Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Hoosier Schoolmaster by Edward Eggleston

Once again I'm posting on a book that can be had for relatively cheap. I've found a few on Amazon and eBay plus going through Author: - Edward Eggleston - Title: - The Hoosier Schoolmaster - there are a few copies at various booksellers.

My copy is not for sale today but it might be someday. It seems like a keeper but someyear I might decide to release it to the wild. Space will be the issue at that date... - Addendum to this line. - I started this posting before I finished the book. I've finished reading it tonight... It is staying in my personal library and my daughter will have to deal with it after Jesus takes me home. -

One thing I will suggest is writing to the book seller in advance of purchase and making sure you get the "revised" edition (1892 and 'perhaps' after) with the authors footnotes. (More on that later. Plus it might be cheaper than a "First Edition".) - The story can also be had for free at Project Gutenberg but you will have to suffer through reading it on your computer screen or printing it out, which could be more expensive than buying it used (depending on your printer).

Figure this one out. a 2006 copy for $134.33 and on Alibris there is an 1899 copy available for $3.95 Plus S&H - I wrote to the $134.33 seller and asked, "Why so much? Typo???" - No reply!!! - Beware of rectal apertures! They will rob you!!! -

The Hoosier Schoolmaster by Edward Eggleston - (my copy) 1899, Grosset and Dunlap NY - HB/no DJ - 281 pages - w/ B&W Illustrations (with Character Sketches by F. Opper and other Illustrations by W.E.B. Starkweather) - Missing flyleaf which might have had some interesting names to Google...

"Want to be a schoolmaster, do you? You? Well, what would you do in Flat Crick deestrick, I'd like to know? Why, the boys have driv off the last two, and licked the one afore them like blazes. You might teach a summer school, when nothin' but children come. But I 'low it takes a right smart man to be schoolmaster in Flat Crick in the winter. They'd pitch you out of doors, sonny, neck and heels, afore Christmas."

So starts a fascinating story of a young man whose decision to be a schoolmaster of a rural district in 1851 Indiana seems to be doomed before he is even hired.

Written in the dialect of Middle America of the time it is filled with many of the characters, personalities, emotions and complexities of life mankind has known since Adam's fall. Plus it is a good story.


Going through a few online bookseller's sites I came across one whose advice I did not agree with. I saw a few of the more experienced sellers telling a newbie seller that had recently 'inherited' a lot of books (2500 or so) to dump all the 'Book of the Month Club' books and and only hold onto those books that had a higher value. - One said only keep those that could be sold for at least seven dollars while another said they would not sell their time so cheaply and held onto only ten dollar and up books...

To those so called 'sellers' I say, "Shame on you!!!"

What is selling if it is not giving value to someone that is willing to pay for it. I've sold three books in one eBay auction that could have been purchased for $1.00 each (Plus S&H) and got my ten dollars. Difference is: 1.) Buyer was willing to pay more for the convenience of one transaction instead of three and 2.) I advertised I would pay the S&H (my cost $2.50 or so - Media Mail - U.S. only). Nothing tacked on unless they wanted insurance or faster shipping method (book rate is real slow). A bonus in a sense because a lot of book buyers hate the shipping costs and a lot of sellers jack up the shipping to cover 'costs'...

So three or four of those BOMC books can and will bring in the $10.00 with the proper salesmanship applied. With BOMC listings I 'might' mention that they are getting more popular with budget minded book collectors. This is because it is one way to 'possibly' get an older, earlier edition, depending on the date of publication of course, for considerably less. In fact I've seen the BOMC embossed dot on stated "First Editions". (on the back cover the BOMC might emboss or indent a large period near the bottom to identify it as having been sold by/through the BOMC - This is generally done when the copies are not newly printed with BOMC on the copyright page.)


But I digress.

Back to The Hoosier Schoolmaster.

This book has gone through several printings. It was popular up to the 1950's. The author originally printed a major part of the the story through his newspaper as a serial. He was encouraged to expand it a bit and make a book out of it. Since then it was printed in England (no residuals to the author) translated into other languages (Still no residuals) and republished several times.

That is when you know that the book you hold is a good one. - The majority of books are never republished. Supply and demand is the only reason for a book to be republished. Except perhaps for 'Professors' who demand their students purchase books they authored as a class requirement. - Even then I guess supply and demand is still in force.

Have I digressed again?

The characters in this first work by Edward Eggleston are not unforgettable. He had a way of bringing out their hopes, fears, and loves be they selfish or other-centric. Be they good or evil. Be they sane or... Well some of the demented ones still had hopes, fears and/or loves (see 'selfish' listed above). And some of those we will find outside of the 'poor house'.

Eggleston, in the revised edition, took many of the words and sayings of 1850's Indiana and broke them down with an etymological explanation which I found fascinating. As I've stated before I love words and the English language. Through the footnotes Added in the revised edition you can learn quite a bit. Some might find them distracting and if so can read the book while ignoring the footnotes then perhaps through a second reading check them out. Well worth having the revised edition because of this feature.

Plus the revised has the "Preface to the Library Edition" which helps explain the goings on during the 21 years from original publication. One of the things he says in this is that people remember him for this, his first novel, and don't know or care that he feels he has done better since. ( - the author only - Edward Eggleston - )

I am going to keep my eyes open for more of his works in my collection and will report to you if I find something worth posting on.

I hope I do.

This story was made into 3 movies which were all apparently unsatisfactory to those who read the book.
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