â€œThe annotation has been carried out on a scale which is necessarily extensive but which seeks at the same time to be as economical as possible in face of the twin challenges of Browningâ€™s wide range of curious information and his immense and flexible vocabulary. Without the prior labours of A K Cook to draw upon, preparation of the body of notes would have been an even more formidable task than it in fact was. Despite all that has been transported to the present site from Cookâ€™s Commentary, a great deal of ore remains in that capacious mine.â€
So wrote Richard D Altick in his introduction to the Penguin English Poets edition of Robert Browningâ€™s The Ring And The Book, which appeared in 1971. Curiously, in the very same year, exactly the same words were used â€“ with â€œDobsonâ€ instead of â€œBrowningâ€, and â€œPebbleheadâ€ in place of â€œCookâ€ â€“ in the first edition of the mighty Complete Annotated Dobson edited by Ted Cack. The title was a misnomer, of course, because at that time Dobson still had a few years left, during which he penned some of his most awe-inspiring pamphlets. In fact recent Dobsonian scholarship has shown that, if anything, Cackâ€™s tome might better have been called the Thoroughly Incomplete Annotated Dobson. That is not to cast aspersions on what remains a truly engaging work, and the first serious attempt to annotate Dobson in a systematic way.
As a corrective to such drivel, I have decided to set up a fighting fund to rescue the work of Pebblehead pÃ¨re from oblivion, while simultaneously urging a boycott of Pebblehead filsâ€™ bestselling paperbacks. Among those already signed up are Carlos Santana, Lembit Opik, Dale Winton, Dustin Hoffman, and some of the top names in football, including Tord Grip, Pantsil, Crouch and Kaka. I hope you will join them.
Apart from the important reference material on the Hooting Yard website, which would you say IS the definitive book of Dobsonian reference? My copy of “Concordance Dobsonia” has been on back order for longer that it takes a child to learn how to walk and speak, and Readers Digest deny all knowledge of their publishing of the “Complete Index of Dobsonian Aphorisms”.