Josh Miller of the "Quid Sit?" blog has purchased the first two works in the Ignatius Critical Editions series and is impressed:
Both King Lear and Frankenstein - the first two releases, followed by Bronte’s Wuthering Heights in the near future - arrived here a couple weeks ago, and I’ve been enjoying them thoroughly. In particular, I’ve identified two reasons why everyone who loves great literature should pay heed to this series:
- Each carries excellent footnotes, guiding the reader through the most intricate and obscure parts of the text. These shine in Lear especially. They’re also fairly straight-forward, avoiding the temptation other editions succumb to of forcing an interpretation upon the reader.
- The critical essays added to each book are wonderful. It’s obvious that Pearce knows good criticism, and each selection sheds light on the work.
I would recommend this series to anyone, especially young students like so many I met during my time in college, who had grown cynical about the state of modern literary criticism.
I intend to purchase them all, even Wuthering Heights, and that alone should speak volumes: I can’t stand Emily Bronte.
Lest it seem self-serving that I also praise the ICE (as we sometimes call them), keep in mind that this blog is nothing if not self-serving. More seriously, I had nothing—absolutely nothing—to do with the creation and publication of these fine works. Having said that, let me say how impressed I am with the books: "I'm impressed with the books!" There you have it.
Having interviewed general editor Joseph Pearce about the ICE, I had a decent sense of what they would be like. But the quantity and quality of these critical editions are notable. For example, King Lear opens with a lengthy introduction by R.V. Young of North Carolina State, has extensive footnotes throughout the play itself, and then some 140 pages of essays afterward, including "King Lear in Film," by James Bemis, Nature and Convention in King Lear," by Paul A. Cantor, and "King Lear: Seeing the Comedy of the Tragedy," by Pearce.
And, at risk of life and limb, I am hereby divulging the names of three ICE titles coming out this fall (September-ish): Hamlet, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Pride and Prejudice.