histoires sont vraiment significatives.

Étrangement, “Cauchemar Blanc” n’est pas de la SF mais plutôt une histoire réaliste et malheureusement d’actualité… Moebius y parle de préjudice et de racisme. Le souhait de tout activiste de la tolérance est le cauchemar du bigot… Quatre bonhommes en voitures (Barjout, Jean-Pierre, René et Berthon) tentent d’écraser un arabe en mobylette mais celui-ci fait une embardée et la voiture se plante plutôt dans un camion stationné. Lorsqu’ils tentent de tabasser l’arabe, des passants interviennent, puis Barjout sort un revolver et tire Jean-Pierre dans la jambe par accident alors que celui-ci tente de l’arrêter… Soudainement Barjout se réveille dans son lit: ce n’était qu’un mauvais rêve. Il sort en voiture avec ses amis pour une expédition nocturne où, cette fois, ils frappent et tabassent vraiment un arabe sous le regard des voisins qui observent de leur fenêtres sans intervenir… Cette histoire a été adapté en un film court-métrage par Mathieu Kassovitz.

Dans “Approche de Centauri” un pilote d’astronef se prépare à sauter dans l’hyper-espace mais le générateur ripe et le projecte plutôt hors du continuum, dans une sorte d’enfer druillesque, peuplé de démons cornus. De retour dans son propre espace-temps, il essuie le vomis de sa bouche et nie avoir vu quoi que ce soit… Superbe histoire courte de SF sur un scénario de… Druillet!

Dans “Il y a un Prince-Charmant sur Phenixon”, un couple (dont la femme est du type mégère) fait escale sur Phenixon pour y faire commerce. Alors que monsieur examine les peaux de Toc-Toc, madame fait une balade en colimassophant (une sorte de limace) qui se révèle être un pavacheux en pleine crise. Mais au lieu de la déchiqueter et de l’entraîner dans les abimes, c’est l’amour entre Janine et le pavacheux! Mais, bon, celui-ci le regrettera sûrement…

Dans “L’Artefact” deux voyageurs interstellaires découvrent une gigantesque planète de type terrestre. Ils descendent l’explorer. Il y a une vaste mer, puis une plage, sur laquelle ils trouvent un artefact: un château qui semble inhabité. Ils entrent pour explorer les ruines. Malheureusement, un petit vandale sur la plage détruit le château de sable et se fait gronder par sa mère…

Dans “Barbe Rouge et le cerveau Pirate”, Boomy est capitaine d’un cargo spatial et son seul compagnon est un Cervelec Major V (une sorte de robot flottant) qui cafouille et se prend pour le maître d’équipage de Barbe-Rouge… Évidemment tout cela tourne mal pour Boomy… Alors que le proprio du vaisseau demande au techno-concessionaire si le Major V peut tomber en panne, celui répond “Impossible, je l’ai règlé moi-même!” (Et derrière lui on aperçoit toute une paraphernalia d’histoire maritime du temps de la flibuste

D’une façon très similaire aux recueils comme Les vacances du Major, Cauchemar Blanc nous offre une collection d’histoires courtes de science-fiction humoristique qui reposent souvent sur un seul gag, mais qui restent très imaginatives. Le style est plutôt simple mais varie beaucoup d’une histoire à l’autre, allant du trait dépouillé au dessin très détaillé et texturé. C’est agréable à lire et très drôle. À lire surtout si vous êtes un amateur de Moebius.

L’édition que je possède n’est malheureusement plus disponible, mais toutes ces histoires ont été republiées en 2012 par Les Humanoïdes Associés dans la collection Moebius USA, qui reprend les versions colorisées des histoires courtes de Moebius telle que publiée chez Epic/Marvel et Dark Horse: Escale sur Pharagonescia, La Citadelle aveugle, et The Long Tomorrow.

Cauchemar Blanc, par Moebius. Paris: Les Humanoïdes Associés (Coll. Mirage), janvier 1977. 64 p. ISBN 2-902123-08-6. Pour lectorat jeune adulte (14+). [Merde ! La reliure fout le camp!] stars-3-0

Moebius4Moebius 4, The Collected Fantasies of Jean Giraud: The Long Tomorrow & Other Science-Fiction Stories, by Moebius. New York: Epic/Marvel, 1987. 72 p. $US 9.95 / $C 13.95. ISBN 0-87135-281-8.

