Sunday, 29 August 2021

Gerald Dillon, freelance journalist

Gerald Aloysius Dillon (29 June 1897–[after 1952]), Irish-Australian soldier and freelance journalist, contributed an article on “'The Female Spectator': Mrs. Eliza Heywood's Periodical” to Australian Woman’s Mirror in March of 1934. I said in my post on that article (here), that Dillon contributed a series of roughly fifty bookish essays to the Australian Woman’s Mirror, "many about women or women writers such Joanna Southcott, Ouida, Angella Burdett, Sidney Webb and Katherine Mansfield (probably his most famous essay)." I also said that "I have not been able to find out as much about Dillon as I would like"—but what I have found is below.

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The AustLit entry for Dillon states "Gerald Dillon was a freelance writer from Sydney," and list only six of his works: once self-published book (Why Editors Regret: First Aid for the Free-Lance Gerald Dillon (Sydney, 1929)), the Katherine Mansfield essay mentioned above, and four pieces of his journalism that seem to have been selected more-or-less at random.

After a pretty extensive search online, I located quite a bit more information than AustLit offers. My three main sources of biographical information (reproduced below) are a series of entries for him (and his brothers) in The Catholic Who's Who and Yearbook from 1930–52 (vol. 23 (1930): 134; 29 (1936): 131; 34 (1941): 130; 35 (1952): 118), a brief article about Dillon published in <>The wireless weekly: the hundred per cent Australian radio journal, Vol. 36 No. 28 (12 July 1941): 3b (this article supplied the only photograh I could find of Gerald Dillon), and a National Archives entry.

The Catholic Who's Who and Yearbook entries are all much the same, the 1930 edition reading

[1930–52] "Dillon, Gerald Aloysius—b.1897, y.s. [youngest son] of late Theobald Augustus Dillon, co Roscommon; edu. Downside and R.M.C. [Royal Military College, Sandhurst]; Sec.Lieut 6 (Inniskillg) Dgns [Dragoons] 1916; resigned as Lieut 1921; served Great War; at present engaged in journalism. Author of Why Editors Regret: Box 2876N. G.P.O., Sydney, N.S.W."

The yearbooks contain entries for two bothers, which provide more details of the family:
  Gerald's father was Theobald, of Mount Dillon, co. Roscommon,
  his mother was Bertha, daughter of Nicholas Mulhall of Boyle, co. Roscommon;
  his eldest brother went to Trinity College Cambridge (B.A.), was Capt. in the Connaught Rangers (Special Reserve); served in WW1, and was called to the Irish Bar in 1922;
  the second brother, Capt. John Jospeph Dillon (b. 19 Feb. 1896), went to Sandhurst, like Gerald, was a Lieutenant in the Connaught Rangers (Special Reserve); was twice wounded in WW1, winning the Military Cross, rising to Captain in 1927 in the Royal Army Service Corps.

Gerald Dillon, well known for his talks on 2FC and 2BL [Sydney radio stations], has had a life crammed with travel and adventure.
  An Irishman, born in Dublin in 1897, he spent six years at an English public school before returning to Dublin to study law.
  In 1916 he abandoned law to enter Sandhurst. Graduating there with a commission in the Dragoons, he served in France in the last war.
  After the war, feeling an urge to travel, he resigned his commission in the Army, and visited Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India, and Tahiti before settling for several years in Papua as a plantation manager.
  Gerald Dillon’s variety of experience has given him plenty of material for broadcasting. He is also well known as a freelance journalist, and on one occasion he turned to authorship.
His anecdotes of life among the wild and woolly natives of Papua have proved very happy entertainment for radio audiences.

[1939–48] WW2 Service record [National Archives of Australia: Citizen Military Forces Personnel Dossier]

Service Number - N279151
Date of birth - 29 Jun 1897
Place of birth - DUBLIN IRELAND
Place of enlistment - PADDINGTON NSW
Next of Kin - Unknown
Contents date range: 1939–1948
Item ID: 6194595
Location: Canberra
Access status: Open

[ (here) adds: "Rank: Corporal"]

Beyond The Catholic Who's Who and Yearbook and the anonymous "Filled Life With travel," Trove fills in many details concerning Dillon's freelance and radio work. However, although there are hundreds of entries for Dillon on Trove, they add little about his personal life. Apparently, he lived in "Verona," Waruda St., Kirribilli, Sydney, before WW2, but I was unable to find any record after the 1952 Catholic Who's Who and Yearbook. If we are to judge by the lack of a Next of Kin in his WW2 Military Forces Personnel Dossier, it appears he did not marry. He seems to have died obscurely, and alone, with no memorial or death notice.

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Dillon's self-published 58-page booklet, Why Editors Regret was reasonably-well received, being reviewed in half a dozen journals throughout Australia. Although most major libraries in Australia have a copy, I have been unable to look into one due to the lock-down, but the reviews contain a number of details, so I will finish this post by transcribing three the longer reviews, and provide links to three others. The reviews below are organised chronologically.

