I’m going to get back into this comparison after a bit of a break over Christmas and the new year. Previous posts are here and here.
I am comparing an Egmont paperback from 2005 (on loan from Stef) with a Methuen 6th impression from 1945.
CHAPTER SEVEN: JANET IS UP TO TRICKS
Not very much to report in this chapter. The school maids have become school messengers. Chorussed has been ‘corrected’ to chorused. The double-s spelling is marked as wrong in my spell checker but there are a lot of dictionary entries online for it. It may just be an out-dated spelling now. Also, when fire-cracks are first introduced to the chapter they are in inverted commas, which are removed in the newer edition. (They keep their hyphen, though!)
CHAPTER EIGHT: THE GREAT MIDNIGHT FEAST
There are several references to money in this chapter and naturally they have all been changed. Half a crown (two shillings and sixpence) has become a pound, and after that two shillings are also updated to a pound. A whole ten shillings becomes a whole ten pounds, and half a farthing (one eighth of an old penny) becomes fifty pence. So while those updates are not exactly logical, (if two and a half shillings = one decimal pound, how can ten shillings make ten pounds?) they at least make reasonable sense. It’s believable that a girl might be asked to put a pound in for a present for the head teacher, or that another girl would receive ten pounds from the granny on her birthday.
Other amounts of money are replaced with vague phrases – sixpence towards a charity becomes something, two shillings is the money, (requiring lost them to become lost it afterwards), and a ten shilling note is also referred to as the money. A shilling is some money, and my ten shilling note is my money. Again, as far as updates go, it makes sense to use terms like those rather than getting caught up in making sure amounts match up. But then again, they could have just left it in shillings and taught children a history lesson!
Anyway, moving on from money. A gold bar-brooch becomes just a gold brooch, a tuck-hamper a hamper and linoleum is now the floor. A Great feast is now a great feast (but later the Feast is still a Feast) and italics are lost when the twins wish Miss Roberts would respect us.
Quite a few more than last time I think, mostly thanks to all those references to money. Seventeen changes in all (sticking to my rule of counting new/unique alterations only) bringing us to a total of 45.
It would have been great if they kept the original money and put in a conversion table at the front.
Thanks again, Fiona.
Interesting as ever, thanks Fiona. And I agree with Francis that it would have been much better to leave the pre-decimal money as it was. I really don’t think that readers would struggle with the idea that the book is set in pre-decimal times!