Moebius6Moebius 6, The Collected Fantasies of Jean Giraud: Pharagonesia & Other Strange Stories, by Moebius. New York: Epic/Marvel, 1988. 72 p. $US 9.95 / $C 13.95. ISBN 0-87135-283-4.

Pour en savoir plus vous pouvez consulter les sites suivants:

[ AmazonGoodreadsGoogleHumanosWikipediaWorldCat ]

© Les Humanoïdes Associés 1977.

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Mirai

Mirai-jpFrom acclaimed director Mamoru Hosoda (Wolf Children) comes a daringly original story of love passed down through generations. When four-year-old Kun meets his new baby sister, his world is turned upside down. Named Mirai (meaning “future”), the baby quickly wins the hearts of Kun’s entire family. Kun becomes increasingly jealous of her, until one day he storms off into the garden, where he encounters strange guests from the past and future – including his sister Mirai, as a teenager. Together, Kun and Mirai go on a journey through time and space, uncovering their family’s incredible story, in this magical and emotionally soaring adventure about the ties that bring families together and make us who we are.” (From Universal website)

Mirai (未来のミライ / Mirai no Mirai / lit. “Mirai of the Future”) is a beautiful story about good parenting and loving our siblings or family. Kun is a young boy who is jealous of his newborn sister Mirai. However, the genealogical tree that sits in the courtyard of their small house in Yokohama shows him scene of past and future life of his family members (his teenage sister, his mother, his great-grand-father, even the family dog!) so he can relate to them and learn to appreciate them better. Or this is a boy with an extraordinary imagination!

The animation is excellent and offers very realistic background illustrations that you would think it’s CGI but they are actually hand-drawn (although there is CGI in the movie). In fact, it is so crisp that it feels a little cold. For such a story about family I would have preferred a style that evoke more warmth. I particularly like the design of the modern house, conceived by the father (who’s an architect), that takes advantage of the narrow space and the hill to build in several level, with lots of steps.

Animated by Studio Chizu and distributed by Toho (GKids in North America), Mirai was created, written and directed by Mamoru Hosoda (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars and The Boy and the Beast), with character designs by Hiroyuki Aoyama, animation direction by Ayako Hata & Hiroyuki Aoyama, art direction by Takashi Omori & Yohei Takamatsu and music by Masakatsu Takagi. The voice cast includes  Haru Kuroki / Victoria Grace as Mirai, Moka Kamishiraishi / Jaden Waldman as Kun, Gen Hoshino / John Cho as Father, Kōji Yakusho / Victor Brandt as Grandfather, Kumiko Asou / Rebecca Hall as Mother, Masaharu Fukuyama / Daniel Dae Kim as great-grandfather, and Mitsuo Yoshihara / Crispin Freeman as Yukko the dog. 98 min., rated PG (for thematic elements including some scary images). It was favourably received by the audience (rating of 7.1 on IMDb and of 92% / 83% on Rotten Tomatoes). It’s a fine exemple of Japanese animation that everyone should see. stars-3-5

To learn more about this title you can consult the following web sites:

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Le bandard fou

BandardFou-cov“Sur Souldaï du Cygne, les érections, ce n’est pas avant l’automne. Quand un vendeur de pousse-boulettes se réveille avec une trique d’enfer, impossible de cacher l’évidence : il est devenu un bandard fou, traqué par la police anti-foutre et une dame Kowalsky qui peine à assouvir ses désirs. Son crime prenant jusqu’à des dimensions diplomatiques, le bandard peine à trouver le repos.” (Texte du site des Humanos, voir couverture arrière)

Originellement publié en janvier 1974 aux Éditions du Fromage (Écho des Savannes), Le Bandard Fou a connu de nombreuse rééditions. Cette bande-dessinée nous offre deux histoires. La première, sans dialogue et sans titre, se déroule en vingt-quatre planches d’une seule grande case chacune qui occupe le côté gauche du livre et qui nous montre un homme qui se métamorphose en un oeuf alienesque, qui se fracture pour révéler… un petit homme. 