"Franziska" [Frances Zabel], The Australian Woman's Mirror, Vol. 5 No. 48 (22 October 1929): 24c, 41b "Let's Talk about Books" (here)

Editors would have far fewer regrets if this little book were read by all those Australians seeking to break into freelance journalism The author, who can speak from experience of the ups and downs of freelancing, gives much practical advice to the budding writer and covers a wide field—what editors want, the article, book reviews, verse, the paragraph, the short story, writing for children, and so on. A foreword has been written by the editor of the Bulletin and there are special contributions by the editor of Aussie, the editor of the Mirror, Katharine Susannah Prichard, J. H. M. Abbott Professor Brennan, Edward Perugini, W. E. FitzHenry and others. Apart from a few typographical errors that should not have crept into a literary handbook, the little volume is well-produced, and it should do something toward realising the expressed purpose of Mr. Dillon the lightening of the heavy burthen which weighs on those who wander without proper sense of direction in the fugitive byways of literature.

The Bulletin, vol. 50, no. 2594 (30 Oct 1929): 5a–b (here)

Why Editors Regret
  They don’t; but the harmless fiction makes a catchy title, and prospective or potential freelances who spend half a crown on Gerald Dillon’s booklet of that name should not have any regrets, either. Editors do not regret, because theirs is the most impersonal job on earth; they buy what they want, they turn down what they don’t want. The best friend in the world ceases to be a friend when he translates himself into a piece of paper with words on it. Having done that, the best friend is a bit of copy and nothing else.
  Mr. Dillon has strong support: Bert F. Toy, editor of the Woman’s Mirror, and writer here of a most compact and in formative article; Walter Jago, editor of Aussie—not very informative, but a good blow where one has been long asked for; Katharine Susannah Prichard—so so; Harold Mercer—amusing and encouraging (he says, “One bit of misleading information may destroy a growing reputation painfully built up” (and he writes sermons for sick clergymen); C. J. Brennan—an excellent page on light verse; Hugh McCrae—Hugh McCrae; Edward Perugini—one or two acute remarks on serious verse; J. H. M. Abbott—on “historical background” in fiction (“There are 700 possible separate characters available amongst the convicts of the first fleet.” May he be spared to use the five of them that he has not used already!); Edyth Bavin, wife of the N.S.W. Premier—on “writing for children,” which she herself does charmingly; W. E. FitzHenry, who has grown up in The Bulletin office and knows as much about marketing paper with words on it as the next man, and his brother. A guiding foreword by S. H. Prior, editor of The Bulletin, and seven articles by Mr. Dillon covering pretty well the whole field of freelancing complete the bill of contents.

The Capricornian (Thu 5 Dec 1929): 12a: BOOKS RECEIVED (here)

S. A. Rosa, The Labor Daily (Sat 7 Dec 1929): 9g. LITERARY JOTTINGS (here)

The Advertiser (Sat 8 Feb 1930): 14f "LITERARY BEGINNERS" (here)

The West Australian (5 Jul 1930): 5d (here)

(By J.P.)

A small booklet with the above title came recently before my notice, and I found it interesting to read because of the elementary hints and tips it contains for those who practice free-lance journalism in Australia. That it is written for Australians is its chief virtue. This booklet, largely the work of Mr. Gerald Dillon, but containing some brief contributions by other well-known journalists and authors, fills a want that, I imagine, many writers in Australia have felt: it sets down some guidance that should explain to the disappointed just why and how editors 'regret' when they return manuscripts. For instance: 'What the editor wants is the sort of matter he publishes' … 'Get a typewriter' … 'Never fold your manuscript more than once' … 'Enclose a stamped addressed envelope for return' … 'Never use single spacing in typing' … 'Never send a covering letter with a manuscript'—these are the first essentials to the equipment of the freelance; indeed, I think they are guides that will take him over half his journey to acceptance of his manuscript.
  The book discusses the usual methods of writing newspaper articles, short stories, serials, verse, juvenile matter and paragraphs—the last subject to some purpose, which is perhaps not unnatural in a laud where paragraph writing has become a habit rather than a practice. These discussions are slight, and the symposium to which various well-known writers have contributed is notable for its general evasion of the book's requirements. Katharine Susannah Prichard has 'nothing very much to say as to 'why the editor regrets,' except that he doesn't when he says so.' The truth is that editors often do regret: and the editor of 'Aussie' has here something to say about why they regret. Hugh MacRae says. 'I cannot see how any freelance journalist could benefit by anything I might have to say.' J. H. M. Abbott dismisses 'The Historical Back ground,' of the short story, in two paragraphs, and Edyth Bavin 'Writing for Children' in two shorter paragraphs. Perhaps the soundest and most useful article is that by the Editor of 'The Australian Woman's Mirror' on 'The Woman Free Lance.' and it is a pity that the other contributors had not approached their task with the same seriousness and desire to help, when a thorough-going handbook for the local freelance might have been the result.
  This booklet should, though, be useful to the beginner, who will soon find that his experience does not tally with Mr. Dillon's in several matters. It is said that there is practically no market in Australia for articles of the discursive essayist type: and 'The local market for short stories is practically unlimited.' With good essays on almost all subjects appearing regularly in our leading papers. I wonder what shade of meaning Mr. Dillon in tends for his word 'discursive.' As for the short story market, this is decidedly limited, because it is over-supplied, and this for the reason that short-story writing ' is the one branch of literature in which, more than in any other with the possible exception of verse, local writers have squandered their energies.

