56K pre-1600 ghits for inauthor:”Desiderius Erasmus” on Google Books

That’s a pretty big WTF.

I don’t care if they’re exaggerating by factor 100, this is quite extraordinary.

As some of you have gathered, of the various crazed liteary beasts biting each other’s bums on my hard drive the first I’m going to push out onto the arena is a tract dealing with 16th century language learning and proverbs. Since my ear went pop in August, and in sunny intervals between dark clouds of work, access to the great Google god has enable me to read original versions of a considerable number of relevant and irrelevant contemporary sources in a variety of languages and typefaces, as well as a wealth of secondary material, and bang together a first draft. The great revelation for me has been Erasmus – my Latin has improved quite substantially – but every night brings a new marvel – tonight the Aragonese historian, Jerónimo Zurita, and his Italian colleague, Vespasiano da Bisticci, throwing light on the glorious Occitan/Catalan homophonic punning incitement to Cesare-Borgian/Thatcherite all-or-nothingness, “O rei o no res.” I’ve also popped in and out of the local library for copyrighted stuff, but it’s principally been a Google gig so far. So, despite my moans about the loss of utility of Docs and Reader, monstrous thanks to them.

One practical matter: I’m looking for a buxom blonde and brunette (F, to counterpoint the mainly M content) to pose in period dress on the cover. I’ve got lots of useful things to offer in exchange: the Bartsch edition of Das Nibelungenlied, or a yucca shrub tree, for example. I’m going to self-publish, so I’m afraid a share in a $500K advance from Random House is out of the question.

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  1. Good luck, but I fear your joy may be short-lived. You can’t link to searches within the text, and even on full view early modern books you can’t click through from the search results to the page in question. Rather it says “No preview available for this page” and then there’s a link “Buy this book.” I doubt that’s a mistake. Do you think the participating universities read the small print?

  2. So a hint of bastardy here too. Not much liquidity in the Erasmus original edition market, so I guess they’re planning to limit open access in order to sell digital facsimiles on Android. I didn’t think that came into the contracts they signed. Maybe Microsoft or Amazon will ride to our rescue, or maybe Archive.org will suck everything up before they shut down that route. I think funding for Europeana may be rather reduced in the years to come.

  3. I wonder how many facsimile ebooks in Latin they think they’re going to sell. Sounds like a fuckup organised by the accountants.

  4. Strikes me as completely deranged to destroy a clean brand in order to fail to catch up with Facebook, but I’m not an accountant.

  5. You had your free lunch. Despite all the philanthropic bullshit, they and their library/bookstore partners want you to pay for reissues, not read the originals.

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