Legion of Night

Preface to the CD
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The CD of this classic on the Catocala grew out of a growing collaboration of the author, Ted Sargent, and myself on the wing patterns of this group.  Adjunct to my deepening interest in the mathematical approach to studying the geometry of the moth wing venation, I was gradually drawn into an interest in the history of the study of this speciose genus.  On attending the 50th Anniversary Meeting of the Lepidopterist's Society in June 1997, along with Ted, I was further impressed by the interest of several attendees in the availability of the literature on this group.  Ted and I had collaborated on making the older sources of Catocala figures (from Strecker, 1872; Barnes and McDunnough, 1918; Hampson, 1909) available over the World Wide Web starting in 1996.  As a part of that web site we also provided images of the original slides taken by Harold Vermes of mounted material.  The quality of the scanned images of those slides was greatly improved over the University of Massachusetts Press plate execution in the 1976 original edition of LON and thus Ted became interested in our publication of a Legion Of Night CD version which would allow the quality of the original material to be appreciated and used by lepidopterists in general.  Recently we also decided to create hyperlinks to the B&Mc and Holland, 1903, Catocala figures in an elaboration of the index of the original text edition.  This is both a useful springboard for access to the text as well as an interesting tool for juxtaposing the technologies of illustration that were extant in the early part of the 20th Century.  Barnes & McDunnough in 1918 used the traditional scientific illustrators rendering of the specimens while Holland in 1903 provides us with the first colorized photographic interpretation of many of the same species and varieties.
The choice of HTML as a medium for publishing the files was made based on our growing conviction that the web browser as an access tool is in its ascendancy.  We thus can provide text from the original 1976 version with hyperlink access to appropriate figures, illustrations and glossary entries.  In addition to interpretive hyperlinks inserted by the authors, this approach allows the text to be searched using the available browser search engines.  A contiguous text version is provided as a way of allowing a search of the entire text at one time.  The quality and power of the browsers will undoubtedly improve and add greater utility to the text and images we provide in digital form.  We see this approach as a first step in making many specialty books available to the scientific and general public.

Joseph G. Kunkel, 1997

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