I’m working just now on the copy-edit of the new edition of my The Lion’s Share, due out in September. It’s very little changed from the 5th edition (2012), apart from a new concluding chapter on ‘Brexit and the Empire’, which will constitute my final thoughts on the question of British imperialism; or so I imagine, unless Boris succeeds in his old Etonian wet dream of restoring Britain’s glory to its former heights. The first version was published by Longmans 45 years ago. Since then it has passed through the hands of several publishers, as each was bought up by another, with no say in the transaction by its poor authors, who were simply dragged into their new stables as ‘property’.
In the present case this has meant that the present ‘owner’ has been unable to use any of the type-setting of the previous edition, or the art-work, without seeking and paying for ‘permissions’ again. My biggest disappointment here concerns the cover; which has gone through several versions; my favourite of which by far was the first one:
That was modelled and painted in-house by Longmans. I pleaded to have it restored to the new edition, but nothing doing. So instead I chose this one from a number of ‘Getty Images’ the publishers sent me. I think it’s of the sculpture in front of the Rhodes Memorial in Capetown. It doesn’t really represent the main argument of the book, which is far less macho; but it should be striking enough. (The subtitle should say ‘1850-2020, by the way.) I think you’ll need to click on to it to see it.
The copy-editor whose work I’m checking is terrific, by the way. Copy-editors have the most boring job in the whole literary world.