Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Nine Coaches Waiting in Ladies Home Journal, 1958

Many of Mary Stewart's novels were condensed and published in women's magazines around the time that the novels were first published. Though this sort of thing is done infrequently now, back in the day I think it was a fairly common way to publicize a new book by a well-known author. I was unable to find print copies of any of them (I guess women's magazines weren't considered worthy of preservation), but my local university library has many of them on microfilm.

The image above is the illustration by Harry Anderson that accompanied the condensation of Nine Coaches Waiting in the September 1958 issue of Ladies Home Journal. I'm sorry the quality isn't great -- the microfilm was black and white and a bit fuzzy. But it's a lovely picture. It must depict the scene when Linda is in Madame de Valmy's room trying on the ballgown she'd made. Raoul finds her there and they have a nice little interlude. ;)
I pushed away from him at last, both hands against his chest. "But Raoul, why?"
"What d'you mean why?"
"Why me? Your father called me 'Jane Eyre,' and he wasn't far wrong. And you--you could have anyone. So ... why?"
"Do you want to know why?" His hands turned me around to face the mirror again, holding me back against him. I could feel his heart hammering against my shoulder blade. His eyes met mind in the glass. "You don't have to be humble, ma belle. That's why."


The title page is below -- the typography is so, so pretty. If you click on the picture it'll take you to a larger version, though I'm not sure you'll be able to read the text. The condensation is quite long -- I think around 15 pages or so. I found it sort of odd that they decided to condense the whole thing rather than just print an excerpt (and who did the condensing, I wonder, and what did Mary Stewart think of it?!). It was discomfiting to read an abridged version since I'm so familiar with the original text.

I've only had time to locate this one article so far, but I'll try to scan the others soon. If anyone has an attic full of Ladies Home Journals or Good Housekeeping from the 1950s and 60s, let me know! I'd love to see color scans of these!


somebirdsarelikethat said...

I absolutely love this! But, I agree that it would be disconcerting to read the "short story" version.

Elaine said...

I can't imagine a condensed version, since so much of what made me love the original novel was the atmosphere of the old chateau.

Li said...

That's really interesting. How on earth did they condense a whole book into 15 pages?!

Jennie said...

Somebirds -- I know! It's like any condensed version -- why not read the real thing?!

Elaine -- Yes, I think they must have removed all the great description of setting, which is one of the things Mary Stewart does best. But maybe the article got people to buy the book and read the real thing. :)

Li -- I don't know. I couldn't make myself read the whole thing on the microfilm machine and scanning it would have taken too long. They must have cut out a ton.

Andy, Mary, Nate, Lizzie said...

*sigh* indeed! Just found your blog! Great idea! :)

Jordan said...

What a beautiful picture--looks just like in my imagination!

LB said...

So excited to have discovered this site! I remember finding this in my mother's magazine & devouring it, totally enchanted - it was like Cinderella, only better. And I've been a fan ever since.

So I suppose the condensation served some purpose-LOL.

Barbara Phinney said...

If you can get the whole short story up, I'd love to read it!

Anonymous said...

Hace un tiempo leí el libro "La Institutriz" de Karen Ranney, y me sorprendió descubrir (por lo menos así me lo pareció en mi calidad de LECTORA), que la historia es un CALCO, una COPIA de "Nueve carruajes esperan".

El editor, creo, dice al final de libro de K. Ranney que ella “Revisa la novela romántico-gótica y la viste de una estética moderna. En sus obras podemos encontrar personajes fuertes, inteligentes y admirables, un trasfondo escalofriante, suspense y el tipo de sorpresas que buscan los lectores en un relato de misterio gótico”…
Y hace bien en señalarlo el editor, porque este libro, más que una revisión, es una burda COPIA de la hermosa novela “Nueve carruajes esperan”, de Mary Stewart, de 1958. Y la única novedad aportada por Ranney Karen consiste en escenas “calientes”, que “abaratan” el nudo argumental original de la historia. Y así, para mí, que leí hace un tiempo la obra de Stewart, por más que cambie nombres, introduzca uno que otro giro narrativo “salpicado” de tintes sexuales, la historia pierde peso, consistencia argumental y el atractivo trasfondo gótico que tanto éxito le brindó a la ESCRITORA ORIGINAL…

Acaso la Señora Steward cedió los derechos de su novela para que otra escritora la "aggiornara" a estos tiempos??? Me parece que "flaco" favor le hizo a su libro original.