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Four final notes: [1] In a recent essay by Martin Griffiths ("Katherine Mansfield’s Australia," Tinakori: Critical Journal of the Katherine Mansfield Society Issue 4 (Summer 2020): 60–70) Dillon is mistakenly described thusly (ibid. 63) "New-Zealand-born commentator Gerald Dillon." [2] it is nice to see a Frances Zabel review of Dillon's book. For my post on Mrs Zabel, see here. [3] I was delighted to find that Dillon wrote an article on "A Perfect Library," which I will post soon. [4] "Verona" near "Astoria" in Waruda St., Kirribilli was a boarding house (according to Anne Watson, The Art of Roland Wakelin (1975), 2.22), but a "superior" one, according to a 1930 advertisement (offering "Superior Single Rooms, fireplace, balcony, glorious views, from 15/.").

Sunday, 22 August 2021

Works Falsely Attributed to Eliza Haywood

Below are links to original editions online of works falsely attributed to Eliza Haywood. These Haywood attributions are ones that I believe to be—and have previously explained at length why I believe them to be—false attributions (explanations I might add here at a later date).

In my Bibliography of Eliza Haywood (2004) I listed these items in section "Ca. REJECTED ATTRIBUTIONS"—explaining why the arguments that have been proposed for including them in the Haywood canon are suspect (a few are plausible, but unproven; many were made by accident; others are simply ridiculous or idiotic).

I have added this post to my blog for much the same reason as I added posts that include links to genuine works by Haywood (here) and William Hatchett (here): it is actually convenient for me—and I hope for others—to have these links all in one place.

All author attributions below are tentative or conventional, and are included only to help readers find more information about each title. (My interest being not so much in who wrote these works, but whether there is compelling evidence that Haywood wrote them.)

Item numbers are from my Bibliography (2004).

In the case of two false attributions made since 2004, new item numbers have been created in the appropriate alphabetical position, in the form Ca.19A for The Lady’s Drawing Room and Ca.32A Nunnery Tales, written by a Young Nobleman.

In the case of popular works, such as Ca.1 Penelope Aubin's The Adventures of the Prince of Clermont, I only listed the first edition of the work in my Bibliography, and so there is no "Spedding-number" for the later editions linked below. Rather than attemption to create a consistent series of new numbers, I simply use a lower-case "x" (in the form Ca.1.x) for all such editions.

For now, links are only to copies on Google Books, but I will add links to copies on The Internet Archive, etc. as I find them.

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Ca.1.x [Penelope Aubin], The Adventures of the Prince of Clermont, 2nd ed. (1728) [British Library copy here]

Ca.2.3 The Busy-Body; or, The Adventures of Monieur Bigand, vol. 1 (Dublin, 1768) [University of California copy here]
Ca.2.3 The Busy-Body; or, The Adventures of Monieur Bigand, vol. 2 (Dublin, 1768) [University of California copy here]

Ca.7.3 A Present for Women Addicted to Drinking (1750) [British Library copy here]

Ca.10 The Fair Concubine, 2nd ed. (1732) [British Library copy here]
Ca.10 The Fair Concubine, 4th ed. (1732) [British Library copy here]
Ca.10 The Fair Concubine, 4th ed. (1732) [University of Michigan copy here]

Ca.15 [Bonnell Thornton, ed.], Have at You All: or, The Drury-Lane Journal (1752) [Oxford University Library copy here]

Ca.17 [Sarah Robinson Scott], The History of Cornelia (1750). [British Library copy here]

Ca.18 [William Bond], The History of the Life and Adventures of Mr. Duncan Campbell, 2nd ed. corrected (1720) [Oxford University Library copy here]

Ca.19A.1b The Lady’s Drawing Room, 2nd ed. (1748). [British Library copy here]

Ca.22 Leonora: Or, Characters Drawn from Real Life (1745), vol. 1 [Oxford University Library copy here]

Ca.23 Letters from Sophia to Mira (1763) [British Library copy here]

Ca.24 [John Shebbeare], Letters on the English Nation (1755) [University of Michigan copy here]

Ca.26.x [Edward (‘Ned’) Ward], The London-Spy Compleat (1718) [British Library copy here]

Ca.28.3 [John Shebbeare], Lydia, or Filial Piety, vol. 1 (Dublin, 1763) [University of Michigan copy here]
Ca.28.3 [John Shebbeare], Lydia, or Filial Piety, vol. 3 (Dublin, 1763) [University of Michigan copy here]

Ca.29.1 [John Shebbeare], The Marriage Act. A Novel, vol. 2 (1754). [Ohio State University copy here]

Ca.30.1c Memoirs of The Court of Lilliput (Dublin, 1727) [British Library copy here]

