About Editions

In an effort to make these invaluable writings more accessible and profitable to modern readers, Friends Library publishes and makes freely available as many as three editions of each book: Original, Modernized, and Updated.

Original Editions

Original editions are essentially unaltered from the originally published texts, except for rare cases of modernizing spelling and some basic formatting changes for easier reading and to match modern publishing norms. Old-style pronouns like thee and thine and archaic verb endings like wouldest and shouldest have not been modified. Antiquated vocabulary has been preserved. Our original versions are an extremely faithful reproduction of the work as it was originally published.

Modernized Editions

Modernized editions have been slightly modernized from the original texts by updating archaic spellings, word endings, and changing thee and thine to you and your, etc. No other significant alterations or abridgements have been made. Our modernized editions are created by applying a simple (but carefully tested and refined) set of substitutions on the text with the aid of a computer program. There are occasionally errors from the automated modernization process, but these are generally very rare and do not damage the comprehensibility of the text. Most of our readers find the modernized versions far easier to understand than the original editions.

Updated Editions

Updated editions have been carefully modernized by hand by one of our team members, seeking as much as possible to preserve the original meaning, phrasing, and wording wherever practicable. Pronouns like thee and thine or archaic verb endings like wouldest and shouldest have been modernized, and some words whose meaning has changed have been substituted. In some cases sentences and paragraphs have been broken up or slightly restructured in order to best convey the original meaning to modern readers. Updated editions have been taken a step beyond modernized versions, in that each sentence and paragraph has been read and altered as necessary according to the judgment and expertise of the editor — not merely according to a set of substitution rules.

In a few cases, when preparing an updated edition we have created a new work by extracting a part of a larger work, or occasionally by combining similar and complementary sections of originally distinct works. Wherever this was done, it is clearly noted in an introductory remark by the editor.

More on Our Modernization

For more detailed information on our approach to modernization, including examples, see our article on modernization.