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Pictorial Webster's: A Visual Dictionary of Curiosities
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Top Customer Reviews
When I hold this book in my hand, I feel like it's a miracle child of commitment, hard work, luck, providence and love. It is a special, special collection of pages.
When I was 6, I received my first dictionary. I was disappointed because it was a child's dictionary. Over-sized, red covers, big printing and simple words however with nice illustrations. At 8 (after much begging), I received Webster's Concise Dictionary. A proper research tool filled with words I had never heard of in my short life! Finally, an adventure to discover new words!! And thus began my romance with Websters.
This new addition in Pictorial Form is really a gem! A fine emerald green and copper gilt cover entices me to open the book and seek out this new "narrative" that was sneaked in between the illustrations. I choose a page...... in G.
In the letter "G" I find a challenge. A Guard (En Guard!) swordsman is challenging a Grizzly Bear protected only by a Groined Arch. (Which is where I would want protection!). In "M" I find a family of Mammoths grazing on Mandrake being watched by Man (Java Man, Neanderthal, and Cro-Magnon). In "C" a rousing game of Chess is being played by a Cheetah and a Cheiroptera (Bat). My odds are on the bat....
Elsewhere in "S" a marsupial called a Sarigue is counting the Sails on a ship, and in "K" two Knights are outranked by a Kingfisher, a King Penguin, and a King Spider Crab. And in case you need to tie some knots, well just go to page 200 for a chart of 59 knots!!
In "&" (yes, that's ampersand...) I find plans for war! 6 Airplanes, a chart showing the Ballistics of Bombs, and 2 Automatic Pistols!! Is this war??? Or is it Backgammon... either way someone needs to move that Baby Buggy out of the line of fire!
And when I thought the story was over, I found a pancreas in my book!!! Not an appendix mind you, but a Pancreas! Containing a bibliography, production notes, and more!!
And the story is never over as there are thousands of beautiful wood engravings and metal electrotypes that seem to have belonged to dictionaries of yore but have come together in a new way and a new narrative!
The illustrations in this book came from the original engravings that had been given to Yale University by the Merriam-Webster Company. Mr. Carrera has cleaned and restored the more than 1500 engravings and now presents them in the form of a bound book.
The result is a fascinating book that presents something that can be viewed as a historical link to our past, or simply as art in its own right. It's a book that you pick up and flip through the pages until you realize that you've spent an hour or two just looking, with perhaps just a bit of learning.
I'm not sure of the copyright status, but would be an excellent source for the graphic artist or web designer.