Well that’s annoying…

Midsummer Night’s Dream notes- feel free to skip

I have, currently in my possesion, three copies of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare Illustrated by Arthur Rackham. You’d think that one of them would be the right copy to bind… but no, I’m going to have to scan two of the three copies and take the illustrations (in text) from one and combine them with the text from the other. Which means scanning pratically every bloody page in both books. Thank goodness it’s not a very long play!

Here’s the run down:
Copy 1: William Heinemann/Doubleday Page 1914

    This is the copy with the illustrations I want. The 50 colour plates are easy- remove, remount on whatever paper I like, tissue guards go with. The in-text illustrations, however, will have to be scanned, placed into the other text and printed. (Difficult as my printer is old, acting up etc.)

Copy 2: Abaris 1977

    This is the text I want. Calligraphed by Graily Hewitt, it is a reproduction of a manuscript in the New York Library’s Spencer collection. Also illustrated by Arthur Rackham but with different illustrations! The plates are different, the in-text illustrations are different and even his style had changed a bit by this time. And, to a one, the older illustrations are better although I will take the color plates and bind them in at the back… which, by the way, gives me my paper size (large- oversized) unless I want to either fold them (eww) or exclude them (possibly) or scan and reprint them.

Copy 3: Easton Press 1993

    This copy is leather bound- red with gold- and supposedly has Rackham illustrations. Ah, no. Reading carefully, the illustrations are ‘from’ watercolours by Arthur Rackham. Which means that some random artist took Rackham’s pictures and redid them… they’re almost the same but not enough to enfringe on copyright. Really, Easton? Side by side with the Rackhams it’s very obvious he didn’t paint these! That’s horrible! (The paintings themselves are not horrible- they’re pretty decent- but they aren’t Arthur Rackham’s masterpieces.) Plus, they used the fake Olde Englishe Spellinge with all the extraneous E’s. Get real, Easton- some of us can tell when it’s the original spelling and when it’s done for effect. This further solidifies my conviction that you have to be very very careful with Easton press books… some of them are just not what they should be. Anybody want to buy a nice leather bound copy of A Midsummer Night’s Dream?

The pictures are the “same” picture from each of the editions!

So damn- this is going to be a lot more project than I thought (isn’t it always the way?) and the first thing I need is a better scanner/printer!

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