Ca.32.2 [Dr. John Hill], [Translation: French] Caractères Modernes tirés des divers états de la vie civile, vol. 1 (Londres, 1770). [Austrian National Library copy here]
Ca.32.2 [Dr. John Hill], [Translation: French] Caractères Modernes tirés des divers états de la vie civile, vol. 2 (Londres, 1770). [Austrian National Library copy here]
Ca.32.2 [Dr. John Hill], [Translation: French] Caractères Modernes tirés des divers états de la vie civile, vol. 2 (Londres, 1770). [Bavarian State Library copy here]

Ca.32A Nunnery Tales, written by a Young Nobleman (1727) [British Library copy here]

Ca.35.1 [Joseph Mitchell], Poems on Several Occasions, vol. 1 (1729) [National Library of the Netherlands copy here]

Ca.38.3 [Samuel Croxall, ed.], A Select Collection of Novels and Histories. In Six Volumes, 2nd ed., vol. 1 (1729) [New York Public Library copy here]
Ca.38.3 [Samuel Croxall, ed.], A Select Collection of Novels and Histories. In Six Volumes, 2nd ed., vol. 3 (1729) [New York Public Library copy here]

Ca.40.2 Some Memiors of the Amours and Intrigues of a Certain Irish Dean [Part 1], 3rd ed. (1730) [Oxford University Library copy here]

Ca.44.1 A Treatise on the Dismal Effects of Low-Spiritedness (ca. 1751). [British Library copy here]

Ca.45.1 Vanelia (1732). [British Library copy here]

Monday, 16 August 2021

Eliza Haywood in Sydney, 1934

On the weekend I made an astonishing discovery: I am not the first person in Australia to have an interest in Eliza Haywood. Amazing, I know; check it out:

Below I have transcribed the article I discovered: Gerald Dillon, “'The Female Spectator': Mrs. Eliza Heywood's Periodical” Australian Woman’s Mirror, vol.10, no.15 (6 March 1934): 8, 59 (here). The illustrations—seeming prepared for this essay—are signed "CON" (elsewhere in the Mirror the name is expanded to "R. W. CON"—but I am still not able to identify them).

From the spelling of Haywood's name (Heywood, rather than Haywood) it is fairly clear that the source of Dillon's text was The Female Spectator. Being selections from Mrs. Eliza Heywood's periodical (1744-1746). ed. Mary Priestley, illustrated by Constance Rowlands (London: John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1929), but his selection of anecdotes also makes this likely, since he does not mention anything that is not in the Priestley edition.

However, the reason that I suspected that Dillon's text was the Priestley edition is that there were very few eighteenth century copies of Haywood's Female Spectator in Australia in 1934 (other than my own copies, there are still only three). In 1934 the only complete, eighteenth century copy was almost certainly that in the University of Melbourne library. Monash acquired their copy at some point after the university was founded in 1958; while the only copy in Sydney—an odd-volume of the 5th edition—first appears on "NUCOM 2" (the "Second Cumulative supplement" of Australia's "National Union Catalogue of Monographs," 1977)—not NUCOM 1 (1976)—so it was probably acquired in the 1970s.

Not only were there no eighteenth century copies of Haywood's Female Spectator in Sydney in 1934, there appear to have been no copies of the Priestley edition in any institutional library either: and there still are none! It seems likely that Dillon was relying on his own copy, so—from my point of view—he had an excellent libary.

I am not sure whether Dillon realised just how pitiful a cultural backwater Sydney is and was, but I am sure he felt that he was doing his bit to both entertain and improve his readers with the series of roughly fifty bookish essays he wrote for Bert F. Hoy, editor of the Australian Woman’s Mirror, many about women or women writers such as Joanna Southcott, Ouida, Angella Burdett, Sidney Webb and Katherine Mansfield (probably his most famous essay).

I have not been able to find out as much about Dillon as I would like, but what I have found I will put into a separate post about him soon. [That post has now been completed; see here] Until then, here is his take on Eliza Haywood.

* * * * *

“The Female Spectator”


