Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ruskin Editions

Oh, by the way – this comment came over the transom last post, courtesy of someone with the wonderful handle of "Epaphroditus Bainton" (don't I recognize that name from William Byrd II?):
I'm looking for good editions of Ruskin. Do you have any advice on the best ways to get at this material (especially Fors Clavigera)? There's the reprints-on-demand on Amazon, but I'm wary of forking out 35-50 bucks for what might be a cheesy reprint.
I've probably blogged this before, but there's no harm in promoting JR. For starters, there're a couple of good selections out there:
Selected Writings, ed. Dinah Birch (Oxford World's Classics) is a fine all-round introduction
Unto This Last and Selected Writings, ed. Clive Wilmer (Penguin) is good on the political stuff
And there's millions of used copies of John Rosenberg's great The Genius of John Ruskin floating around.

But the big news is this: Cambridge University Press has released a print-on-demand paperback reprint of the entire Library Edition, the gold standard of Ruskin editing. You can buy the whole thing for $1750 (oof!), or settle for single volumes at between $43 & $50. Now I don't like the quality of CUP's POD things very much (that is, the bindings); but I suspect they're better than some of the other reprints I've seen floating around, & one would be assured that one was getting the very best in terms of the text itself – and it's been a long time since I've seen an original of the Library Edition going for anywhere near as – er – affordable.

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