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Page 3 (Planche 2)

La deuxième histoire, qui occupe les pages de droite, est un récit de science-fiction humoristique en vingt-quatre planches. Le personnage principal se réveille un bon matin souffrant de priapisme hors-saison, ce qui est une déviance interdite car, en ce monde, la reproduction se fait uniquement en automne et passe par la Pondeuse. Poursuivit par les autorités génétiques (la P.A.F.), il fuit à l’aide d’un agent de dame Kowalsky, une aristo nymphomane. Il rejoint celle-ci sur son vaisseau où ils batifolent quelques mois mais quand ils arrivent sur Fleur, l’astéroïde paradisiaque de dame Kowalsky, c’est la débandade. Évidemment, la fuite du bandard a de lourdes implications commerciales et politiques qui mènent à la guerre entre la Fédération Terrienne et les Exotiques. La Pondeuse tente donc de récupérer le bandard à l’aide d’une faille spatio-temporelle mais le bon Zague intervient et la dure situation reprend son cours…

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Page 9 (Planche 5)

Le Bandard Fou est la toute première histoire de SF de Moebius (avant Arzach, Le Garage hermétique et même avant la création de Métal Hurlant). Elle introduit et annonce fort bien ce que sera son style drôle et très imaginatif (déjanté comme ils disent). Son dessin noir et blanc utilise un trait simple mais qui offre tout de même des illustrations détaillées et très texturées — qui sont toutefois d’une qualité variable d’une planche à l’autre. On y retrouve des caméo de l’éléphant Dumbo, des pirates de Astérix, des citations célèbres comme “Merde alors, mon conditionnement fout le camp!”, les premières apparitions de dame Kowalsky et de Fleur (le premier niveau du Garage Hermétique — avec la mention des “générateurs à effet Gruber”). C’est donc une oeuvre séminale de Moebius car on y voit déjà la genèse du Garage Hermétique et même des Aventures de John Difool (L’Incal). Une très bonne lecture, surtout pour les amateurs de Moebius.

Le bandard fou, par Moebius. Paris: Les Humanoïdes Associés (Coll. Jackpot, #5), juillet 1984. 48 p. ISBN 2-7316-0308-9. Pour lectorat jeune adulte (16+). [une édition récente se vend €18,99 mais en occasion on peut le trouvé à €15,00; je l’ai payé $C 6.95 dans les années ’90] stars-3-5

Pour en savoir plus vous pouvez consulter les sites suivants:

[ AmazonBAnQGoodreadsGoogleWikipediaWorldCat ]

© Les Humanoïdes Associés 1984 Moebius

HornyGoofL’édition anglaise du Bandard Fou, parue chez Dark Horse en 1990 (imitant le style des compilations de Epic/Marvel), est colorisée et inclue une préface de Jean-Marc et Randy Lofficier, une postface de Moebius, une illustration, une page titre, ainsi que (en plus des deux histoires principales, “The Horny Goof” et “Metamorphosis”) quatre histoires courtes: “Deima” (3 pages, compilée en français dans Cauchemard Blanc), “You’re the object of this and that” (4 pages), “Harzack” (2 pages en noir et blanc, où Harzack se fait prendre à pisser derrière un bâtiment) et “The Invaders” (1 page, compilée en français dans Les Vacances du Major).

Moebius 0, The Forbidden Work of Jean Giraud: The Horny Goof & Other Underground Stories, by Moebius. Milwaukie: Dark Horse, June 1990. 72 p. ISBN 1-878574-16-7. US$ 12.95 / C$ 15.55. Story & art © 1972, 1974, 1975 Moebius • Translation & text © 1990 Starwatcher Graphics.

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Haikara-San: Here Comes Miss Modern

My wife read an interview of Waki Yamato in Fujin Kōron (a Japanese women’s public opinion magazine) where she was talking about a recent anime adaption of her manga Haikara-san. My wife, who enjoyed the manga when she was a teenager, told me she would like to see this animation. Therefore I obliged.

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Excerpt from the manga (from Frederik L. Schodt Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics, p. 90).