THE FEMALE SPECTATOR was the first periodical to be produced by a woman, and may therefore be regarded as the inspiration from which are derived the whole regiment of women’s papers to-day.
  Mrs. Eliza Heywood was founder and first and last editor. She was also its entire staff. The paper came out as a monthly in 1744 and enjoyed an existence of two short years. It was one of the many imitations of the type of journalism produced by Steele and Addison in THE SPECTATOR, but Mrs. Heywood’s periodical was written of course from and for the feminine viewpoint.
  Mrs. Heywood was what might be called a woman of the world. Her husband left no footprints on the sands of time. Of him it is known only that he deserted his wife, who was then left to shift both for herself and her two children.
  She went on the stage for a brief period, but subsequently became a “writing woman.” She produced some enthusiastic novels, re-wrote some plays, mothered a few pamphlets, and was a publisher for a span. She was born about 1693 and died in 1756.
  Rumor has it that Mrs. Heywood was what the period called “a flighty woman,” if she was not actually “fast”—though there is nothing at all in the tone and temper of her paper even to hint at that; nor is there anything in THE FEMALE SPECTATOR bearing even a slight resemblance to woman’s journalism as we know it to-day.
  The paper printed no serial. It never boasted of a “bright” article. There was nothing of “interest” about Lady Thingumitite or the Queen’s pet cat. No household hints. No medical advice.
  There were stories (of sorts) and some feeble murmurings about Nature study and natural philosophy.
  Mrs. Heywood, however, knew the value and importance of sexual themes in relation to light reading. The stories all had a moral—the moral being “’tis better to look before you leap” in the matter of love, and the stories all carried dreadful emphasis on the terrible ubiquity of the ensnaring male.
  I have said that THE FEMALE SPECTATOR was composed of a staff of one. In the first number we are introduced to two assistants, Mira and Euphrosine, but I think this trinity was a piece of camouflage on the part of Mrs. Heywood, and that in reality their existence was due to an editorial compromise with truth.
  Mrs. Heywood was a believer evidently in the type of male which Hollywood has now perfected.
  We notice one article on “Peace, a Promoter of Finikins,” in which attention is drawn to the prevalence of somewhat effeminate men. Indeed, Mrs. Heywood goes so far as to publish a page from the account book of a bankrupt beauty specialist showing an amount of £38/9/6 due to her from “a gentleman now in the army.”
  This gentleman had been supplied with a variety of “beautifying” things, including lip-salve, carmine, powder, jessamin butter for the hair, cold cream, perfumed mouth water, a toothbrush, and a riding mask to prevent sunburn!
  Mrs. Heywood hoped that “frequent campaigns” would wear this effeminacy off.
  As a specimen of short story we have “Amaranthus, his Passion for Aminta.”
  The gentleman with the long name was of course an army officer. He was ordered to Germany. He took leave of Aminta with vows of eternal remembrance, but in spite of the fact that he vowed also to marry Aminta on his return he did not do so. In fact, he forgot all about her at the earliest possible moment.
  When he came back (after a severe battle in which he was wounded) he explained to Aminta that he was “convinced a tender intercourse with the ladies took up too much of a soldier’s mind” … and he preferred to be a good soldier. So Aminta retired to “a lone county house” and lived in single unhappiness for the rest of her life.
  Then there is the story of “Erminia, How Ruined,” who went to a masquerade (a masked ball). She also ended in a lone country house.
  These stories are only a part of the monthly features. The paper evidently had some out side contributors, and of the sterner sex, too. In April, 1745, we notice “Philo-Naturae,” who lived apparently in the Inner Temple, contributing a long letter of the “museum” type, covering such matter as “Worms, Somewhat Wonderful,” and “Butterflies, How Engendered.”
  In one article Mrs. Heywood discourses on “flying machines” and “the impossibility of their use.” She says:
  I have indeed heard some people foolish enough to maintain that there would come a time in which the ingenuity of man will invent machines to carry him through the air with the same ease as we now cross the seas; which, they cry, seemed doubtless as impracticable at first as this does at present. … Mrs. Heywood, however, knew better. She says God taught Noah how to build the Ark, and if God had wished man to fly He would obviously have shown him how.
  Though the “bodyline” controversy was then in the womb of time Mrs. Heywood was apparently an appreciator of the value of sport for the sake of sport. She says: “To hurl the tennis ball or play a match at cricket are certainly robust and manly exercises” … and deplores the introduction of monetary considerations into these activities. Evidently cricket and tennis in 1745 were—as now—not what they were!
  Eliza was the original Dorothy Dix. In November, 1745, “Bellamonte” writes to her for guidance in the choice between three suitors.
  A is tall, graceful, of honorable family and “well fixed”; has no vice, but is evidently not an ardent lover. When he should be telling her that he can’t live without her he is talking about Admiral Balchen, and the loss he was to the nation.
  B is a lover; in fact he is more like a pet poodle from the description. He is well off, too, but too agreeable, too accommodating, too slave-like.
  C is gay, witty, genteel, handsome and addresses to a charm.” Good voice, musical, and generally is a sort of pocket encyclopedia—but not so well off. “Bellamonte” suspects that C is a bit “too full of himself.” What should she do?
  The answer is rather involved, but it amounts to this: Take A; his serious turn of mind will probably make him a death-do-us-part husband.
  I do not know how the ladies regarded THE FEMALE SPECTATOR—perhaps as rather a naughty journal to be hidden from Mamma—but I am sure that to a great many who led sheltered lives it was a window on the world.
  That world was full of exciting possibilities, a world in which youth, at least occasionally, had its fling. A world that is no better than it ought to be, because it was peopled apparently by vigilant parents of highly respectable daughters who matched their united wits against a host of bold seducers, and in the resulting contests there was both give and take…

[UPDATED 29 August 2021]

Saturday, 31 July 2021

What A Library Should Be Like, 1924

Richard Le Gallienne's “What A Library Should Be Like: Some Suggestions For Those To Whom Books and Their Heritage Are Precious” appeared in House and Garden in December 1924 (here). Le Gallienne (1866–1947) was a prolific author and poet, contributor to The Yellow Book, and one-time lover of Oscar Wilde, who married three times, living in the US before settling in Menton (near Nice), France.

