TextFenix selects book-length literary works from around the year 1600 and renders them in language that is immediately accessible to modern readers without ‘dumbing down’ the contents or abridging the text. We do so primarily as a study aid, to help readers quickly understand what the work is about. We do not pretend that our renderings have the same literary merit as the originals, but we do hope that readers will nevertheless enjoy their reading experiences.
We encourage visitors to spend some time looking at what our website has to offer. Not only do we sell modern language versions of these selected classics, but we also provide the texts of the works as first published, sometimes together with other early versions, so that readers may enjoy the full flavour of the originals. These original works are provided free of charge in PDF format. Alternatively, readers who want the whole of the work as originally published may buy it from our site in either epub or mobi format at a nominal cost of US$1.99.
In our presentation of the original works, all original spelling and punctuation have been retained as published at the time (including printer’s errors), except for the long s ( ſ ) which has been replaced by the short s, and the tilde (~) has been replaced by m or n, as appropriate. In early modern printing, the letter u is usually read as the letter v, and vice versa; the letter i is also read as the letter j, depending on the context. Standing alone, the capital letter I in English works is often understood as the exclamation aye or ay, meaning yes.
TextFenix intends to publish a variety of literary works from the early modern period (give or take a few hundred years), mainly poetry, prose, plays and devotional works. In time, we hope to include works from and about the New World as well as the Old.
Without access to rare books in one form or another, our work would not be possible. And yet, rare book libraries everywhere have difficulty in preserving and maintaining their collections because of the costs involved. Some rare book libraries suffer from neglect while others have even been plundered.
We feel it is only right to acknowledge our debt to rare book libraries and to contribute to the preservation of their collections. Accordingly, TextFenix intends to donate a portion of the proceeds from every ebook sold to worthy conservation projects. We invite readers to send us suitable suggestions.
Dirk Jol is the editor of all the works of early modern English poetry and prose under the TextFenix imprint, now including works by William Shakespeare, Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser and Lady Mary Wroth.
He did his undergraduate work at McGill University in architecture, graduate work in business at the University of Western Ontario and a degree in education at the University of Ottawa. He worked in the development of housing for low income families and seniors for many years, first in Zambia and then in Canada, before becoming a teacher.
He has had a passion for early modern English literature ever since his high school years in Ottawa, Ontario in the 1960s. Like most people, he also finds many of these texts extremely difficult to read. Over the years, he has developed an approach to making the difficult texts more accessible for today’s reader. Since his retirement, he has been busy putting the results of his ‘secret literary career’ together and is now sharing them with readers on TextFenix.com.
Dirk Jol lives with his wife and their cat in a self-built energy-efficient home on Scugog Island in Port Perry, Ontario, Canada.