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A Must-Read, 2nd ed.

I now own the second edition of A Dictionary of Stylistics! It was an excellent birthday gift and now I can return the library copy of the edition.

When it comes to editions, it is probably almost always best to have the most recent. Three qualifications to that statement: 1) The most recent edition is best unless you are doing a comparison of editions or want to see what the older information was in a previous edition. 2) The most recent edition is best even if an older edition is better (by whatever criteria) simply because the newest edition should have the most current information. 3) Number 2 does not hold in the case of all college textbooks, which can be updated at an annoyingly frequent pace and can also be too expensive.

In regard to printings, however, I'm a bit more ambivalent. I'm not convinced of the necessity to have the first printing of an edition. An amazing professor of mine argued for getting the original printing of a book. The context was fiction, and he was referring to a novel by Patrick Chamoiseau. I suppose in the case of fiction a case could be made.

What do you think? Always update editions? Always go for the first printing?

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