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Editions and Compilations

As well as being a prolific author in his own right, Ronald Duncan compiled, edited, translated, and published the work of other authors during his career.

His literary editions of works by a single author, often authors of some significance to him, included 'Selected Lyrics and Satires of John Wilmot 2nd Earl of Rochester’, ‘Selected Poems of Ben Jonson’, and ‘The Writings of Gandhi’ (which appeared in a number of editions and printings).

His first major foray into compiling multi-author publications came in the form of ‘Townsman’, a quarterly journal that ran from 1938-1945 and was latterly known as ‘The Scythe’. The journal carried contributions from prominent cultural figures such as Ezra Pound, E. E. Cummings, T. S. Eliott, Gerald Brenan, and Constantin Brancusi. Later in life, Duncan co-edited ‘The Encyclopaedia of Ignorance’, a well-thought-of book in the popular science genre that presented the views of leading scientists on some of the most important unanswered questions of the time. Finally, with Colin Wilson acting as editor after Duncan's death, the posthumous collection of essays ‘Marx Refuted’ drew contributions from figures including Karl Popper, Charles Bukowski, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and Margaret Thatcher.

Duncan also produced translations or adaptations of literary or theatrical works, sometimes being commissioned by the authors to do so. Examples include ‘The Eagle Has Two Heads’, adapted from Jean Cocteau’s ‘L'Aigle à Deux Têtes’, ‘Diary of a Film’ from Cocteau’s ‘La Belle et la Bête: Journal d’un Film’, and ‘The Trojan Women’ freely translated from Jean-Paul Sartre’s ‘Les Troyennes’.