Saturday, August 29, 2009

radical thought

Probably the most noble thing a publisher can possibly do is provide cheap paperback editions of important texts. All the first editions and Folio press embossed hardbacks in the world are, culturally if not financially, worth less than a single bundle of 1960s Penguin Classics, and the line of low-budget purveyors of enlightenment is a worthy and laudable one. From the Everyman’s Library editions of the 1900s-40s, with their arts & crafts aesthetic, aimed clearly at autodidacts rather than scholars, to the more famous and, recently, highly fetishised Pelicans and Penguins of the 40s-70s, this is a story of profit, no doubt, but also of human emancipation through mass production. ...


Owen Hatherley on Verso's Radical Thinkers: Series 4 in 3:AM Magazine, here.

2 comments:

Cecilieaux said...

Well said! However, does the paradigm hold true today?

Asaf Bartov said...

It holds even truer today! Beyond what the quote says, add "freely available Internet editions of classics that don't economically justify printing". E.g. Project Gutenberg; the Internet Archive.