Any other equivalents to 'Library of America'?
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I wonder if anyone knows of any other country that has an equivalent to the 'Library of America'?
I would be delighted to see a 'Library of Scotland' or a 'Library of Ireland' with similarly well presented volumes from the literary history of these nations.
Might be worth an email to Alex Salmond and Brian Cowen!
I think Folio has the Isles covered. You should think about becoming a member with them.... Uh, oh, is that eggs and tomatoes I see coming at me? All in fun LesMis.... :)
Water off a duck's back :-)
But in all sincerity, they are quite poor in representing Scottish authors with the exception of Stevenson.
Sir Walter Scott has only seen 3 works published: and that, from without question, one of the biggest authors of his period, admired across the literary landscape by both peers and public.
Imagine if Scott was American: would he be given the cold shoulder by LOA?
Seriously, are LOA volumes available in bookstores down under? Hopefully pricing is much more affordable.
No, but they charge me the same as Americans when they sell them to me!!!!!!!!!!!!
LOA was initially modeled on (or at least derived from the idea of) the French collection called Pleiades, which are still being published by Gallimard. One major difference, though, is that Pleiades includes a number of non-French classics in French translation -- it is not limited to French literature. They also tend to have one major work per volume, rather than the multiple works that LOA manages -- and the volumes (I think) are significantluy more expensive (or at least more expensive per work).
This isn't pertinent to the original question, but doesn't the design of LOA volumes owe something to Edmund Wilson?
Answered my own question:
Throughout his career as America's greatest man of letters, Wilson witnessed the development of the American canon, the process by which readers and critics determine which books deserve to become an integral part of our common heritage. He contributed his own expert reconsiderations of Poe, Twain, Whitman, and Henry James, among others. More important, he trumpeted the new masters: Stein, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald. What the nation lacked, he lamented in the '60s (in the MLA piece and elsewhere), were inexpensive, compact editions of these important writers, a series, in other words, like the French Pl?iade. His complaint, motivating others, was the catalyst that led to the launch of the Library of America.
I have roughly a dozen or so Bibliothèque de la Pléiade.
(these aren't mine, but this is what they look like)
There are a few multiple volumes, in the link to the picture above, the companion volume to Shakespeare would have a small double-dash Roman Numeral 2 just above the bottom.
The gilding is nice but is prone to rubbing off, and the soft leather has a tendency to crease since it is pliable, not firm, board underneath. Usually, there are two ribbon book marks in each volume.
They are more expensive than LOA's, and--even if you flatten out the exchange rate--run in the neighborhood of 80 dollars a pop. Most the Parisian book vendors on the quay sell them (used of course), but those aren't cheap either. Binding-wise, overall value, and general feel, LOA is the better product. However, Pléiades do have an elegance...
They usually come in a slipcase. Here are some pictures of those:
They publish more than just French authors. I don't find the translations very good. Though it's amusing to look at Shakespeare or Defoe in French because it's apparent how much (inevitably) is compromised in a translation.
There are no Penguins, Oxfords, Everyman or Norton, therefore the multiple translations or publishers of the same titles we are so fortunate to have as English speakers /readers just doesn't exist there. You may walk into a French book store and find as many--if not more--books in English as in French. I know most French people speak and read English, but it's strange nonetheless.
Anyone with something to prove, like a claim to statehood or cultural tradition, has one (or more) of those "national" collections. I doubt you'll be interested, but Estonia has a similar project, and Croatia has been publishing a luxe "Five centuries of Croatian literature" since 1950.
If anything, I'd say they are more common than fleas. Certainly more common than an interest in other people's literatures.
Another set of books within a genre are the Loeb editions.
I have a number of them and they are very useful if your Latin and Greek are a bit rusty. One problem with them, however, is that the English translation can be quite old. The translation of St Augustine's Confessions, for instance is by W Watts and was made in 1631.
The translations though are usually far more accurate than 'popular' editions. take Suetonius' Twelve Caesars for instance; Rolfe does a laudable effort for LOEB, but Graves in his Penguin Translation fills the whole work with conjecture.
When a good portion of your audience is reading the Greek or Latin, you can't be too free with the English.
>14 Maybe the newer editions are more accurate but the older Loebs are notorious for their bowdlerized translations.
Thanks for bringing up the Loebs. I have a single volume that I picked up a few years back. I was a Latin student through high school and Classical Studies was one of my majors in College. However, due to neglect, I have forgotten my of my vocabulary and basic skills. I resent the notion of letting nearly a decade of the language waste away, so I picked up Volume 1 of Caesar (an approachable text) to "relearn" the language with at least a basic proficiency. Great little books; I would like to pick up some more of the basic volumes.
An interesting discussion might be on ways to brush up on languages we once learned and since forgot. I have the same experience with my Greek and I know some Greek is much more accessible than others.
>16 Actually, Loeb has been taking some pains in the last few years to provide new translations or revisions to older translations, with the expressed mission to un-bowdlerize many of the texts. (See http://www.hup.harvard.edu/features/loeb/translations.html).
I have been feeling rather bad.
My previous contribution to this thread (#13) sounds, to me, as if I were being rather dismissive of the Loeb translations. One of the pleasures of the older versions is the sense of the deep knowledge and scholarship of our forebears.
Proof of their enduring usefulness is the fact that they seem to keep their value on the second-hand market.
As for the 'naughty' bits, every schoolboy (and girl, perhaps) is grateful that they have been so clearly marked...
I just finished 84 Charing Cross Road and Helen wanted some of the Loeb translations. If it had not been for this thread, I would not have known what that was. I love LT!
If you haven't read 84 Charing Cross Road - you should.
One of the great romantic epistolaries of American Lit. I read it about 30 years ago. I cried at the end.
There's also a charming 1987 movie (same title: "84 Charing Cross Road") based on the book (actually, based on a play that is based on the book) starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins (if it's permissible to mention movies in a site about books -- but LOA does contain three volumes of film criticism, after all (one anthology, plus Farber plus Agee)).
Oh, you people make me spend more money. Infuriating!
84 Charing Cross Road - dvd (I only watch the movie after I read the book - mostly)
OK, need to add a little more to get free shipping:
The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them from my wishlist
And and tad bit more. Blast Amazon and their "suggestions":
Travels in Siberia
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