"The best of Dennis Wheatley"

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Wed 11 May, 2011 23:03:03

ken68 wrote: Oh just got my copy. Very nice. Impressed. Have read the foreword by DWs grandson and i found it quite touching.
I am looking forward to getting mine. I was in London last week, and didn't see it anywhere, but I did get a message from Book Depository saying it has been released, and was being shipped. Judging by past experience, it should be only a matter of days...

(Meanwhile, there's a copy on eBay already!)

Stevie P
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Post by Stevie P » Thu 12 May, 2011 14:59:53

Can I just pick up on the thread that I'd previously missed.

Titus Groan & Gormenghast....Sheer Brilliance. They are two of my favourite books. For those of you who haven't read them I urge you to do so. It's one of the things you have to do before you die.

Jim, Alan - what did you think of the 'Non Gormenghast' stories...I never read them...I just felt that there was no way that Mervyn Peake could improve on the first two books of the trilogy.

I must dust off one of my dusty tomes!!!! I sound like Barquentine..

Charles
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Post by Charles » Thu 12 May, 2011 17:52:46

Just got my copy too ... did you notice the title has changed ... from "The Best of Dennis Wheatley" to "Classic Black Magic from Dennis Wheatley" - a much better title in my opinion, and even if they left out my favourite story it's an impressively thick tome.

I don't know who wrote the introduction - I'll ask.

Steve - it looks as if I have more books to add to my reading list ... I reckon that makes 50 years worth at the very least !

Best to all as always !
Charles

ken68
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Post by ken68 » Sat 14 May, 2011 19:33:35

Totally agree Charles much better title. Also wonder if it may lead to follow up compilations such as " Classic adventure" or "Classic espionage" from Dennis Wheatley. Or a Black Magic vol 2. Want to start reading it but am in the middle of Stranger than fiction and I can't read two books at once! On the bright side gives me a chance to get a good bottle of Hock chilled and a Hoyo ready. You know really if he keeps having ideas like that then i could really like this Dominic fellow. ;-) . A chip off the old block and all that.

Ken

Jim
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Post by Jim » Tue 17 May, 2011 22:08:22

Got it today--hurrah!

The introductions are nice, and well-written, except for the implication that Three Inquisitive People was published before The Forbidden Territory.

The typsetting has been borrowed from the Wordsworth editions, right down to the extra dedication in TDRO, but it's all good. If not for the folks at Chorion, there would be no Dennis Wheatley available in hardcover, so I repeat: hurrah!

Alan
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Post by Alan » Sun 22 May, 2011 17:27:31

Stevie P wrote:Can I just pick up on the thread that I'd previously missed.

Titus Groan & Gormenghast....Sheer Brilliance. They are two of my favourite books. For those of you who haven't read them I urge you to do so. It's one of the things you have to do before you die.

Jim, Alan - what did you think of the 'Non Gormenghast' stories...I never read them...I just felt that there was no way that Mervyn Peake could improve on the first two books of the trilogy.

I must dust off one of my dusty tomes!!!! I sound like Barquentine..
There was a short story by Peake about a rather sheltered young man who falls in love with a beautiful woman, and agrees to marry her after only ever seeing her seated. He passes the registry office on the top deck of a bus (having stolen his mum's jewellery as a gift for her) and sees that she is in fact a midget with a normal size head, part of what was called a "freak show" (excuse the insulting term) in those days! This story totally haunted me for years after I read it. I also loved "Captain Slaughterboard Drops Anchor" and his series of poems about various relatives who metamorphise into animals. In fact there's a lot of really great stuff by the man out there.




And my fave (written in his boyhood)

I saw a puffin,
in the Bay of Baffin,
sitting on nuffin'
and it was laffing!!!

Stevie P
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Post by Stevie P » Wed 25 May, 2011 09:09:10

Thanks for the info Alan. I'll try to get hold of the stories. (Loved the Rhyme)
Did you know that there is a new hardback Gormenghast trilogy due out in July. Mine is ordered along with DW's trilogy.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Illustrated-Gor ... -2-catcorr

I'd better stop this 'Peake praise' on a DW site. Charles will be chasing me!! :-)

Charles
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Post by Charles » Thu 2 Jun, 2011 19:36:39

... and back to Dennis Wheatley ( :lol: ), I learnt something interesting today ...

The text of the three stories in 'Classic Black Magic from Dennis Wheatley' is not in every respect the same as the original published text. Whereas the Wordsworth editions (for example) reproduced all of DW's phraseology for good or ill, in this new (and rather fine looking) omnibus, some of the phrases that would be found offensive or unintelligible by modern audiences have skilfully been replaced.

I didn't spot this until I was told, but once you know, you can confirm it quite easily by going to some of the 'more obvious' places.

It is, I think, quite understandable that the publishers should have decided to do this - after all, they don't want to alienate their audience.

I'd be grateful if no-one would post a long string of all the offending words on the site because I don't want search engines giving the site a bad name, but it would be interesting to know how many changes there are. Perhaps we should have a prize at the next Convention for the person who manages to spot the greatest number of changes (?).

The vast majority of the text (99.99999 % as far as I can see) remains unchanged though, and Good still vanquishes Evil !
Charles

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Post by Steve Whatley » Thu 2 Jun, 2011 21:53:51

Charles, that's very interesting.

I have mixed feelings about this. My instinct is that the writer's intentions should be respected, and the original text preserved.

