The Typesetters, the Proofreaders, and the Scribes

Very interesting post by WebRover, a volunteer at Distributed Proofreaders.

Hot off the Press

scribeAt Distributed Proofreaders, we are all volunteers. We are under no time pressure to proof a certain number of pages, lines or characters. When we check out a page, we can take our careful time to complete it.

We can choose a character-dense page of mind-numbing lists of soldier’s names, ship’s crews, or index pages. We are free to select character-light pages of poetry, children’s tales or plays. Of course these come with their own challenges such as punctuation, dialogue with matching quotes or stage directions. We can pick technical manuals with footnotes, history with side notes, or  science with Latin biology names. We can switch back and forth to chip away at a tedious book interspersed with pages from a comedy or travelogue.

Every so often though, I stop and think about the original typesetters.

They didn’t get to pick their subject material, their deadline or their quota. They…

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Clever Hans

Fascinating and Free!

Hot off the Press

Clever Hans Clever Hans

Can a horse think like a human?

To many people in the early years of the 20th Century, the answer to that question was “Yes!” After all, thousands had seen von Osten’s Russian trotting horse, Clever Hans, use hoof taps and head nods to solve multiplication and division problems, spell out words, name colours, and answer complex questions from a variety of people, even those who had never worked with him before. Sceptics were quickly convinced that what they were seeing was an animal capable of conceptual thought, limited solely by the lack of the ability to speak from taking his place in human society.

In Clever Hans (The Horse of Mr. von Osten), biologist/psychologist Oskar Pfungst disproved popular opinion regarding that clever horse — and, in so doing, created a landmark study in how to apply the experimental method to human and animal behaviour.

What made…

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A Gentleman of France by Stanley Weyman

A Gentleman of France
Being the Memoirs of Gaston de Bonne Sieur de Marsac
by Stanley Weyman

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FirstChapFirstPara

First Chapter/First Paragraph/Tuesday Intros is hosted by Bibliophile By The Sea. To play along, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you’re reading or thinking about reading soon.

The death of the Prince of Conde, which occurred in the spring of 1588, by depriving me of my only patron, reduced me to such straits that the winter of that year, which saw the King of Navarre come to spend his Christmas at St. Jean d’Angely, saw also the nadir of my fortunes. I did not know at this time–I may confess it to-day without shame–wither to turn for a gold crown or a new scabbard, and neither had nor discerned any hope of employment. The peace lately patched up at Blois between the King of France and the League persuaded many of the Huguenots that their final ruin was at hand; but it could not fill their exhausted treasury or enable them to put fresh troops into the field.

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TeaserTuesdaysADailyRhythm

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jenn of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can participate. If you’re new to Teaser Tuesdays, the details are at Jenn’s A Daily Rhythm or on my Tuesday Memes Page.

I think, as we sat our horses in the rain, the holly-bush not being large enough to shelter us all, we were as sorry a band as ever set out to rescue a lady; nor was it without pain that I looked round and saw myself reduced to command such people. There was scarcely one whole unpatched garment among us, and three of my squires had but a spur apiece.

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From the Stanley J. Weyman site:

Admired by renowned authors such as Stevenson, Wilde, and Rafael Sabatini, Stanley John Weyman is today a forgotten literary giant of the late 19th century. While for years his best-selling historical romances enchanted thousands of readers, today his books are mostly neglected.

One of his most well known novels was A Gentleman of France, which describes the “grand climacteric of a man’s life”.  Forty-year-old M. de Marsac is in the process of losing his finances and gentleman status. He has been forced to groom his own horse by cover of night and faces ridicule because of his tattered appearance when he goes before the court of Henry of Navarre seeking a commission. . . . . A silent film in 1921 was based on the novel.

For lovers of historical novels, A Gentleman of France (1893) is available free at Project Gutenberg in numerous formats. I’ve heard it described as The Three Musketeers without the tedious bits.

The Octopus by Frank Norris

The Octopus
A Story of California
by Frank Norris

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First Chapter/First Paragraph/Tuesday Intros is hosted by Bibliophile By The Sea. To play along, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you’re reading or thinking about reading soon.

Just after passing Caraher’s saloon, on the County Road that ran south from Bonneville, and that divided the Broderson ranch from that of Los Muertos, Presley was suddenly aware of the faint and prolonged blowing of a steam whistle that he knew must come from the railroad shops near the depot at Bonneville. In starting out from the ranch house that morning, he had forgotten his watch, and was now perplexed to know whether the whistle was blowing for twelve or for one o’clock. He hoped the former. Early that morning he had decided to make a long excursion through the neighbouring country, partly on foot and partly on his bicycle, and now noon was come already, and as yet he had hardly started. As he was leaving the house after breakfast, Mrs. Derrick had asked him to go for the mail at Bonneville, and he had not been able to refuse.

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TeaserTuesdaysADailyRhythm

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jenn of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can participate. If you’re new to Teaser Tuesdays, the details are at Jenn’s A Daily Rhythm or on my Tuesday Memes Page.

