The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0309 Wednesday, 21 May 2008
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.
[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.
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>
DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.