Saturday, July 06, 2013

Selected Works of Voltairine de Cleyre on Project Gutenberg

A day I have been awaiting for almost a decade has arrived: the classic, yet extremely rare collection of anarchist and freethought essays and poetry Selected Works of Voltairine de Cleyre has been posted as a Project Gutenberg eBook. It was in the summer of 2004 that I both read Selected Works and started proofreading for Project Gutenberg; the book immediately struck me as the perfect fit for Project Gutenberg's mission of making freely available accessible editions of public domain books, particularly as Selected Works had always been overlooked by print publishers of such public domain material.  (Incidentally, the other classic turn-of-the-20th-century anarchist volume I read that summer, Kropotkin's The Conquest of Bread, made it to Project Gutenberg in 2007).  And how fitting that the eBook be posted on the Fourth of July weekend, since de Cleyre's American-as-apple-pie anarchism is the perfect bookend to the Declaration of Independence being deliberately chosen as the very first Project Gutenberg eBook by a self-described "Ayn Rand freak" who was "doing Project Gutenberg for the most selfish of reasons - because I want a world that has Project Gutenberg in it".  (Amusingly, the eBook of The Conquest of Bread retains the notice "PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA".)  I have much, much more to blog about this crucial book, but for now, enjoy a painstakingly formatted edition of a lost classic, available in a variety of both browser- and eReader-friendly eBook formats and proofread by some of the most obsessive typo-finders on the Internet!

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