Saturday, June 26, 2010


Ever noticed anything missing when you buy a new book? How about the whole first chapter?

Penguin published a version of Lolita with the entire first chapter missing. Admittedly it's written as a foreward by someone named John Ray but the clue that this is part of the story is in the afterword, where Nabokov writes
After doing my impersonation of suave John Ray, the character in Lolita who pens the Foreward ...

See the post where I found this over at the bedside crow.


Old Kitty said...

Why has Penguin done that I wonder?? And I never knew there's a version with a Martin Amis foreword instead. How bizarre!

Thanks for the info - I'm sure to be perusing this penguin version when I'm next in waterstone's just to see the evidence! :-)

Take care

writtenwyrdd said...

This was a deliberate omission by the publishers? How odd. Wonder why they did that? I hope it was an error.

fairyhedgehog said...

I think it was a mistake. Penguin seem not to have realised that the original "Preface" was in fact part of the story. I'm guessing it was an easy mistake to make - but red faces all round!

Kevin Musgrove said...

They're being called in for pulping so if you've got one keep hold of it as a collector's item.

In the library we quite often get books that have lost a few chapters or had a few chapters of a completely different book bound in. The surprising thing is that they've usually been borrowed half a dozen times before anybody points it out to us.

PJD said...

My father read Life of Pi with his book group. They were all talking about what I considered the single pivotal line that ties the entire book together: "And so it is with God." My father was terribly confused with the entire discussion. As it turns out, that line--and only that line--had been omitted from his copy. Very strange.

fairyhedgehog said...

Kevin, it's amazing that people don't notice! Or maybe they just don't like to complain.

Peter, how frustrating for your father! Fancy having such a pivotal line omitted. I missed the subtitle of "The Man Who Was Thursday" in my edition, and that was bad enough.

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