Spinal Note:
Urnette
29 July 2019

¶ In order to have a fresh look at the work of Ivy Compton-Burnett, which has been haunting me, I decided first to try a new title, and then to re-read one or two of the novels that I already have (A House and Its Head and Two Worlds and Their Ways are likely candidates). So I ordered A Family and a Fortune, published by Bloomsbury Reader, from Amazon. 

The book arrived two days later. Searching for a copyright date — when did Compton-Burnett write it? — I could find only the statement that “This electronic edition” was published by Bloomsbury in 2011. An odd statement to make of a material volume. But then I followed a hunch to the very last page of the book. There it said, 

Made in the USA
Middletown, DE
25 July 2019

In other words, last Thursday. Two days later, I had the book in my hands.

The book is handsome and well-executed, although the ink is a bit pale for my aged eyes. There are no blurbs or other publicity materials, not even a breathtaking pseudo-synopsis on the back cover. In that regard, it is rather like a Bible: just the original text. But there is the most curious flaw. I noticed part of it right away: The author’s name on the spine is given as “Ivy Compton-B” It was only a couple of days later that I looked closely at the title: “A Family and Its Fortunurnette.” 

I’m tempted to order another copy, to see if this interesting error is repeated. 

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