A multi-volume biography of Charles Dickens on the Des Moines episode of Antiques Roadshow was my introduction to extra-illustrated editions. The hosts explained the Victorian-era trend of adding items to published books (prints, letters, maps, etc). Books were printed with blank pages to hold the extra pieces, and examples like theirs had been rebound to contain all the added material.
Doing a little research, I found a couple of great explanations of the history of extra-illustration:
The Folger Shakespeare Library hosted an exhibition of extra-illustrated books in 2010, and has an excellent overview of the topic on their website.
The Huntington has a nice video showing how to inlay a print into a book and another displaying pages from their 60-volume extra-illustrated bible containing more than 30,000 added items.
Oh how delicious—a book expanded to hold all the tangents the reader could find. Like hypertext 150 years before hypertext. I wanted to see one. I wanted to make one. And the Master & Margarita & Me project was just waiting for me to make one.
And wouldn’t it be more fun to share the experience?
I was an architecture major in college, and was intrigued/jealous of my friends taking print classes. They would have print exchanges at the end of the semester, bringing in an edition of, say, 15 prints, and trade one with everyone in the class, ending up with a portfolio of unique prints. Sharing their work, receiving back examples of all their classmates art. (Here’s a version that explains the idea.)
So, put 2 and 2 together, and you end up with the INFINITELY EXPANDABLE EXTRA-ILLUSTRATION EXCHANGE.
Starting this month with Master & Margarita, we will be hosting a recurring online version of a book club/extra-illustrated/print swap. Two or three times a year, I will announce the next book, along with the due date and any specific directions. According to the OED (by way of the Folger article), prior to the early 1800s the word illustration meant “an elucidation” rather than specifically a picture. In that spirit, works in ANY text or image medium are welcome (photos, drawings, prints, poems, essays, rants, scribbles). Any and all material emailed to me by the due date will be compiled into a pdf and sent to the participants.
Keep an eye out for the first IEEIE instructions and news tomorrow!