Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Cakes and Ale by W. Somerset Maugham - Sun Dial Edition

Cakes and Ale - Inverted Symbol
Cakes and Ale - Inverted Symbol

Cakes and Ale: Or The Skeleton in the Cupboard - Inverted Symbol


This post is about a specific edition of Cakes and Ale that I recently found, and I will not talk about the novel itself, which can be found in another post about some Historical and Cultural References in it.

Cakes and Ale - Spine (Sun Dial Press)
Cakes and Ale - Spine (Sun Dial Press)

This is my third copy of Cakes and Ale; for those who have some knowledge about Maugham's first editions must have heard of the famous anomaly of The Hero (1901), published by Hutchinson & Co., on the cover of which Maugham's Moorish symbol appears the first time, but upside down! (exclaimed Stott)

Cakes and Ale - Title Page (Sun Dial Press)
Cakes and Ale - Title Page (Sun Dial Press)

This error is corrected in some copies, bound specially when Maugham pointed it out to the publisher. Stott also says that this is the only book to have the symbol put like that.

This is about to be corrected. I found another inverted symbol in an edition of Cakes and Ale. From the copies I have seen, it would appear that they are all the same.

Cakes and Ale - Copyright Page (Sun Dial Press)
Cakes and Ale - Copyright Page (Sun Dial Press)

Unfortunately, as in many Doubleday and Sun Dial editions, it is quite impossible to know the real publication year, only the copyright year is available, and it is given as 1930. It does not contain any preface or introduction either, so it is possible that it is printed before 1934, but then I am not sure if the fact that this is an American edition makes a difference.

The Modern Library edition with a special introduction in which Maugham "confesses" having Hugh Walpole in mind when constructing the character Alroy Kear is published in New York, so perhaps we can venture to say that the Sun Dial edition is printed before 1950.

Since this error does not seem to have been noticed, the price of the Sun Dial edition is not high at all, and I assume the quantity printed must be quite high too. It would be an interesting item to add to the collection. I would take care to ask for a cover photo before buying though, if it is not provided.

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How to cite this:


Cakes and Ale (Sun Dial Press) at AbeBooks

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