It appears that Le Gallienne had a very nice library later in life. According to Wikipedia:

During the Second World War he was prevented from returning to his Menton home and lived in Monaco for the rest of the war. His house in Menton was occupied by German troops and his library was nearly sent back to Germany as bounty. Le Gallienne appealed to a German officer in Monaco, who allowed him to return to Menton to collect his books.

Although this bibliophic advice was written by a practice-what-you-preach aesthete, it seems not to have been reprinted in almost a century, and so I have transcribed it below. The full reference is: Richard Le Gallienne, “What A Library Should Be Like,” House and Garden, vol. 46 (December 1924): 58, 110, 112.

* * * * *


Some Suggestions For Those To Whom Books and Their Heritage Are Precious

JUST as there are gardens without souls, the loveless offspring of seedsmen's catalogs and newly acquired bank accounts, so is it with libraries. Neither have any more vital relation to their owners than an ice box, as little reflect their tastes, and are almost as seldom their personal concern.
  In English country houses the word library is often merely a euphemism for a combination of gunroom and smoking room. Guns, fishing rods, and pipe racks, with a copy of the Sporting Calendar, and a few old magazines, comprise its literature. We have all met such "libraries" in novels, and have wondered how the name chanced to be given to rooms where anything is to be found except a book or a reader.
  But there are libraries which do contain books in many and expensive "sets" that, in spite of them, still more drearily belie the description. These are even less often visited by friendly humanity, and their serried rows of uniform, morocco-bound volumes, frigidly enclosed behind glass doors, gleam lonely and uninviting as cabinets of minerals in a museum. Such libraries, we have been told, are bought by the yard like wall papers, irrespective of their literary contents, and have even less character than the other furnishings of the house, of which they form a regulation part. Obviously, these are not the libraries with which we have here to do.
  By a library we mean, of course, a cherished collection of books, and the room in which those books are sympathetically housed, a room that has taken on an unmistakable bookish character from their presence.

OUR library may be in the house or outside it, in a garden or in a woodland, by a stream among the rocks. It may be high up in a city garret, or it may be the warm heart of a palace. If one has a garden, there is no happier place for our library. "A library in a garden!" exclaims Mr. Edmund Gosse in one of his essays, "The phrase seems to contain the whole felicity of man!"
  The association of trees and books is, indeed, as old as the very derivations of the words "book" and "library," which are almost identical. Is not the word "book" derived from the Anglo-Saxon and German words for the beech tree (boce and buche) because the ancient Saxons and Germans did their first writing on beechen boards! And similarly the Latin word "liber" meant the inner bark of a tree used for writing on, before it meant "book," and gave us "library." When we reflect that the paper on which our books are printed is made from wood pulp, it will be seen that we arc still, in a sense, writing on the bark of trees, and the thought is worth playing with for a fanciful moment. The leaves of our books and the leaves on our garden trees should, therefore, feel at home together, being both made of the same mysterious substance, and when we bring our books into the garden it is but bringing them back to their green birthplace. And anyone who has built a library in a garden knows how at home indeed they are there. How the peace of both embrace and supplement each other, and, as we sit with our library door open on quiet summer afternoons, or on early mornings with the delicate sunlight playing tenderly like visible music on the nut-brown bindings, "while to and fro the room go the soft airs," the very stillness rarifies our minds, and the thoughts behind the words we read seem to steal out of themselves from the page, with the dews of their first utterance yet bright upon them. The low whisperings of the trees and the quiet talk of the books seem one, in a rare equilibrium of the soul. Yes! Mr. Gosse was right. A library in a garden! The phrase does contain the whole felicity of man!

YET it does not exhaust it. There are many other modes of felicity for a man who really loves his books whose library is the organic growth of years of collecting together those books and those only which sensitively express himself, and surround him like his own soul, his memories and his dreams, externalised in a companionable embodiment. Such a book lover will often indulge himself in imagining the many various libraries he might create for himself, like so many bookish castles in Spain. Sometimes he may dream of the libraries of great book lovers of the past. For example, if he is an omnivorous bibliomaniac, and never can have enough books about him, he may recall with envy the huge collection of Richard Heber, that "fiercest and strongest of all the bibliomaniacs," to whom Sir Walter Scott dedicated the sixth canto of Marmion. Heber is credited with owning at least 150,000 volumes, and for those as crazy as he the romantic thing about his "library" was that it was not all in one place. Eight houses were needed to hold it, all in different places, some in England, and some in ancient cities of Europe. Never was such a book glutton, a "hellus librorum." But think of the romantic adventure of pilgrimaging from one of his eight libraries to the other, the perpetual novelty of visiting and re-visiting his various Castles in Spain.

