I’ve been editing what will be our own edition of the Malleus Maleficarum, and expect to see the book first made available sometime around Christmas of 2008. This is something I’m rather excited about. I hope at least some of the many people who visit this web site every day will pick up a copy of our own version of the Malleus.
Why do we need to publish our own edition of the Malleus Maleficarum? Well, we don’t, actually. My desire to see our own version published has more to do with the fact that the actual text of the Malleus Maleficarum as translated by Montague Summers is now in the public domain, and I’ve discovered that a lot of people have no problem whatsoever with taking the text from our transcription project here and using it to publish their own editions. Most notably I found our PDF downloads being sold on CDs on eBay. I know that at least one published edition was taken from our web site because the “Letter of Approbation” was incomplete (just as it was on the web site – a source of consternation for long-time visitors of the web site here).
While I freely acknowledge that the actual text of the Malleus is in the public domain, it rather irks me to discover that people who had absolutely nothing to do with this project are profiting from our hard work. Therefore, as an alternative I hope to make available an edition which will more directly go toward the maintenance of this web site and our efforts to keep the Malleus Maleficarum at least peripherally in the public consciousness.
Needless to say, no one here expects to get rich from this. I can’t imagine that there would be enough sales of the book for anything like that, and such was never our intent anyway. Mostly what I hope to do is make available a special edition of the Malleus that supporters and other users of this web site can purchase if they wish to help support this effort (instead of the usual pathetic begging for donations).
As for the nature of this special edition, there are a number of improvements over the edition most commonly purchased through our web site. The text has been removed from the multiple column newspaper-like format and expanded into full pages. I believe this makes the text more readable, making reading the Malleus a little less of a chore. I’m also adding some historically influence original artwork to break up the brevity (and perhaps fill up some of the inevitable white space that resulted from the new formatting).
I’m sure I’ll write more about this later. At the moment, I only hoped to make long-time visitors to the web site aware that this effort is nearing completion. We’ll be selling this edition directly through the web site, but we’ll also be making it available to book vendors through normal supply chains. So if you’re uncomfortable with ordering the book directly from us, you’ll be able to request your local book store to order a copy for you.
More on this later.