Der Edelstein

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Boner, Ulrich
Fouquet-Plümacher, Doris
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This book was my bible for a month in the summer of 2009 as I prepared a paper for the Renard Society on Boner's Der Edelstein. Actually, I had scanned the facsimile into my computer before I left. Then in Mannheim I worked through about three fables and their illustrations per day. This is a beautifully made book! The original was published by Albrecht Pfister in Bamberg. Maybe the best testimony I can give to the quality of these reproductions is that I made my own set from the scans of this facsimile but also ordered a set from the library that has the world's only known copy of this book, the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel. The scans of the reproductions were better than the pictures of the original! This is the first illustrated book ever printed, and it may be the first book ever published in German. For me the great quality of this book is its illustrations and especially their coloring. Exquisitely done! Commentators note that the woodcut maker is not particularly adept at animals; it is often hard to decipher from a woodcut which animal is being pictured. But his humans are excellent! They are often pictured from the back. The colorist's great gift is shading within a specific color. As I mentioned in my Renard paper given in Utrecht, this is an unusual book: it has no title-page, no page numbers, no sentence punctuation, no end stops for its poetry, and no titles for its fables. The woodcuts serve as the great markers. There is a raised dot for the end of each line of verse and -- when the rubricator remembers - a line through the first letter of the new line following. There is a companion volume, which I will list separately. Together the two books make up a boxed set. See Bodemann #1.1. There is a second, distinct edition a few years later with new woodcuts, and there is also only one copy of that edition, in Berlin.
Müller and Schindler
Original: Albrecht Pfister; Reproduction: Verlag Müller und Schindler/Buchdruckerei Holzer
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