When Presley reached Annixter’s ranch house, he found young Annixter himself stretched in his hammock behind the mosquito-bar on the front porch, reading “David Copperfield,” and gorging himself with dried prunes.

Annixter–after the two had exchanged greetings–complained of terrific colics all the preceding night.

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The Octopus is the current group read (through January 2) at the 19th Century Literature group. It is available in numerous formats from Project Gutenberg and in audio from LibriVox. Visit Becky’s Books for extras (historical information and related photos).

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What are you currently reading?

December 1 in Literary History: Project Gutenberg Launched

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1971 – Project Gutenberg!

Interesting Literature

The most significant events in the history of books on the 1st of December

1723: Susanna Centlivre dies. She was a popular playwright during the early eighteenth century, working closely with the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Her belated Restoration comedy, The Basset Table (1705), is probably her most famous play, although A Bold Stroke for a Wife (1718) has remained well-known too.

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SWYK! (Share What You Know) – Free eBooks

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SWYK! (Share What You Know) is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. This meme asks you to share 3 tips on one of the topics below, OR 3 tips on a different topic that you know well and feel others would benefit from!

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One of the topics this week is Where to find eBooks online. I’ll be mentioning sites for free eBooks, most of which are in public domain. What a boon for lovers of classic literature.

The first place I always check is Project Gutenberg. I even use their recent additions page as my home page. The main link is for the United States site. If you are in another country, you can check here for further information. Project Gutenberg books are no longer limited to plain text, but are available in a variety of formats to fit any reader or mobile device.

The Online Books Page headed by John Mark Ockerbloom is a resource I check frequently. Mary Mark Ockerbloom brings us A Celebration of Women Writers.

A third option is ManyBooks.

There are too many more to list, but this highlights the largest and user-friendly ones I’ve found.

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Why stop here? As an added bonus, AUDIO BOOKS are available. If you enjoy listening to books, don’t miss exploring LibriVox.

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What are your favorite sites for free eBooks? Do you have any other sites to share with us?

Public Domain Day 2015: Ending our own enclosures

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Thank you to John Mark Ockerbloom and The Online Books Page!

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Everybody's Libraries

It’s the start of the new year, which, as many of my readers know, marks another Public Domain Day, when a year’s worth of creative work becomes free for anyone to use in many countries.

In countries where copyrights have been extended to life plus 70 years, works by people like Piet Mondrian, Edith Durham, Glenn Miller, and Ethel Lina White enter the public domain.  In countries that have resisted ongoing efforts to extend copyrights past life + 50 years, 2015 sees works by people like Flannery O’Connor, E. J. Pratt, Ian Fleming, Rachel Carson, and T. H. White enter the public domain. And in the US, once again no published works enter the public domain due to an ongoing freeze in copyright expirations (though some well-known works might have if we still had the copyright laws in effect when they were…

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Honoré de Balzac – August 18, 1850

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Honoré de Balzac died on this date in 1850.

Victor Hugo’s The Death of Balzac can be read on the collaborative blog La Comedie Humaine. If you are a fan of Balzac’s books, explore the site for other items of interest. If you’re looking for something in particular and can’t find it, leave a comment about it. One of us might know.

I could not name my favorite book by Balzac. A Top Ten list would be possible, although it probably changes from year to year. Le Père Goriot definitely makes any list and is always my sentimental favorite. It was the first Balzac book I read and the one which started me on the journey of reading the complete Comedie Humaine and more.

All of Balzac’s Comedie Humaine, plays and a few more items are available as free eBooks at Project Gutenberg.

Friday Finds – August 1, 2014

Headpiece -FFFriday Finds is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading to showcase books you recently found and added to your TBR (to be read) list. It doesn’t matter whether you found them free online, borrowed them from a library or purchased them. Anything works.

 

My find this week was recommended to me by Wanda. It will be a group read at 19thCenturyLit beginning October 12. Everyone is invited to participate.

Cloister

The Cloister and the Hearth
by Charles Reade

A beautifully illustrated edition can be downloaded free at Project Gutenberg.

Share your Friday Finds with us! Please leave a comment with the link to your own Friday Finds post on MizB’s blog or here. If you don’t have a blog, you may share your finds in a comment here anyway. We’d love to know what you found this week.

 

Friday Finds – July 11, 2014

SnoopyHappy

 

Friday Finds is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading to showcase books you recently found and added to your TBR (to be read) list. It doesn’t matter whether you found them free online, borrowed them from a library or purchased them somewhere. Anything works.

 

This is my first week to participate in Friday Finds. I would like to thank MizB for hosting this and other memes.

I have one this week:

FloodZola

The Flood, a novella by Émile Zola

The Flood can be downloaded free in numerous formats from Project Gutenberg and as an audio book from LibriVox. Published in 1880, the French title is L’Inondation.

 

Share your Friday Finds with us! Please leave a comment with the link to your own Friday Finds post on MizB’s blog or here. If you don’t have a blog, you may share your finds in a comment here anyway. We’d love to know what you found this week.