Aladore is a classic fantasy novel by Henry Newbolt, first published in 1914. The work was highly influenced by the early fantasy romances of William Morris, filled with archaic language, allegorical elements, and fairy tale like plot progression.
The book is now in the public domain and there are a few digitized copies available for free download. However, all are PDFs of scanned materials with poor quality OCR. They are poorly formatted for reading and load too slowly. The automatically generated e-book formats are completely full of errors.
They both offer a horrible reading experience!
While there are a few more polished e-book editions being sold online, there are no high quality versions available for free. Despite being republished in the 1970’s and 80’s in “forgotten fantasy” type series paperbacks, Aladore is not well known or popular. Two of Newbolt’s more famous poetry collections are available from Project Gutenberg, but it is unlikely that a version of Aladore will be created.
I love reading on my epaper reader. I love reading early fantasy. I love William Morris. So I stumbled across Aladore.
And I wanted to read it!
But, I was so frustrated by the terrible experience of reading cumbersome PDFs or unedited OCR text. If you like reading old books in the public domain, this experience will sound familiar…
So, this blog is about a personal attempt to create a high quality, readable version of the text–to be freely distributed. I hope to test and compare different software options, and reflect on the creation process, to create a simple “open-digital-critical-edition”.
I will explain more about the plans and ideas later!