KCO Spread 1 copy scaled jpg

Michael John Goodman:

For me (though I am sure others will disagree!), the artistic power of the Kelmscott Chaucer is in the harmonious balance that is achieved between Burne-Jones’ illustrations and Morris’ frames, borders, typography and the visually striking double-page spreads. And users can investigate each of these aspects individually in turn on the website. The decision to make it a primarily visual experience is both practical and editorial. Practically, it just would not be worth the time and effort to digitize nearly 600 pages, especially when the complete works of Chaucer are available for anyone to read almost everywhere and for very cheap. Even if this aim was desirable and could have been achieved efficiently, it would have changed the very nature of the project, bloating it out into a project where the focus became so broad that the visual aspects would have become, if not diluted, then certainly more obscured amongst a sea of similar-looking text-based pages.