  However, I doubt whether the reader is with me in this rhapsody. Probably his dream of a library is something more sensible and static, and I dare say Montaigne's library in his old Gascon tower would be more to his taste. Indeed, who has not dreamed of that, and, well as it is known to us, it will be pertinent, and indeed practical, to quote something of his description: "'Tis in the third Story of a Tower of which the Ground-Room is my Chapel, the second Story an Apartment with a withdrawing Room and Closet, where I often lie to be more retired. Above it is a great Wardrobe, which formerly was the most useless part of the House. In that library I pass away most of the Days of my Life, and most of the Hours of the Day. In the Night I am never there. There is within it a Cabinet handsome and neat enough, with a very convenient Fire-place for the Winter, and Windows that afford a great deal of light, and very pleasant Prospects. … The Figure of my Study is round, and has no more flat Wall than what is taken up by my Table and Chairs; so that the remaining parts of the Circle present me a View of all my Books at once, set upon five Degrees of Shelves-round about me. It has three noble and free Prospects, and is sixteen Paces Diameter." Montaigne continues that only from fear of that "Trouble that frights me from all [page 111] Business," he had refrained from building on either side, "a Gallery of an hundred Paces long and twelve broad," because "every Place of Retirement requires a Walk." If we add those galleries for him in our imagination, can one conceive a library more after one's own heart! Here once more in another form is Mr. Gosse's "whole felicity of man." Perhaps some reader of this essay may have the whim—and the money—to reconstruct this old library in Montaigne's tower, not forgetting to complete it with the galleries.
  Wherever our library be situated, in a garden, in an ancestral tower, in some quaint old town with gables and belfries, or in a modern American city, the first condition of its being a real library, with the true library atmosphere, where the books can really breathe and live for us, instead of being merely stored, is that the room should not be stiff and formal. It should not be a square room, or a room we can see all at once. The one defect, to my mind, in Montaigne's library, though he himself esteemed it an advantage, was that he could see all his books at once.

  In this respect a library should be like a garden. The garden we can see all at once is not a garden but merely an horticultural exhibit. It has no surprises. And a library, similarly, should have room for surprises. It should be rambling in shape, or made to appear so. The [page 112] letter T, or better still, the letter I, with broad top and bottom, is a good ground plan. It should have two stone fireplaces, so disposed that one can only be seen at a time, roomy and hospitable, with deep angles, and there should be many alcoves, and nooks and corners, some with low windows and wide window seats. It should either be a room with low ceilings, and massive rafters of black oak, or it should be high, with galleries and winding stairways, and hidden some where in the galleries again should be other nooks, some with windows of richly dyed cathedral glass. One or two tiny rooms, with old tapestries for portieres, might be devised, suggesting secrecy and arcane mysteries; and everything, indeed, should be done to tempt the presiding genius of libraries, the nymph Quits, to make her abode there. Here and there should be bowls of roses, early violets, or drowsy wallflowers, and in some secluded corner the still statue of a goddess should come upon us with a white surprise. An old painting or two of some great dead scholar should be enshrined in hushed recesses, Erasmus, say, or Robert Burton of "The Anatomy of Melancholy"; and whatever other such objects of the sister arts are there should be un exciting, but with a quiet thrill in them, full of "whispers and of shadows."

  As for the bookshelves, they should be open, none of your forbidding glass doors, with locks and keys, behind which the books seem cold and distant as the coffined dead. Yet here and there an old Chippendale bookcase for rarities and delicate bindings, might blend its old world elegance and quaint lozenged panes, companionably among the open shelves. As for bindings, the old books will, of course, wear their old weathered coats of ribbed time-brown leather, or time-yellowed vellum. On these the morning sun and the evening lamplight fall most lovingly; and modern books, too, are best left in their original cloth which also soon take on a certain mellowness, as their different colors add variety to the whole informal, haphazard harmony. Nor should any uniformity in the heights of the volumes be aimed at. Nothing is so monotonous and un-suggestive to the eye, and so destructive of that gregariousness of all sorts and conditions of writers that counts for so much in the companionability of a library. "Sets" we must have, but these can be so disposed amid the general pattern as to give it firmness, without destroying its wayward charm.
  There is no need to speak of wall papers, for no wall space will be visible, as the library will be furnished from ceiling to floor with the most satisfactory mural decorations yet invented, namely—books; and, as to general furniture, such as tables and chairs, all that need be said is that they should be solid, simple, comfortable, and distinguished, Elizabethan and Jacobean, for preference, breathing austerity and reverie. And there should be Renaissance cabinet and writing desks with secret drawers. Which reminds me that one of those tiny hidden rooms above referred to should be accessible only by a sliding panel, the spring of which should be known only to the master of the library. And the library, too, should be provided with what one might call a postern, masked by shelves opening inward at a touch, and communicating with a private staircase, by which the master could escape intrusion at a moment's notice; for in a sense a library should be a fortress, a fortress of the soul, ready to repel attack by all enemies of quietude and dreams.
  For the essence of a library is solitude—solitude in the society of the choicest spirits of Time and Eternity. No idle creatures of a day should have entrance there.


[UPDATED 9 August 2021]

Sunday, 18 July 2021

Chapbook Illustration and the History of Dr. Faustus

Thanks to Giles Bergel et al., bibliographers of the (very) long eighteenth-century have a valuable new widget for image-matching woodblocks. The widget was developed by Bergel et al. to search of woodblock illustrations in Scottish chapbooks held in the National Library of Scotland.