Haikara-San: Here Comes Miss Modern (はいからさんが通る / Haikara-san ga tōru) is one of those shōjo manga published in the 70s that I wish would be one day translated either in French or English so I could read them. This traditional shōjo style might not be very popular amongst today’s manga reader, but it was beautiful in many ways and their stories were always quite compelling. The manga was serialized in Shōjo Friend between 1975 and 1977 and compiled into 8 volumes by Kodansha. The manga was first adapted into an animated TV series (TV Asahi, 42 eps, 1978-1979), then into several live-action TV movies (on KTV in 1979, on Fuji TV in 1985, by Toei in 1987, and on TBS in 2002) and was even the subject of a Takarazuka revue in 2017. Finally, it was adapted into two anime movies: Gekijōban Haikara-san ga Tōru Zenpen – Benio, Hana no 17-sai  [劇場版 はいからさんが通る 前編 ~紅緒、花の17歳~ / lit. “Theatrical version, Here comes miss modern, first part: Benio, 17 years’ flower”] (November 2017, 97 mins, already available on Blu-ray from The Right Stuf) and Gekijōban Haikara-san ga Tōru Kōhen – Tokyo Dai Roman [劇場版 はいからさんが通る 後編 ~花の東京大ロマン~ / lit. “Theatrical version, Here comes miss modern, second part: Tokyo great romance of flower”] (October 2018, 105 mins). 

[ ¡ WARNING: The following MAY contain traces of spoilers! People allergic to the discussion of any plot’s elements before seeing/reading the story themselves are strongly advised to take the necessary precautions for their safety and should avoid reading further ! ]

Haikara-San-Movie1-bluRayIn the first movie, we follow the life of 17-year-old Benio Hanamura who was raised by her military father. She is a tomboy who likes to practise kendo with the girly neighbour Ranmaru (who was raised to become a kabuki actor). The story is set in the Taishō era, when Japan is trying to “occidentalize” itself. She wants to be “modern” and believes in a woman’s right to have a career and to marry for love. Unfortunately, her father want to arrange a marriage with one of his young subordinate, lieutenant Shinobu Ijuin, because their grand-parents were in love but could never marry and made the pact that the Hanamura and Ijuin families would be one day reunited. Benio refuses and tries to elope with Ranmaru, who is secretly in love with her. She also discovers that her best friend Tamaki is in love with Shinobu. She is nevertheless sent to Shinobu’s household to help and learn the domestic duties of a wife. As she is finally falling in love with him, she infuriates her father’s superior and Shinobu is sent to the front in Siberia. Not long after, he is reported missing in action or maybe dead…

The movie was written and directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi, with character designs by Terumi Nishii, art direction by Kentaro Akiyama and music by Michiru Oshima. The cast includes Mamoru Miyano as Shinobu, Saori Hayami as Benio, Asami Seto as Tamaki, Yuuki Kaji as Ranmaru, and Unshō Ishizuka as Major Hanamura.

In the second movie, Benio tries to go on with her life and hopes that Shinobu might come back one day. In the meantime, she keeps taking care of his grandparents household and tries to find a job. After many unsuccessful attempts she is finally hired as reporter by a small newspaper headed by Tosei, a handsome but misogynistic editor (he’s literally allergic to women due to issues with his mother). She goes to Manchuria to investigate a band of rebels supposedly headed by a Japanese deserter. She meets with him and discovers he is Onijima, a friend of Shinobu in the army, who tells her how Shinobu got missing after saving his life. Later, back in Tokyo, she is covering the visit of a Russian noble couple in exile, Count Michaellov and countess Larisa. Benio is shocked to see that the count looks exactly like Shinobu. Actually, it’s him but he suffers from amnesia. Larisa saved and nursed him to replace her dead husband Sasha (who was in fact Shinobu’s younger half-brother, because Shinobu’s German mother left to marry a Russian noble—yes, I know, it’s complicated). When Shinobu eventually recovers his memory, he cannot marry Benio because he is now married to Larisa and feels indebted to her as she is dying of tuberculosis. Heartbroken, Benio decides to marry Tosei instead (who has discovered that he actually loves her). But on their wedding day the great Kanto earthquake occurs and Larisa finally dies of her disease. Benio and Shinobu can finally be reunited…

The second movie was directed by Toshiaki Kidokoro, with a script by Kazuhiro Furuhashi, character designs by Terumi Nishii, art direction by Kentaro Akiyama and music by Michiru Oshima. The cast includes, besides the cast from the first movie, Kazuya Nakai as Shingo Onijima, Maaya Sakamoto as Larisa, and Takahiro Sakurai as Tōsei Aoe. 

