Charlottesville:: Vriginia Arts of the Book Center,, 2015.. Edition of 55. 8 x 10"; 68 pages. Printed on Mohawk Superfine, softwhite eggshell. Images from first folio Hamlet, British Library C.34.k.1. Numbered. Red cloth over boards with titles in black on front cover. Edition of 55: 5 deluxe leather copies, 45 cloth copies and 5 unbound signatures. Virginia Arts of the Book Center: "In celebration of 20 years as a community of artists exploring books, paper, printmaking, the Virginia Arts of the Book is proud to debut its latest collaborative project, The Bad Quarto. The handbound artist's book is an exploration of the first publication of Shakespeare's Hamlet. "The VABC's creation is a 68-page, cloth-bound production of the play featuring digital and traditional printing methods. No words appear except those that graced the original pages of the 1603 publication (alias Quarto 1 or Q1). "Early scholars disdained this version as one of the 'stol'n and surreptitious copies, maimed and deformed by frauds and stealths of injurious impostors.' Today's scholars are more inclined to regard Q1 as either an early draft of the play or a 'tourbook copy' edited for production by a small company of actors. In creating our own version of The Bad Quarto, we will be visually and textually exploring this controversial artifact." Virginiabookarts.org blog: "When we hold a VABC collaborative project like The Bad Quatro our hands, we see the product of many hands and many hours of creative labor. More than twenty VABC artists spent this spring and summer in meetings, studying the facsimiles of the Q1 text available online from the British Library to understand not just the variations of the text, but the eccentricity of the very copy we were looking at. Marginalia, notes, conventions of seventeenth century printing. "We met with Washington & Lee professor Hank Dobin to talk about how such an early and variant copy of Hamlet might have come into existence. Usually, it's a bibliographic convention to give some primacy to the first published edition. But that wasn't the way it worked for the curious case of the bad quarto. This text likely spent a lot of time away from the Bard, perhaps as a traveling company's version. Many believe it was reconstructed from memory and a few actors' 'sides' and prefer Q2 or the 1623 First Folio. "Then came the planning and design for an artist's book. We made four printing teams that each took a number of signatures and began to work with the following constraints: the only words that could appear on any page had to be from the assigned page in Q1; they could be re-arranged, excerpted, or cut ; we limited the color pallete to red, black, white (or variations of those colors) and then a little silver for panache; facsimile versions of the page could appear (beautifully produced with a digital printer) but other design/traditional methods must appear in the spread. (Inventory #: 21940)
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