AW: AW: Tough Guide: warning

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Mon Nov 15 11:03:51 EST 2004


Philip wrote in reply to mine:

>> (The altered illustrations)
>>>Oh, no!  Half the fun of Tough guide is encountering an unexpected
>>>illustration and thinking "Where on Earth did she find _that_?"
>>>(Possibly my only complaint is that the sources weren't acknowledged)
>> I think that was because they were not known, as it were.  There are
>> books of Victorian and Edwardian illustrations that are no longer in
>> copyright, for people to use as filler illustrations, and I think
>> they all came from one of those.
>Oh, I see.  Some of them have quite a long pedigree, though.  The picture of
>a dragon with stunted wings is so similar to one in a book on Somerset
>dragons I got recently that I am convinced that one is copied from the
>other.  ISTR Somerset Dragons acknowledges a 16th century source, but I
>can't check until I get home.

It is said to have come out of something published by Dover, and they are
the reprint people (they did some Trade Paperback reproductions of the
Andrew Lang coloured Fairy Books, for instance, that were utterly true to
the first editions: I have two of the original hardbacks and a complete set
of the Dover reproductions, and checked the ones I already had against the
Dovers), so they may well have picked up illustrations from anywhere they
could find them, I guess.  Maybe the two dragons were both copied from a
common C16 source?

>>>> Some of the marginal symbols are in the wrong places, thus losing the
>>>> point of those as well.
>>>Some of those I thought were silly.  But in the wrong places, they're
>>>_all_ silly.  Gah!
>> Some of them were silly; that was part of the joke, that they should
>> be faintly absurd, as that sort of symbol is in for instance a
>> hotel-guide: the rocking-horse that means "we have a playroom for
>> children", and so on.
>Oh yes, I got that.  It's things like the symbol that accompanies any
>reference to music.  It looks vaguely like that awful stylised lyre that you
>see on cheap music stands and things, but closer examination shows it to be
>a coctail glass.

There's also a trio of quavers, at least in the copy I have there is, and
an obviously cheap guitar with ribbons.

Apparently the American edition missed out the one beside the entry for
"Eunuchs"; the new one does have that in the right place.

>>>Next you'll be telling us that _They_ messed up the gnomic utterances
>>>as well....
>> erm...  Well, they have lost the lovely Illuminated Capitals at the
>> top of each section, and used some ordinary any-computer-has-it sort
>> of ornamental font instead; they have done away with the uncial
>> faux-7th-century font and used one of the less attractive sans-serif
>> standard ones, and they have failed to notice that the majuscule "d"
>> in the original font is the same as a minuscule one ... well, no,
>> because they have given "Doras" a capital initial, but they haven't
>> given "Death" one, in the same Gnomic Utterance, which is just so
>> crass an error that I think the person who made it should be
>> pummelled to death using an organic carrot.  (I am trying to find
>> out who it was who produced this Thing if it wasn't Jo, so that I
>> can take Steps.)
>Hmm.  Yes, those knotwork capitals were fun.

I am particularly fond of the F!

>The font for the utterances
>themselves always struck me as Irish, rather than ancient.

It's very similar to some of the early-ish scripts of which I've seen
examples; I agree that the text in the Tough Guide is probably an Irish
font, as 'twere, and it's just that the two styles of writing, Irish and
English, started from much the same place and went in different directions.
(Since the English went via Bastard Anglicana and Secretary, I feel that
the Irish had the right of it: script seems to get worse and worse and less
and less readily-legible from about 700 onwards, until you end up with
spidery eek-wibble-argh script, apart from things like psalters that were
done a bit more carefully in beautiful Gothic.)

>But Minnow, are you losing touch?  _All_ the majuscules in that font are
>simply larger versions of the minuscules!

Or in the case of the a/A and the r/R and the g/G, the miniscules are
smaller versions of the majuscules?  Yes, I was being careless in
explaining what I meant: sorry.  Either way, Death has a capital initial in
the original (probably on account of being an anthropomorphic
personification) and ought to keep it.

>>>(I have two copies of Tough Guide.  One very battered that I bought
>>>new, and one in quite good condition that I picked up secondhand when I
>>>saw how battered my first edition was.)
>> Guard them with your life.  DWJ herself has no copy of the original,
>> I don't think, because she gave it to her son (for which read, he
>> wanted it so much that he got it); and she didn't even know there
>> had *been* a hardback, because she never saw one.  She thought it
>> came out in paperback only, both sides of the Atlantic.
>Yes, both mine are paperback.  Whoever has a hardback should _definitely_
>guard it with his/her life.

They seem to be selling for as much as fifty quid out there on the
internet.  I'm a bit worried by the illustrator for a Daw Books hardback
being named by one vendor, which to me suggests that they too messed with
the fun and failed to see the point of it, but maybe it's a mistake on the
part of the vendor rather than the publisher...  (I still don't have web
access, but I do Have Friends, one of whom, after I told him why I wanted
to know these things, now seems determined to buy a hardback for DWJ so
that at least she has one herself.  A kind man.)

By the way, I finally got the MA dissertation finished and handed in, and
have immediately started work on the doctorate, but I *will* have time to
think about music again, truly I will...

Minnow


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