I can understand that the publishers don't want to upset anybody, but of course neither did DW - he merely used words and phrases which were in common usage in his day. Perhaps it is too much to expect that the readers of today will accept these works as the period pieces which they have become (as do most novels).

Maybe there is a case for updating stories to make them more 'accessible' for today's audiences, but how far should one take that? Should the models of cars driven by the characters be changed to something modern? Should most of the characters now be non-smokers, and the remainder be forbidden to smoke in public places? None of these adventures would be remotely as thrilling if the characters had mobile 'phones available with which to summon help to get them out of a tight corner. Where would it end?

To be entirely fair to the author, such a 'modernised' book should be published as Dennis Wheatley's 'The Devil Rides Out' updated by P C Freakmaster.

By the bye, Charles, did you find out who wrote the introduction?[font=Courier New] [/font]

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Post by Jim » Fri 3 Jun, 2011 11:11:04

Charles wrote: The text of the three stories in 'Classic Black Magic from Dennis Wheatley' is not in every respect the same as the original published text. Whereas the Wordsworth editions (for example) reproduced all of DW's phraseology for good or ill, in this new (and rather fine looking) omnibus, some of the phrases that would be found offensive or unintelligible by modern audiences have skilfully been replaced.

It is, I think, quite understandable that the publishers should have decided to do this - after all, they don't want to alienate their audience.
I assume--without going into detail--that most of these alterations are to DW's casually racist references, the kind of thing which has caused similar editing of even such children's classics as the Dr Dolittle and Mary Poppins books. (I read recently that Agatha Christie's agent gave her American publisher permission to do this without even consulting her. Don't look to see Ten Little Indians in the Collins 'original jacket' reprint series any time soon...)

And it's not--as we've said before--the first time this has happened. We know that Red Eagle lost an entire chapter in its later editions, and that To the Devil--A Daughter has rarely appeared in its original text after the first printing.

With the books now stored in digital form, to search and replace offensive words is the matter of a few keystrokes. I am, like Steve, of two minds about this, but I think there's a difference between say, Mark Twain's use of the N-word to tell us something about ourselves, and DW's use of it, which just tells us about him.

I assume Steve knows that there is a modernized version of The Devil Rides Out, updated and trimmed of a few thousand words by Alison Sage, in the Hutchinson "Fleshcreeper" series. They were underestimating young readers, who happily pore over 600 pages of Harry Potter...
Last edited by Jim on Sat 4 Jun, 2011 01:14:07, edited 2 times in total.

Steve Whatley
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Post by Steve Whatley » Fri 3 Jun, 2011 18:07:17

Hi Jim, yes, it was the Alison Sage version which made me think of edited versions, and that they should be advertised as such on the front cover, as that one was.

I actually read that version, which was obviously massively abridged, but it was enough years ago for me to have forgotten whether or not I detected any modernisation, though I think it probable that I didn't notice.

Jim, which Gregory Sallust novel was altered after the first edition? I've done most of my DW reading in the Heron edition, so I would like to read the original and see what changes were made.

Thanks, Steve[font=Courier New] [/font]

Jim
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Post by Jim » Fri 3 Jun, 2011 23:21:15

Steve Whatley wrote: Hi Jim, yes, it was the Alison Sage version which made me think of edited versions, and that they should be advertised as such on the front cover, as that one was. I actually read that version, which was obviously massively abridged, but it was enough years ago for me to have forgotten whether or not I detected any modernisation, though I think it probable that I didn't notice.
Actually, Sage eliminates a lot of details that would date the book, but as Simon refers at one point to his work for a computer firm, it is clearly meant to be contemporary (1987). I'm actually more bothered by the completely rewritten ending, which brings our heroes to New York City.
Jim, which Gregory Sallust novel was altered after the first edition? I've done most of my DW reading in the Heron edition, so I would like to read the original and see what changes were made.
I mis-remembered, and have gone back to correct my original posting. In his Anatomy of Horror, Glen St John Barclay says of To the Devil--A Daughter: "Wheatley's description of the various physical assaults made upon the heroine have secured for him the distinction of having published a book in 1964 that is still expurgated in most of its published forms in 1978." He gives no specifics, but he is elsewhere quite detailed about Gregory's rather sadistic nature (and that's probably how I got them mixed), so I am inclined to believe him.

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Post by duffellbag » Tue 14 Jun, 2011 15:31:08

forgive me for this question, but for anyone who owns the new DW best of, could you tell me how TALL the book is please?

I try to fit all my DW hardbacks in one shelf and they JUST fit heightwise, Damn if it doesnt ive just got to get it for the great :-) cover, newness and intoduction!!

Charles
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Post by Charles » Tue 14 Jun, 2011 21:32:44

That merits a prize for the most unusual question of the year to date !

The answer - 9 1/2" or 24 cm

Will it fit ???

Best wishes !
Charles

Steve Whatley
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Post by Steve Whatley » Tue 14 Jun, 2011 22:42:56

Yes, it is rather large and unwieldy, isn't it. Another reason (along with my lack of space) to resist buying a copy.

It could be dangerous for me, as I do most of my reading in bed. If I fell asleep with that great weight on my chest, I might never wake up!

The original Hutchinson omnibus editions were good in that they were more or less normal size, and not even terribly thick, as the paper used was much thinner than the usual. I think these should be important considerations when these re-issues are planned.

If they want some ideas for future publications, how about a boxed set of the Roger Brook saga? (Perhaps that should be two six-volume boxes.)

Or a seven-volume boxed set of Gregory Sallust's wartime adventures?[font=Courier New] [/font]

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