[ ¡ END of possible spoilers warning ! ]

Haikara-San movies are beautifully animated, with crisp, up-to-date quality animation (quite different from the style of late-70s anime, which tend not to age very well—although the TV series is now also available on blu-ray in Japan). The story offers typical Japanese romantic drama filled with lots of comedy. However, despite the funny antics of the characters, the story tackles very serious subjects like feminism and war. I enjoyed it a lot and I highly recommend you to, at least, have a look. If only someone would translated the manga… stars-3-5

For more information you can consult the following web sites:

[ ANNGoogleIMDbOfficialRight StufWikipediaYoutube ]

 

© 2017 Waki Yamato, Kodansha / “Haikara-san” Partners.

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Il Nome della Rosa

MV5BYTdhYzc0MmMtZDQwNS00ZTdlLTgzZmYtZWIxYzE4Zjk0YzQ4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTY2MzkxMjc@._V1_I stumbled by chance upon this TV series adaptation of the Umberto Eco famous novel (I thought I had read it, but, since I cannot remember anything about it, now I have doubt). I had seen, a long time ago, the movie adaptation with Sean Connery (and I have re-watched it just after seeing the series just for the fun of it!) and I was quite curious to see what it would look like as an eight-episode series (over six hours!)… 

The story is set in 1327. Brother William of Baskerville (an English Franciscan, whose name alludes both to Sherlock Holmes and William of Ockham), followed by the young novice Adso of Melk (the son of a German Lord), reaches an isolated Benedictine abbey in the Alps to participate in a debate between the Franciscan Order and the Avignon papacy about whether the Church should be poor as Christ was—a debate that would determine the very survival of the Franciscan Order. Upon arrival at the abbey the two find themselves caught up in a chain of mysterious deaths. William, a medieval sleuth, must untangle this knot of suspects (any of the multiple factions in the abbey, including a group of Heretics hiding amongst the Benedictines)—before the Dominican papal Inquisitor Bernardo Gui burn anyone at the stake—in order to solve the mystery that seems linked to the fabulous Abbey’s library and a coveted rare book!

The TV series is an Italo-German co-production, created, co-written and directed by Giacomo Battiato, starring John Turturro (William), Rupert Everett (Bernardo), Damian Hardung (Adso), Fabrizio Bentivoglio (Remigio), Greta Scarano (Margherita / Anna), Richard Sammel (Malachia), Tchéky Karyo (Pope John XXII), James Cosmo (Jorge) and Michael Emerson (the Abbot). It doesn’t have the star power of Jean-Jacques Annaud’s movie (Sean Connery, F. Murray Abraham, Christian Slater, Michael Lonsdale, Ron Perlman) but still offers many known actors. Strangely, despite being shot in Rome’s Cinecittà Studios, the movie was filmed in English. It aired on RAI in Italy, on BBC in the U.K. and on Sundance TV in the U.S. 

While the movie focuses on the heart of the mystery (the murders and the book), the TV series has ample time to develop around the multiple elements that the movie left out: how William and Adso met, who are the Dulcinian heretics, the Inquisition’s past of William, the particular and what’s at stake in the debate between the papacy and the Franciscan, who is the peasant girl that Adso meets and falls in love with.

Although I liked the movie a lot because of its multiple charms and its great photography, the TV series is a very good production that seems more faithful to the book — and it offers more plot and action. It is a beautiful, very interesting historical drama (I can only dream of all those old books!) which will hopefully soon stream online (possibly on Amazon Prime) so it will be more readily available. I enjoy it and recommend it to all aficionados of medieval history, rare books and mystery novels. stars-3-5

To learn more about this title you can consult the following web sites:

[ GoogleIMDbRAIWikipediaYoutube ]

 

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“Natural History” – final research

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My mystery book

Recently, the interest for one of my old books was rekindled when I found some new information about it on the internet. Since the prefatory pages of the book are missing the author and date of publication are unknown. I had only the title, Natural History, and the publisher:  William Milner of Halifax. Further investigation on WorldCat revealed more details allowing me to identify two possible authors for the book. Finally, I was able to compare my book with a microfiche copy at the University of Montreal, definitively identifying it as Richard COPE’s Natural History, which lead me to order a monograph about the work of William Milner in order to (hopefully) learn even more on this particular edition.

