Tuesday, March 27, 2012

PROP: Victor Frankenstein's Journal

From Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Dimensions: 8 x 10 x 1.5
Cover: Leather with stamped initial.
Closure: Frog-Tie (wooden bead and loop)

I've been trying to find some good screen-caps of the journal of the main character of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein for years so I finally grabbed some on my own.

The pages look to be of a thick, good quality that have been ripped on the edges as though from a larger sheet. A common practice for books at that time period.

The journal is held together by a pair of frog-ties on the front cover. The frogs (the things that are used to fit within the loop on the back cover) appear to be little more than just a wooden or ceramic bead that's held in place on a thin cord.

The big question for the book is to figure out its dimensions. Usually I'm able to gauge the size of a prop (a book prop) is to get a shot of someone holding the book and extrapolate the height and width based on the breadth of the person's hand. Usually, the breadth of a man's hand is between 3 and 3.5 inches wide.

So if I can assume that the actor's hand is a close approximation to the standard, then I can deduce that the book is about 9 or 10 inches high. So it's just slightly smaller than a standard piece of paper (8.5 x 11 inches).

So then I looked at the width of the book and I would guess that it's about 8 inches wide based on the observation that the actor's knuckles (usually 4-5 inches across since they're thicker than the fingers) cover about half of the cover in the screen-cap below.
I then was able to notice that the spine of the book, though it is a leather cover, is marked with several ridges as though the cords of the spine were showing through. This would suggest that the book block (the actual pages) has five cords.

I can't see any headbands / footbands on the edge of the journal so it's not impossible that the binder didn't use them. For journals like this it would not be uncoming to leave that element off as it would make it more difficult to unbind the pages later.

Simple, leather-covered journals like this would often be unbound and all of the 'good' pages (as opposed to all of the scribbles and doodles that were basically worthless) could be rebound in another book.
The journal's cover shows the frog-tie closure as well as a large 'V' within a circle that appears to be either burned or stamped into the leather.

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