Differences between OUTLANDER and CROSS STITCH

I have seen some questions recently about the differences between OUTLANDER and CROSS STITCH.  So I thought I'd repost the detailed comparison of the two books that I did in 2009.

For those of you who don't know:

- OUTLANDER was originally published in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand under the title CROSS STITCH.  (Why? Look here.)

- In recent years, since the TV series premiered, the book has been retitled as OUTLANDER, but the text of the book itself has not changed.

- If you're not sure which edition you have, look at the very beginning of the book. If it says "Inverness, 1946", rather than "Inverness, 1945", you are looking at CROSS STITCH, even if the cover says OUTLANDER.

- None of the other books have differences in the text between the US and UK versions.

As Diana Gabaldon explained on Compuserve in 2009:
All the _other_ books are identical, between the US and UK editions, but for CROSS STITCH, the editor expressed concern that readers would think Claire was "cold-hearted," if she didn't worry about Frank more--so there are six small insertions (of a sentence or two) in which Claire worries explicitly about Frank. <g> The same editor also asked me to remove the sex scene that ends the "Raiders in the Rocks" chapter, fearing that it might be too graphic for her readership, and asked me to alter another so (and I quote) "it looks as though they're having _normal_ sex." <ahem> After this request, she added deprecatingly, "Of course we all _do_ that, but we don't like to admit that we do."

Rather to my surprise, when I set out to compare the two books, I found more discrepancies than just the ones Diana mentioned. Most of the differences are very minor, some of them are just baffling, and a few might surprise you!

The discussion of the differences between the two books from the old Compuserve Books and Writers Community (now TheLitForum.com) from 2009 is archived here. Not all of it is available, but it's worth a look anyway. Diana Gabaldon commented frequently in that thread.

Please note: this isn't intended to be a word-for-word comparison of the two books! I only noted those differences that jumped out at me during the reading of CROSS STITCH, and I'm sure I missed a few.



JustHeather said...

Thanks for re-sharing these differences in CS and Outlander. I didn't see them the first time around and it was great to read them. From what you have said, I like Outlander better too!"

Anonymous said...

Another good source discussing the differences between Outlander and Cross Stitch is in The Outlandish Companion (Through the Stones in the UK.)


Pat said...

Thanks for this again Karen. Having read Cross Stitch first and frequently, and come to Outlander later (and now on audio) I see it slightly differently. There are some strange things, like missing scenes, but a lot of the small alterations make sense - 1946 is better as the war didn't end until August 1945 , flourescent light (in Wentworth in 1946 - no idea when it was invented but certainly not in common use til the 60s) is changed to electric light in Cross Stitch. (I hadn't noticed this when I read Outlander but it jarred recently when I heard it on the audio version)
A lot of the plant and wildlife are not native to Scotland or indeed Europe so the editor has changed them to something (usually)appropriate which is.
I may be wrong here but I suspect a lot of the 'errors' are due to Diana not expecting the book to be published and certainly not to be scrutinised by people in a country she was writing about but had never visited. It probably didn't seem necessary to check all the flora and fauna.
I don't notice the same errors (except a few geographical ones - Diana admits her geography is awful - and the use of Buckingham Palace as the King's residence in Scottish Prisoner) in the later books and of course once the action moves to the US I can believe anything!
Interesting topic and thanks again for bringing it up while I'm listening to Outlander!

Unknown said...

Where is the original story where Clare travels back through the stones when Jamie goes off to fight at Culloden??? Hence there is no travelling to France, not in the original story. The 2nd sequel book begins with Claire going back through the stones 20 years later. I can't find the original storyline mentioned at all, only a few differences here and there??!!

BarbaraElizabeth said...

And after reading Outlander and picking up Cross Stitch, I see, In the Reckonings chapter in Outlander, Jamie raises his sandy eyebrows, while in Cross Stitch, he raises his coppery eyebrows (Coppery makes a lot more sense for a ginger, yes?)

Unknown said...

Is there any change on the other books or just Outlander?

Oncothorax said...

Thanks ! I finally have got an explanation. I read the books in this french translation (by Philippe Safavi) and because I fould it often clumsy, or heavy, I tried to read the english version. I bought an english book (Arrow books, penguin edition) and when I re read the chapter "raiders in the rocks", I couldn't find this really hot scene between Claire and Jamie, having sex just after the battle. I compare my 2 versions, and they are 2 pages missing. The english editors are more prudish than the americans ? It surprised me.

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