The 21st item in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is Jack Kerouac's Atop an Underwood: Early Stories and Other Writings. Edited by Paul Marion, a Lowellian, my copy is a Penguin publication. The copyright page indicates the following:
First published in the United States of America by Viking Penguin,
a member of Penguin Putnam, Inc. 1999
Published in Penguin Books 2000
3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4
I think this information means that this particular copy is the 3rd printing in 2000. Those numbers are apparently what is called a "printer's key," and it dates back to pre-digital printing days when a printer could just remove a block or file off a number to revise the page for the new printing. The lowest number in the line indicates the printing. Sometimes a year is listed along with the printer's key, but in this case there is none so I guess one has to go with the latest listed date.
Atop an Underground includes over 70 short pieces of Kerouac's writing organized into three periods of time: 1936-1940, 1941, and 1942-1943. There is a general introduction by Marion and he provides helpful commentary for most of the pieces. In the commentaries you will find fascinating tidbits like this one for "The Boy from Philadelphia": "On another copy of the story he noted: 'Used by Lucien in '44 as a term paper in Composition.'" At the university from which I retired, that practice would be considered academic dishonesty (cheating), and earn an F on the paper if not the course!
Since this is essential Kerouac, as usual I have provided a link below should you decide to add it to your collection.
Below is a picture of Shelf #1 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (2nd item from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: On the Road: The Original Scroll by Jack Kerouac.
|Shelf #1 of my Kerouac bookshelf|