In March, with John Crowley’s detailed replies to a final round of 87 text queries in hand, I collated his responses with 94 other minor text corrections, completed a second document covering major text-flow issues, and a third covering a few final art changes and a considerably larger number of fine-grained if relatively minor art corrections and settlings-in. Drawing on these three documents, and with not infrequent reference to and updating of up to a dozen other documents tracking various aspects of the edition, and in conjunction with close final looks at those text-flow and art issues that of necessity had to wait until the final pass to adjust or correct, I’ve been compiling the chapter by chapter documentation for our final lockdown correction pass through the book, which designer and compositor John D. Berry is executing. This final lockdown pass has been in progress for several weeks now and is on-going.
We are moving as fast as we can commensurate with all due care.
One of John Berry’s biggest production tasks is to link each of the art details in the text to its respective high-definition digital image source file, which is necessary to achieve sharp, clear print reproductions of the art; this sometimes includes analyzing which of multiple alternate source images is most likely to produce the best-quality reproduction, and I have to back him up with careful annotations for all of it. The linking process had already been completed for approximately one-fourth of the 300+ art details in the book, but when it became clear a couple of years ago that the process of refining the art selections, placements, and trims would require multiple passes, we decided that it would be best to wait to properly “ground” the remaining art until the final pass through the book, after the art had been finalized or nearly so. (Anything that hasn’t been finalized before now is being finalized during this pass, though, lest there be any misunderstanding, the vast majority of the creative decisions on the edition were made long since and are not subject to change. What’s being finalized involves almost exclusively the execution of the last jots and tittles of what is nevertheless vitally necessary production minutiæ.)
Once the pass is complete and everything from the front matter through the novel and apologue to the Bloom essay has been locked down, all 792 pages of it, we will then have only the end matter — art bibliographical citations (which I am compiling in conjunction with the lockdown pass), colophon, and endleaves — and the outer matter — dust jacket, cloth choices, book board and slipcase stampings, etc. — to finish and we will have a printer-ready book.
There is no one alive who longs for that moment more than I.