The name-dropping game

An eagle-eyed well-wisher has contacted us with the following contribution.

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”Quite often the secondary, and even the primary, purpose of the Dedication or Acknowledgments section in a book is, by dropping ‘names’, to lend a spurious authority to the work, perhaps beyond its merits. Jim Perrin is no exception to this common practice, but he takes it to a different level.

It is known that one book dedication, at least, was made by Perrin without the prior knowledge, still less the permission, of the distinguished named person* (a grave lapse in etiquette, but cunning, particularly as the permission referred to might very well not have been given); also that certain of his acknowledgments are of people not enamoured of him, who are nonetheless now permanently associated with him in print, an insidious form of irreversible literary stalking.

But two examples can freely be mentioned: In his 2013 book Shipton and Tilman, Perrin’s acknowledgements list ‘among the living’ H W Tilman’s niece Pam Davis. Pam Davis died some years before that book went to press, Perrin’s statement thus being a true measure of his acquaintanceship with her.

In the same book Jim Curran’s help is acknowledged. Readers of Jac’s sisters’ site may recall that Perrin was taken to court by Jim Curran some years ago for a particularly flagrant libel which threatened to damage the plaintiff’s professional standing in his field of climbing and documentary film-making. The case was settled on the steps of the court, at great expense to Perrin’s publishers’ insurers, when the Perrin camp was presented with incontrovertible evidence that he, Perrin, was guilty of attempted ‘jury-nobbling’ in the selection of a former winner of the Boardman Tasker book prize—an offence of which Perrin had, with demonstrably false evidence, accused Jim Curran, in a desperate and despicable attempt to forestall the legal action.

Finally, may I draw attention, in the same book, to the inordinate number of acknowledged persons of merit who have, perhaps conveniently, ‘passed on’?”

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We thank our correspondent for the above, and remind readers of our 5-part story Jim Curran vs Jim Perrin, which relates the above case in detail.

* Later note from Jac’s sisters — The ‘distinguished named person’ to whom the writer of this post refers was Professor Gwyn Thomas, a renowned author and academic, and a former Poet of Wales, who translated into English The Mabinogion. (1936-2016)