It is currently Tue, 19 Oct 2021, 7:18




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 3 posts ] 
 Publishing the Wolfe Corpus in 7 Volumes? 
Author Message
site admin
User avatar

Joined: Sat, 7 Oct 2006, 18:46
Posts: 198
Reply with quote
New post Publishing the Wolfe Corpus in 7 Volumes?
[A post sent today to the Nero Wolfe discussion mailing list at Yahoo! Groups]

While we're dreaming, here is how I would publish the Corpus if I were the editor. To preserve the pun in connection with Wolfe's physique, I'd call that edition not The Complete Nero Wolfe but...

The Full Nero Wolfe Corpus in 7 Volumes
published by Audacious Books in 20..
(Original volumes numbering refers to Corpus overview on this site.)

Yeah, Volume 3 would be a bit bulkier than the other six volumes, but you can't quite help it. Overall, I think each of the 7 volumes might be printed so as to approach the size of the paperback The Penguin Complete Sherlock Holmes mentioned before: 1136 pages. The font would have to be a bit smaller than usual, and the paperback itself wouldn't exactly be “pocket-sized”, but... yeah, you could certainly publish the entire Wolfe Corpus in 7 paperback volumes if you really wanted to :!: It might even be a commercial success; add bonuses to each of the 7 volumes, such as instructive afterwords by Wolfe experts; memorabilia and scanned rare items from private Stout archives, as already practiced in the aborted 1990s paperback Rex Stout Library (Bantam Books), and I bet – just as E. J. Ford said – that all Wolfe fans would gladly buy these 7 volumes even if they possessed multiple copies of all these stories in earlier editions.


Sat, 5 Apr 2008, 20:35
Profile E-mail WWW
site admin
User avatar

Joined: Sat, 7 Oct 2006, 18:46
Posts: 198
Reply with quote
New post 
[Responding to the objection that it might be desirable to read all 74 Wolfe stories in strict chronological order:]

I thought of that in my dream editor's plan, but:

The novelettes are mixed up, anyway. The final, posthumous volume, Death Times Three, includes stories from 1940 to 1959. That's a very large gap. Plus, you have instances like the collection Three Men Out (called one of the best Wolfe novelettes collections by Michael E. Grost). This collection (1954) includes stories from 1942 (›Invitation to Murder‹) to 1953 (›The Zero Clue‹). ›Invitation to Murder‹ thus predates 13 other Wolfe novelettes published in earlier years in earlier 5 novelettes collections.

I mentioned that to make the 7-volume edition of the Corpus attractive to purchase for those who already possess all stories in earlier editions, the new comprehensive edition should include bonuses. One of such bonuses, included in each of the 7 volumes, could be a strict chronological time-line of all 74 Wolfe stories, disregarding whether they are novels or short stories. This would provide the guidance to those readers who wish to (re)read the Corpus in the exact chronological order. Plus, it would be a further incentive for readers to buy all 7 volumes – because, having bought Volumes 1 and 2, they would also need to buy Volume 7 (due to ›Bitter End‹, 1940) and Volume 6 (due to Black Orchids, 1942), if they wish to read the 74 Wolfe stories in strict chronological order. And, of course, it would be stressed in the blurbs, just as in the expert forewords and afterwords, that reading the stories chronologically is strongly recommended once you get hooked on Wolfe, as it's likely to increase your reading pleasure considerably! 8)


Sat, 5 Apr 2008, 21:19
Profile E-mail WWW
site admin
User avatar

Joined: Sat, 7 Oct 2006, 18:46
Posts: 198
Reply with quote
New post 
[Responding to a comment that it might be preferable to opt for a strict chronological order of Wolfe short stories in an omnibus edition of the Corpus:]

No problem. 8-) Volumes 6 and 7 of the suggested edition could discard the original distribution of the novelettes into the 14 collections, instead opting for strict chronological order of the 41 stories. Say, the first 20 stories in Volume 6, and the remaining 21 stories in Volume 7. That could even be among the chief attractions of the omnibus edition of the Corpus: “Read all Wolfe stories in chronological order for the first time!”

The arrangement you suggest has its justification, as the original novelettes distribution into the 14 collections seems pretty haphazard. As a rule, there is nothing internal uniting a triplet of Wolfe short stories published together in book form. The one exception could have been And Four to Go, but that opportunity was wasted through including ›Murder Is No Joke‹ in the same volume. If it had been left out and the volume titled And Three to Go instead, it might have been a well-rounded thematic unit.

The arrangement you suggest would also make it possible to publish the two pairs of Wolfe short stories that Rex Stout exceptionally chose to re-write, next to each other, allowing readers to better compare the changes made in each pair: ›Murder Is No Joke‹ versus its re-write, the much-improved ›Frame-Up for Murder‹; and ›Assault on a Brownstone‹ versus its re-write, the much-improved ›Counterfeit for Murder‹.


Sun, 6 Apr 2008, 9:36
Profile E-mail WWW
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 3 posts ] 


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You can reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group.
Designed by Vjacheslav Trushkin for Free Forums/DivisionCore.