Rediscovered: A. Merritt’s Ishtar

The fantasy writer A. Merritt was born on this date in 1884 and to commemorate the occasion Kevin Cook, noted book and pulp collector, decided to trot out yet another John Hancock from his trove of Merritt signatures.

Kevin spills with the verbiage:

“Most Merritt enthusiasts, old and new, consider The Ship of Ishtar to be his finest novel.

“Here is a signed copy of the first edition of that novel from G.P. Putnam’s Sons in 1926.

“It was Merritt’s second book following the earlier publication of The Moon Pool.

“Although this first edition is what attracts book collectors, anyone who just wants to read the story should avoid it at all costs because the text was mangled by an unsympathetic editor whose abridgments even changed the novel’s ending.

“The preferred text to read is the edition published by the Borden Publishing Company in 1948 with a ‘corrected’ text. 

“Avoid all the Avon paperback editions because they contain the corrupted text as well.”

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