Monday, July 16, 2012

More on the "twelfth" edition

In the two essays I have discussed the authorized "twelfth" edition of Hoyle's Games (1760) and three pirated variations of the same book. I plan to publish an analysis of the three variants to determine whether they are three separate editions or re-impressions from a single setting of type. First, I want to raise a couple of topics connected with those two essays.

An earlier piracy?

I the last essay, I argued that the three variations are piracies because they lacked the autographs of Hoyle and Osborne and because they were not printed in the usual format of the Osborne Hoyles. I mentioned what may be a similar example of piracy at the bottom of this essay. A single copy of the "tenth" edition of the individual treatise on Whist is at the British Library The authorized "tenth" edition (actually a reissue of the "eighth" edition, as discussed here) was a collected edition of all of Hoyle's treatises. I believe the individual treatise to be a piracy because it was not autographed by Hoyle (Osborne was not yet signing any of Hoyle's work) and because it was an octavo, where all the contemporary genuine Hoyles were duodecimos.

The Scottish Hoyle

In two essays (here and here) I have discussed an edition of Hoyle printed in Edinburgh by Mundell and Sons. Here I want to highlight that the Scottish Hoyle is textually identical to the three variants we have been discussing. The verso of the title page contains only the "Advertisement" and not the "To the Reader." It is not autographed by Hoyle or Osborne. It lacks the errata at the end of the book, but contains the "Two New Cases at Whist" as the last leaf of the book. While the Scottish Hoyle has all the characteristics of the piracies, I believe it was authorized. Why would a printer put a colophon on a piracy? The lack of an autograph is more likely to do geography than piracy.

A nineteenth century reprint

The "twelfth" edition was followed by a "thirteenth" with additional text in 1763. As Hoyle came off copyright in 1774 (discussed here), new editions of Hoyle appeared with the text of other writers treating other games (discussed here). Thus it is puzzling that a reprint of the "twelfth" edition appeared in 1807, 44 years later, with none of the improvements of the intermediate editions.

1807 Hoyle
published by Brambles
The book is printed for J. Brambles, A. Meggitt, and J. Waters, by H. Mozley, Gainsborough. 1807. It appears to be quite rare with only one copy listed in WorldCat in the John G. White chess collection at the Cleveland Public Library and a second listed in Copac at Oxford. It seems surprising that the book is listed in the three major Hoyle bibliographies (Horr, Jessel, and Rather, discussed here), but I suppose its inclusion is due to a coincidence of geography. 

Cleveland attorney and gaming bibliographer Norton Horr must have seen White's copy (or White's catalogue which must have listed the book) and was able to include it into his 1892 Bibliography of Card-Games and of the History of Playing-Cards as item 681. Frederic Jessel, who's collection is now at the Bodleian Library at Oxford, listed the book as item 826 in his 1905 Bibliography of works in English on Playing Cards and Gaming, but made it clear that he had not seen the book and was relying on the description in Horr. The Oxford copy is not catalogued as part of the Jessel collection and must have been acquired after Jessel wrote his bibliography. Rather, of course, would have had access to the White collection and the Jessel bibliography.

Two new cases at whist
Brambles reprinted the "twelfth" edition completely, even including the two new cases at whist on the final two pages of the section on backgammon. They removed the phrase "added since this book was printed off" and corrected the errata in the text. Note the colophon at the bottom of page 195, shown at right.

How did Brambles, Meggitt and Waters come to reprint a work almost half a century old, particularly one that had been superseded by so many editions of Hoyle's Games Improved? The Brambles Hoyle is a small book, 11.3 x 7.8 cm, with horizontal chain lines and no visible watermarks. It is likely an 18o or 24o, a cheap reprint. I looked through WorldCat and found about four dozen titles issued by the three publishers in the first decade of the 19th century. They all seem to be reprints of rather stale 18th century titles: Aesop's Fables translated by Croxall, Dodsley's Economy of Human Life, Gay's Fables, Elizabeth Moxon's English Housewifery, Defoe, and...Hoyle. We can infer that their business model was to reprint cheaply books in the public domain.

Still, shouldn't they have used a more recent text?

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