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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: May ::
Extant Copies of the Q1609 Sonnets
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0309  Wednesday, 21 May 2008

From:		Carter Hailey <
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Date:		Tuesday, 20 May 2008 20:53:30 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:	Extant Copies of the Q1609 Sonnets

If a fresh collation of the thirteen known copies of the 1609 Sonnets is 
thought desirable, the most reliable and potential useful procedure 
would be to use a high-resolution digital facsimile of one copy as a 
control which, displayed on a laptop computer screen, should then be 
collated against all physical copies using either the McLeod or Hailey's 
COMET portable optical collator. (I will immodestly claim that the 
latter is more easily adaptable to this procedure.) Facsimiles should 
not be multiplied beyond necessity.

I would be happy to undertake the collations myself, though dependent on 
time, tide, and funding to visit all the necessary repositories. But 
unfortunately, as far as I can tell, there are actually only two 
facsimiles available online which were produced by direct digital 
photography, The Bodleian: Malone 34 and the The British Library: 
Greville 11181, (both in The Rare Books Room collection). Neither can be 
used for optical collation because the only available display sizes are: 
minute and gigantic. For optical collation one wants a digital facsimile 
that can be sized fairly close to the original (though for technical 
reasons too time-consuming to go in to, close good enough). If someone 
knows how technically to accomplish this with these facsimiles, please 
let me know.

The facsimile of the Huntington (Aspley) copy is actually a digital 
facsimile of an early photo-facsimile:

"Shakespeare's sonnets; reproduced in facsimile by the new process of 
photo-zincography in use at Her Majesty's Ordnance Survey Office. 
London, L. Reeve, 1862."

And I don't think a digital facsimile of the Folger copy is in fact 
available online, though eventually it will be; the link WS provided was 
actually to some of the explanatory material from Hardy's Sonnets 
edition, co-edited with Ian Lancashire.

It would be possible of course to use either of the EEBO copies: the 
Folger (Wright) or the Huntington (Aspley). But here again one is at 
several removes from the artifacts, and with a undertaking of this 
potential significance--ideally of any such undertaking--we should 
eliminate as many intermediaries as possible.

So, get me a good, scalable digital facsimile, and I'm on the job.

Cheers,
Carter Hailey

[Editor's Note: The Octavo copies that are online, in general, are lower 
resolution images than those Octavo actually photographed. The reason is 
commercial. Specifically, three of the Shakespeare photographic 
facsimiles at the Rare Books site are available for sale by Octavo. The 
images on the CDs that one purchases are considerably better than those 
online. The Benson 1640 POEMS CD has three image files of the book: A 
black-white image, a low-resolution image, and a high-resolution image 
(Archival quality -- up to 1000%). The First Folio image on the CD is 
advertized as up to 200% -- I have gone much higher but the image does 
degrade -- when I purchased my disk, I could go to the Octavo website 
and download files of separate sections (divided by plays) in 
high-resolution images (up to 400% advertized) of the First Folio, but 
the link no longer works, and I could not find anywhere on the website 
information about obtaining the high-resolution images -- I wish that I 
had been obsessive enough to have downloaded all of the high-quality 
images when I had the chance. Now, the Sonnets -- the image of the 
Sonnets is not as good as that of the archival POEMS but it is better 
than the FIRST FOLIO. It is advertized as up to 300% but I have taken it 
up to 800% and higher will some degrading. I am sure that 300% would be 
quite adequate for Carter Hailey's purposes; and since I was given two 
complementary copies, I would be glad to part with one of them for this 
project. If Dr. Hailey is still interested and would e-mail me his 
address, I will get the disk off to him in the mail. Incidentally, 
without looking it up, the Folger Library's Wright imprint is defective 
-- I cannot remember all of the details, but I seem to recall that the 
pages were cropped and some information was lost, and I also believe 
that there may have a few pages that were facsimiles and not originals. 
-Hardy]

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