Importantly, said widget—"NLS Chapbooks"—has an external search function, allowing you to "Search using your own image" (see here) in much the same way you can conduct image searches using Google Images (here) etc.

As I have said recently (here), that the lack of a "Search using your own image" function, is the largest (remaining) limit on the utility of Hazel Wilkinson's otherwise outstanding "Compositor" (aka Fleuron 2.0).

Knowing this—and my interest in this subject generally—David Levy kindly sent me the details of the "NLS Chapbooks" search engine and a link to a very informative video of Bergel's NLS talk "Exploring Chapbooks Printed in Scotland with Machine Vision" (here).

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Conveniently, I had the perfect candidate to test the "NLS Chapbooks" search function: the image above that appears on a chapbook History of Dr. Faustus, which I blogged about in 2010 (here). The result of my search was extremely gratifying. As you can see, it matched the image to seven items (listed below)—one of them from my copy of the History of Dr. Faustus—before the algorithm failed.

Something that should be immediately obvious, even in the small images above, is that the block has been intentionally altered—or "diminished" as Bergel explains in his talk (starting at 35.00). A halberd, a late eighteenth century version of the pole-axe-spear-weapon, is present in five of the seven images, but is missing from the two issues of the History of Dr. Faustus.

A closer examination of the seven images reveals two much more subtle changes: a very small chip in the hat (which seems to be some sort of French military bicorn hat), that becomes progressively less small, and a very small crack adjacent to that chip, which becomes progressively larger.

Above, we see the four distinct states or forms of this block represented by the NLS images, with the changes mentioned: [1] undamaged; and [2] tiny chip to hat (1st image below); [3] small chip and second tiny crack; and [4] large chip and small crack (2nd image below). The last of these corresponds with the block's de-halberdising.

Looking just at the just the top of the hat, this progression is a bit clearer—despite the pixilation at the magnification necessary.

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The pixilation is a clear indication of the path to further progress. The excellent work by Bergel and his team may not be reproducible by Wilkinson (using images from ECCO), because the images she is working with are at a lower resolution that the NLS images. (NLS Chapbooks download at approximately 350dpi, ECCO images at 72dpi.)

Like decent OCR, matching user-supplied images requires more detailed images to reduce the number of false positives. This suggests the utility of ECCO upgrading at least a proportion of their scans with fresh photography, to improve OCR (which they now supply) as well as this sort of image-searching functionality.

But even when working with better images, such as those in the NLS Chapbooks series, resolution sets limits in identifying the sort of progressive damage to blocks seen above. This, in turn, suggests that the optimal image resolution is probably 600dpi—which has long been the digital archive standard.

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One final point to make about the items listed below, with NLS cataloguing links, is that the suggested date of publication for these items at NLS will have to be re-considered. Judging from the ornament damage, the earliest item (Three Scotch songs) cannot be "1850–1860?" if the History of Dr. Faustus is "1840–1850?" etc.

Also, if the History of Dr. Faustus is the final form of this block, then it should also be clear that the person depicted in this block is neither Faustus not Mephistopheles—nor anyone else from the History of Dr. Faustus for that matter. As Edward J. Cowan and Mike Paterson explain:

"It was often felt necessary to ornament the front cover with a picture , and a woodcut usually served this purpose—even if it had been used several times before, was fairly crudely executed and made only an indirect allusion (if any at all) to the content." (Folk in Print: Scotland's Chapbook Heritage, 1750-1850 (2007), 13).

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State 1: spear; no chip
Three Scotch songs: Donald Caird. Bundle and go. The Haughs of Crumdel (Glasgow: Printed for the booksellers, [1850–1860?]) [L.C.2845(30)] NLA catalogue entry.

State 2: spear; tiny chip
John Falkirk's cariches: to which is added Tam Merrilees; a capital story (Glasgow: Printed for the booksellers, [1840-1850?]), E [L.C.2852.C(10)] ¶ issue with number NLA catalogue entry; E [L.C.2848(1)]. ¶ issue without number NLA catalogue entry.

State 3: spear; small chip, 2nd tiny chip
Four popular songs: viz. Glasgow fair; Oh what a parish. A beauty I did grow; and The adventures of a shilling (Glasgow: Printed for the booksellers, [1850–1860?]), E [L.C.2845(32)] NLA catalogue entry.

The Haughs of Crumdel: to which is added, It fell upon the Martinmas time. Wilt thou go my bonny lassie? (Glasgow: Printed for the booksellers, [1850–1860?]), E [L.C.2845(5)] NLA catalogue entry.

State 4: no spear; large chip, 2nd small chip
History of Dr. Faustus: shewing his wicked life and horrid death, and how he sold himself to the devil, to have power for 24 years, to do what he pleased, also many strange things done by him with the assistance of Mephostophiles. With an account how the devil came for him at the end of 24 years, and tore him to pieces (Glasgow: Printed for the booksellers, [1840–1850?]), [L.C.2852.E(24)] NLA catalogue entry; L.C.2847(6)] ¶ issue without number NLA catalogue entry.

[UPDATED 2021.07.19]