Friday, November 6, 2009

The Wicked Bible

Gandalf's resent penchant for defacing Bibles pointed me in the direction of the "Wicked Bible," now a valuable book published (for a short period) in 1631. It was intended to be a reprint of the King James, but owing to a crucial error in the composition of the type, omitted the "not" from the seventh commandment. Ooops... The error so outraged Charles I that he had the printers summoned to the Star Chamber where they were fined and lost their printing licenses.

King Charles's disgust with the event is made abundantly clear in this wonderfully nostalgic statement regarding the decline of the art of printing : "I knew the tyme when great care was had about printing, the Bibles especially, good compositors and the best correctors were gotten being grave and learned men, the paper and the letter rare, and faire every way of the beste, but now the paper is nought, the composers boyes, and the correctors unlearned." Oh what sad times are these...