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  ― liii ―

Textual Introduction

No manuscript of ‘Luke Mivers' Harvest’ has been located. Prior to the present edition Swan's tale has existed in three printed texts: (1) the Sydney Mail serialisation of 1879, (2) the Stawell News serialisation of 1897-98, and (3) the monograph published by the Stawell News in (probably) 1899. From these three the Sydney Mail version has been chosen as copy-text, not only because it was the only one printed in Swan's lifetime but also because any unauthorised changes introduced by later compositors would have resulted in ever further departures from whatever idiosyncracies of accidentals the now lost manuscript may have exhibited.

It seems unlikely either that Swan had access to any of the Sydney Mail's serial proofs or that his manuscript was returned from Sydney to Stawell, thus becoming available to the compositor(s) who set the 1897-98 and 1899 versions. Nevertheless, the possibility had to be entertained. Therefore the 1879 printing was compared with the Stawell News serialisation, using CASE (the Computer Aided Scholarly Editing program developed by Professor Peter Shillingsburg); and a sight collation was done between it and the 1899 monograph.

There are some obvious differences of format between the two serial versions. The Sydney Mail printing, over twenty instalments, is on a broadsheet divided into four columns of type, with each instalment printing complete chapters (two or three, or, in a single instance, one). The Stawell News, on the other hand, using eight columns to a page, presented Swan's tale in thirty-nine instalments of approximately equal length, regardless of chapter divisions, with the result that, on several occasions chapters are split between two instalments. Each instalment of the News serialisation concludes with the parenthetical direction ‘(to be continued)’. While that statement is not to be found in the Sydney Mail, it has nevertheless been incorporated into the present text, to help the modern reader recapture the original experience of encountering Swan's tale as it appeared week by week. The publication date of each instalment is shown in square brackets above the title of the first chapter in each instalment, and in the header of right-hand pages.

Detailed comparison of the two serial texts leads to the conclusion that the later was set from the earlier, with the Stawell compositor(s) endeavouring accurately to reproduce what had appeared in the


  ― liv ―
columns of the Sydney Mail. A number of what are clearly syntactic or spelling errors are repeated, while on other occasions such errors have been emended or dropped letters restored. There are no important changes between the 1879 and the 1897-98 settings.

The same process seems to have continued in 1899. For the monograph edition the text was again reset (in a larger typeface than for the News serialisation), now in double column pages. There are still no major changes from 1879 and 1897-98; again, some errors which had appeared in both earlier versions are repeated, while others which had escaped the eyes of previous compositors are corrected. All such variants from copy-text, being non-authorial, are not reported in this edition; but the full results of the CASE collation have been lodged in the Library of the Australian Defence Force Academy. However, where an obvious error in the 1879 text is corrected in either 1897-98 or 1899, the correction is incorporated in the present text. Where what is patently a mistake persists in all three versions, an emendation has been made on the editor's authority. Details of all departures from copy-text in this edition are entered in the List of Editor's Emendations at the end of the volume. Editorial decisions about compound words which involve end-of-line hyphenations in this printing are also recorded, in a separate, following list.

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