In this editorial I will not, as previously, indulge in self-castigation, -flagellation or -scarification, since Biblionews is catching up on itself with the appearance of this issue at least in the appropriate year and I am not aware of any significant typos etc. in the last issue (apart from our having inadvertently reprinted Jürgen Wegner’s How is a Man review which had already appeared in the March/June 2002 issue).
This issue contains the last part of my article on collecting books on Australian English and is somewhat more heavily illustrated than the previous two parts. Some of the covers we have been reproducing by scanning them in electronically have been coloured. Since we can only afford to have our copies of the journal printed in black and white, in the last issue we experimented by in one case leaving the scanned reproduction in colour and in other cases using a grayscale reproduction. While the one that remained in colour looked excellent in the master copy from which the printing was done, the final result was disappointing in b/w compared with the grayscale ones. As you may have guessed, the disappointing one was the Aussie swearers guide on p.87. So, we experiment and learn.
I should mention, incidentally, that, because of a limitation in the Publisher program we use in preparing the journal for printing, the numbers of the endnotes could not be sustained in sequence through all the three parts of the article, but had to recommence from 1 in each part.
Janet Robinson, who sent with her contribution “Early books in my life” – inspired by an item by our late President – a note telling me that she was a new member, so I am delighted that she felt moved so soon to contribute to our journal. I was impressed to see amongst her early “tomboy” reading a couple of titles by R.M. Ballantyne, on whom I too cut my early reading teeth. It happened that the library of the Balmain Methodist Mission that I attended as a lad contained almost a complete set of Ballantyne’s books, so I had a competition with my best mate, Brian Colless (now a retired senior lecturer in religious studies in Palmerston North, NZ), to see who could get through the most in the shortest time. And just a few weeks ago at a fete I picked up with great pleasure for twenty cents an ex-library copy of Eric Quayle’s Ballantyne the Brave: A Victorian Writer and His Family (Rupert Harte-Davis, but t.p. lacking, so no further details and hence the DISCARDED stamped across the half-title), a biography of this author, whose heroes have long since been supplanted in juvenile affection by the likes of Harry Potter.
It is pleasing that we can resurrect the Notes & Queries section in this issue. We have not had a full Victorian issue for some time, so Jeff Prentice’s item on his plan to produce a book on John Holroyd and his place in the history of the Australian book trade is in that sense timely. However, in spite of what I said in my opening sentence above, I do have to castigate myself that the appearance of his item is untimely, i.e. too late for the May deadline he set himself for the launch of his book. I can only hope that one or other reader of this issue will be moved to purchase a copy of this important volume.
My thanks to Tom Fletcher for making us aware of the availability of information about his father on his own home page. Tom also offered some time ago to produce a Web site for the Society, and that is something we will be taking him up on.
I wonder if Jeff Bidgood’s somewhat polemical item on aspects of text appearance will attract rejoinders. His interpretation of the language of mobile phone SMS messages was an eye-opener for me, a representative of age, if not yet quite of “old age”.
Once again I must thank Colin Steele and Jürgen Wegner for their excellent reviews, though this time also Jeff Prentice, who has thus represented Victoria in two sections of this issue. And I express my gratitude to our President, Neil Radford, who, having also taken on the role of Reviews Editor and therewith a weight from my shoulders, has done such a good job of obtaining books and finding reviewers for them.