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The Kelmscott Chaucer is the greatest and most influential book never to have been read. This apparent paradox is due to two factors. First, its appearance, the density of type and illustration, the interwoven magnificence of the page, are so overwhelming that the would-be reader is simply defeated by its wealth. The eye, invited to admire so much visual magnificence, is absorbed by it and strays away for the actual text. Secondly, the book was originally expensive and is now even more so; those who turn its pages do so with care lest they mar its clean white pages or strain its elegant binding. Its creator, William Morris, would have been mystified and annoyed by these reactions. To him, the creation of a book in which text, decoration, and illustration were a single whole, none of whose parts could be separated from each other, was a tribute to the text, the greatest tribute that could be paid to it.
No greater tribute to the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages, Geoffrey Chaucer, could be paid than to give his works the finest possible form. The Kelmscott Chaucer was widely hailed as a masterpiece when it appeared on June 16, 1896, and rapidly sold out. It is not the least of the abiding results of Morris’s life and work to set the standard by which the quality of book production is measured. Still more important is the respect due to a great book, and if all the Kelmscott Chaucers, scattered about the world, have a purpose today it is to encourage such respect. Worldly wisdom may require most of them to be preserved from the hands that Morris would have wished to turn their pages; that they can now do so in electronic form is surely a fate that he would have applauded.
Commentary by Nicolas Barker, 2-CD set.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Imaged from the collection of the Bridwell LibraryFrom Library Journal:
We didn't think it possible, but Octavo has surpassed its previous excellent efforts once again. Here on CD-ROM is the Kelmscott Chaucer, published by Kelmscott Press in London in 1896 and designed by William Morris. Octavo publicity for the disc begins, "The Kelmscott Chaucer is the greatest and most influential book never to have been read," and explains this is because of the book's original expense and the overwhelming quality of the volume's magnificence, displaying Chaucer's text amidst Morris's designs and Edward Burne-Jones's illustrations. The volume may be slightly less overwhelming in this format (since examining it in detail takes a little time), but it is certainly more accessible for purchase and use. This electronic reproduction is made from one of the first two copies printed, which belonged to Burne-Jones himself. Bottom Line: Octavo's utterly faithful-to-the-original work transcends what we thought an electronic image could achieve: you will feel the high-rag texture of the exquisite paper and smell the ink on this one. Highly recommended for electronic collections, library and personal.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description London: The Kelmscott Press (Oakland: Octavo) 1896; 1998, 1896. No Binding. Condition: New. 1st Edition. New copy, direct from publisher. Digital facsimile (in electronic PDF format on 2 CD-ROM discs) of a magnificent copy of the finest printed work of William Morris's Kelmscott Press, the Kelmscott Chaucer, which features illustrations by the celebrated Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones. This Octavo Edition--photographed from Burne-Jones's own copy, one of the first two produced, with a special pigskin binding designed by Morris and executed by Douglas Cockerell, from the collection of Bridwell Library--contains detailed digital images (may be magnified at up to 300% of original size) of every page of the original edition (photographed as if the actual book were open before the viewer) as well as a new introduction by Nicolas Barker, detailed bibliographical information, and reproductions of unique items preserved with this copy. "Octavo's utterly faithful-to-the-original work transcends what we thought an electronic image could achieve: you will feel the high-rag texture of the exquisite paper and smell the ink on this one."--Library Journal. Seller Inventory # 8VCHWN01
Book Description Octavo, 1998. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1891788191
Book Description Octavo, 1998. CD-ROM. Condition: New. 1. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory # 1891788191n