Renascent Books


What do we mean by Facsimiles?

The dictionary definition of a facsimile is “an exact copy, especially of printed or written material.” Our facsimile publications fit that definition precisely. That is, we aim not merely to reproduce venerable texts that were originally printed in the sixteenth century (1500-1599) in modern editions, but to faithfully recreate the pages just as they appeared and were read by our forebears centuries ago. To this end, although the books are newly typeset using modern digital technology, the typography is exactly as the originals.

That is, every page has the same number of lines, each line has the same number of words and the words are printed in the same typefaces, especially created by us to mimic the fonts used in the originals. The language style in which these books were first printed is EARLY MODERN ENGLISH and all spellings are as the original. All typographical features such as the use of multiple fonts, aggressive hyphenation, abbreviations and diacritical marks are meticulously reproduced. Diagrams and illustrations, if they occur, are redrawn and where this is not possible, illustrations from the originals are copied and digitally cleaned to remove blemishes. As closely as possible we aim to reproduce pages that are virtually indistinguishable from the centuries-old typography, set by compositors assembling metal type line-by-line in wooden frames, and laboriously printed by pressmen on manually operated wooden presses.

The only things we do not faithfully reproduce are the mould spots, insect damage, ink leaching, fading, rents and tears, which the passage of time has sadly inflicted on the originals. Our books are definitely NOT modern reprints reproduced by photographic means and which therefore replicate all the wear and tear found in the originals. Nor are they reproduced by OCR scanning, which is worse than useless with such old material. Regrettably, such reproductions are rife in online bookshops and give purchasers a very poor reading experience.

In contrast, our books feature crystal-clear text, tables, diagrams and illustrations, all printed on good quality white paper. Of course we cannot reproduce the sumptuous leather or parchment covers in which many of these early books were first bound. It would be prohibitively expensive to do so, but between the covers of our inexpensive paperback editions will be found all the attributes of the printed pages as described above.

All books include introductory notes giving information about the author, the book's history and  several pages of help in understanding the typographical conventions found therein.

All our EARLY MODERN ENGLISH books are of great historical interest and cultural importance. Today they are found only in the world’s great libraries, known only to librarians and scholars, or they are in the hands of private collectors. Sadly most bibliophiles, and certainly the general public, have long ago lost sight of them. Happily, they can be found again in our Catalogue.

Copyright © TGR Renascent Books 2009  - [renascent adj. Coming into being again - Latin renasci, to be born again] (OED)