Wilkie Collins. The Moonstone

Wilkie Collins. The Moonstone. Armed Services Edition [M-29]. UVa

Turning Mountains Back Into Molehills: ASE Abridgements

MOST ASE's WERE COMPLETE and unabridged reprints of their original texts, and carried the proud screamer: "THIS IS THE COMPLETE BOOK-NOT A DlGEST."

But some books needed for the project were just too long to fit into the 512-page limit imposed by the special magazine presses on which ASE's were printed; about 90 of the 1,322 ASE titles were abridged to fit within the 512-page maximum.

The Council hired free-lance editors to trim lengthy books like Forever Amber, The Moonstone, and Look Homeward, Angel down to the maximum-possible ASE size, 512 pages. The results were described as "CONDENSED FOR WARTIME READING."

Kathleen Winsor. Forever Amber

Kathleen Winsor. Forever Amber. Armed Services Edition [T-39]. UVa

Thomas Wolfe. Look Homeward, Angel

Thomas Wolfe. Look Homeward, Angel. Armed Services Edition [O-31]. UVa

Francis Hackett. Henry the Eighth

Francis Hackett. Henry the Eighth. Armed Services Edition [S-37]. UVa

In the case of Henry the Eighth and Boston Adventure, the authors themselves shortened their books.

Jean Stafford. Boston Adventure

Jean Stafford. Boston Adventure. Armed Services Edition [S-40]. UVa

Wallace Stegner. Letter to John Y. Cole

Wallace Stegner. Letter to John Y. Cole, December 1982. Photocopy

In a 1982 letter, Wallace Stegner recalls his humorous adventures in cutting large chunks of text from his novel, The Big Rock Candy Mountain.

Wallace Stegner. The Big Rock Candy Mountain

Wallace Stegner. The Big Rock Candy Mountain. Armed Services Edition [N-32]. UVa