First editions

He collects first editions of Victorian novels.

  1. Why is the word ‘editions’ used in the plural when ‘edition’ just means ‘the form in which a book is published’?

  2. Why is the article ‘the’ not added before the of-phrase (i.e. THE first editions of Victorian novels)? We should always add ‘the’ before an of-phrase, such as THE legs of the table instead of legs of the table, shouldn’t we?

Thanks in advance.

‘First edition’ is a set phrase here and does not simply mean ‘the form in which the book is published’.
A first edition of a book is the book as it originally sold.
First editions of books are collectors items (especially if they are signed by the author) and are often worth more than later editions of the book.

An article does not always go before what you call an of-phrase. The article is used to denote a specific set of legs, therefore it cannot apply to plurals.
Look at these:
Legs of chairs do not always come in fours.
Replacement handles of drawers in our range are available by mail order.

Thanks B.

But I still do not understand why ‘first editions’ are in the plural when the word ‘books’ already indicate the number of the book, which is more than one book.

Is it correct if the sentence goes ‘He collects first EDITION of Victorian novels’?

The word ‘books’ is not used in the original.
‘First editions’ replaces it to indicate these specific books.

No… because he collects lots of books, that is, lits of first editions.