IMG_4437A little less than three weeks after filing the Inter-Library Loan (PEB) request, the Bernard BARR’s document about William Milner arrived at the National Library (BAnQ). Unfortunately, the whole process was utterly disappointing. The NYPL refused to lend its copy, so the book came from the University of St-Andrews’ library in Fife, Scotland, therefore the loan incurred a fee of $C 42.00 ! Not only the book was just a self-published monograph of sixty single-side pages with a simple plastic spiral binding, but the lending library requested that it had to be consulted on site, at the BAnQ. The book was on hold at the National Collection, a secure place where you have to check your coat and bag in a locker room before entering and you have to put all the material you need (notebook, pen, laptop, wallet, etc) in a basket that you carry with you. It was the first time I was visiting that place and it was all quite unexpected. Luckily, the staff was very nice and helpful. Instead of spending hours reading the book, I was allowed to digitize a copy on the photocopier (its control menu was not user-friendly at all and source of many frustrations). 

IMG_4441The book title is: “William Milner of Halifax: printer and publisher. Checklist of a collection of books printed by William Milner and his successors and imitators.” The only publishing information is “York: Ken Spelman”. No author is listed on the cover, but the notice from the University of St-Andrews’ library is helpful on that subject: the author is NOT Bernard BARR (who simply wrote the foreword) nor Ken Spelman (the “publisher”, but who was given as author by Amazon) but Peter MILLER and T. FOTHERGILL (who compiled the information).

Disappointingly, the book is of little use to me. It is far from exhaustive; its main source of information seems to be the Spelman’s bookshop collection as well as a few articles in Yorkshire’s newspapers and historical magazines (the bibliography also list a few references that briefly mention Milner, like Victor E. NEUBURG, The Popular Press Companion to Popular Literature, pp. 132-33 or Leslie SHEPARD, The History of Street literature, pp. 104-106). I was expecting a complete list of all titles published by Milner but it seems that such reference doesn’t exist. A search on Google doesn’t yield much either. In fact, the most useful tool in this research was probably WorldCat

IMG_4440William Milner of Halifax: printer and publisher mentions Richard COPE’s Natural History only ONCE (“Cope (Richard) Natural History … New Edition, Improved and Enlarged. Roy 8vo. 730 pp. 425 ills. Maroon cloth”) in what the book calls the “Imprint 7”—which falls into the third incarnation of the publishing company, Milner & Co, located in London between 1883 and maybe 1900. “Maroon cloth” seems to describe well the cheap cover of my edition (and “Roy 8vo” means that it is a Royal octavo format, i.e. 10″ by 6¼” or 253 mm x 158 mm, therefore about the same size than my copy) but my book was clearly printed during the “Imprint 1” period (Halifax: William Milner, 1834-1851). Also the copy that I have seen at the University of Montreal unmistakably falls into the same imprint as it is dated from 1846 (while mine unfortunately has no printing date left—or never had one as it happened often with this publisher). This fact confirms that the Miller/Fothergill monograph is obviously incomplete.

I was not able to acquire more precise information on my book. However, it was not a complete waste of time since it has allowed me to learn more about the printing industry in nineteen century England. It seems that William Milner was a pioneer of cheap literature and remains an unsung hero of the poor Englishmen as he provided them with affordable literary classics (selling for as little as a shilling or even a sixpence) that would have without any doubts further their education and culture. Several other publishers, like William Nicholson, followed his example. 

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The Spelman’s collection ?

They printed books not only in great quantity (printing titles by the ten of thousands with total circulation often amounting over a hundred thousand!) but also in variety as they covered a large array of subject matter (from BurnsPoems, to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Arabian Nights, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Richard Johnson’s The Seven Champion of Christendom, etc.) and offered a “range of plain and variously ornamented styles to suit differing tastes and pockets” [cf. Bernard Barr’s introduction to William Milner of Halifax and Shepard’s History of Street Literature]. The life of those publishers (and particularly of William Milner) and their cultural missionary work would certainly make quite an interesting subject for a historical TV series. 

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