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1999-12, 324, Brian Taylor, Editorial

Editorial: December 1999

The pattem has now established itself fairly firmly that Sydney and Melboume are responsible for putting together altemate issues of Biblionews, so that Sydney does the June and December issues and Melboume the March and September issues, though Sydney remains responsible for the final copy-editing of all issues. The result has been to increase the variety and sustain the quality of the items published, as this year’s excellent September issue put together by Richard Overell again demonstrated. The new system of final editing by an Editorial Assistant introduced as from this year’s March issue has paid off well in that in each case the Editorial Assistant in spite of my own previous close reading of the text, has still managed to find a number of residual errors, and these could be corrected before the issue went to press. I thank these young members – Andrew Beatfie, Cationa Taylor and Alison Olds -, all still in their twenties, for their conscientious assistance.

As any writer and proofreader knows, it is extremely difficult to catch every single error, for there is not only the problem of attention fatigue, but one tends to see what one wants to be there on the page, rather than what is actually there. No one knew this better than Enid Moon, who spent her life as a proofreader and published her experience in the book Memoirs of a Galley Slave, which appeared as no.34 in our Society’s Studies in Australian Bibliography (see inside back cover of this issue). Enid was made a life-member of the BCSA at our 50th anniversary celebrations back in 1994, but sadly, she died in October this year at the great age of 99. An obituary by Doug Knaggs appeared on p.46 of The Sydney Morning Herald of Saturday, 30 October, which surprised me for one when I learnt that this grand old lady I had met in 1994 had been quite a tearaway in her younger years. In November, the Society was sad to learn of the loss of a further member in the person of Mrs Iris Burke.

Before finally leaving the topic of proofreading, I should mention that we were very pleased that in September we were able to publish the first book in our series, the second of the new series announced in 1994, namely Geoffrey Farmer’s The Literature of Australian Private Presses’. A Bibliography, which is an updated edition of his The Literature of Australian Private Presses and Fine Printing, which appeared as no.26 in our old series. Unfortunately, Geoffrey Farmer’s new book had to be delivered to the printer in September when I was under great pressure completing a textbook of my own before leaving for Germany. Although I painstakingly proofread his text, in my haste I omitted to get anyone to proofread my preface to the book and twice out of four times got Geoffrey’s surname wrong. Although I have written a personal letter of apology and explanation to Geoffrey and a corrigendum slip will be pasted into all copies, I take this opportunity to make a public apology on behalf of the Society as its editor for the gross oversight.

And now for some more cheerful news. I feel I should now and then take a leaf out of Richard Overell’s editorials and provide a little information about what is going on in the book collecting/selling/exhibiting world in Sydney, though I would really prefer someone who is closer to that world than I am to take this on in the form of a regular note for our Notes & Queries section.

As regards booksellers, the Berkelouw family of booksellers are now trading, as well as in Berrima and Paddington, also in their brand new custom-built shop in Norton Street Leichhardt – in the heart of Sydney’s Little Italy. The shop has a new book section on the ground floor as well as a rare book section. On the first floor are secondhand books, an art gallery and a coffee shop. An exhibition of book binding was held there after the December opening. A recent invoice from Antiquariat, the bookshop on the Great Western Highway at Mittagong specialising particularly in books of Scottish interest, informed me that it was moving by December to nearby Bowral (see p.150 of this issue).

It remains for me to thank the contributors to this issue: Jim Andrighetti, a Manuscript Librarian at the State Library of N.S.W, for his paper, which was given at this year’s Sydney June meeting, Neil Boness for his article of both bibliophilic and musicological interest, the indefatigable Frank Carleton for his item on a particular passion – Laperouse, and Jeff Bidgood for his reviews. Incidentally, Oak Knoll Books of Delaware, U.S.A., has been offering to send us review copies of some of their high quality publications. Reviews of some already received will appear in Biblionews in 2000. Any member or reader interested in reviewing should contact me for a list of the books on offer.

Brian Taylor

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