Monday, 12 September 2016

William Hatchett on Wikipedia

I finally got around to creating a Wikipedia entry on William Hatchett. There was no page up to 2011, and since 2011 there has only been a redirect to the entry for Haywood.

My earliest experiences on Wikipedia were a little bruising: I had all my edits undone after a sub-editor took exception to something I posted. Not wanting a lot of my time wasted, I have avoided any substantial edits. But, since my new Wikipedia entry on enfer has been allowed to stand, I thought I'd risk another.

If you see any errors, omissions, infelicities etc., please feel free to edit accordingly.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Marginal Notes: Social Reading and the Literal Margins

The Centre for the Book, Monash University, in collaboration with the Centre for the Book, University of Otago and The State Library of Victoria, are hosting:

Marginal Notes: Social Reading and the Literal Margins. A One-Day Conference and Masterclass.

Conference date: Friday 23 September; from 8.30am to 5.30pm.
Venue: State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, Seminar Rooms 1 (enter via La Trobe St.).

Keynote Speakers:

  • Prof. Pat Buckridge, Griffith University, Queensland, “The Ethics of Annotation: Reading, Studying and Defacing Books in Australia”
  • Prof. Bill Sherman, Director of Research and Collections, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, “Reading as a Visual and Theatrical Mode”

  • This conference will investigate marginalia in texts from the early modern period to the present, with a particular focus on the interpretative challenges posed by marginalia in the literal margin—whether encountered directly, via digital surrogate or in mediated form. Speakers include:
    • Matthew Symonds, University College London, "Archaeologies of Reading: early modern reading strategies and the digital humanities"
    • Steven Olsen-Smith, Boise State University, "'Almost Unknown to the General Reader': Herman Melville’s Recovered Copy of Thomas Warton’s History of English Poetry"
    • Dennis C. Marnon, Houghton Library, Harvard University, "'Oh! Oh! This Is Too Much': An Old Tub-Oarsman Heavily Annotates a Copy of Moby-Dick, Ridiculing the Author’s Whalemanship and Sharing His Own Knowledge of the Sea"
    • Wei Yinzong, University of British Columbia, "Marginalia as a Communication Node: A Case Study"
    • Ruth Knezevich, University of Otago, "Theorizing the Romantic Margin: Byron’s Hyper-Textual Network"
    • Diana Barnes, University of Queensland, "Affecting Social Gloss in late sixteenth century English Print Poetry"
    • James Gourley, Western Sydney University, "Wallace Reading Kafka: Tornadic Bureaucracy in The Pale King"
    • Véronique Duché, University of Melbourne, "Gohory’s Poliphile"
    • Julia Kuehns and Meredith McCullough, University of Melbourne Library, "In his own hand: marginalia and annotations in the Nicholas O’Donnell Collection, Newman College"
    • Merete Colding Smith, University of Melbourne Library, "C’est Mon Livre ce n’est pas le tien mon ami"
    • Brian McMullin, Monash University, "Anonymous vs. Celebrity in Scott’s Antiquary"
    • Wallace Kirsop, Monash University, "An Obsessive Annotator: the Case of Michel Adanson
    • Jocelyn Hargrave, Monash University, "Authorial metalanguage within the margins of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Poems (Ashley MS 408)"
    Participants can register for the conference here. Normal registration: A$110.00; student: A$80.00. The conference is fully-catered (morning and afternoon tea, lunch and all day beverages). The conference dinner (A$65.00) will be at The Moat, Basement, 176 Little Lonsdale Street.

    Prof. Pat Buckridge will be conducting a three-hour masterclass on Monday 26 September (10am-1pm) on “Interpreting marginalia and the history of reading”. (Unfortunately, as a result of last-minute changes, Prof. Bill Sherman’s masterclass has had to be cancelled.)

    A fee of $20.00 applies to the masterclass; which will be held in the Rare books area of the State Library of Victoria (meet in the Swanson St foyer).

    For further information, please contact the conference convenors:
    Dr. Patrick Spedding (
    Dr. Paul Tankard (

    Tuesday, 30 August 2016

    The Enfer on Wikipedia

    When I was preparing my Foxcroft lecture I noticed that there was no entry on Wikipedia (in English) for the Enfer at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, a quite poor entry (in French), but an excellent one (in German).

    And so, as a prelude to creating a list of Private Case collections on Wikipedia, I decided to have a bash at translating the German entry into English. Thanks Google Translate! The new Wikipedia entry is here. If you see any errors, omissions, infelicities etc., please feel free to edit accordingly. And, since it is flagged as an orphan, please add links too!

    I hope to expand on it, and the Private Case entry, later on—probably when I am writing up my Foxcroft lecture for publication in the new year.

    Thursday, 25 August 2016

    Brief instructions on how to lose a chapbook

    Two eighteenth century chapbook editions of a Brief instructions for the pious Christian; or, a sure guide to Heaven. By the late Bishop Beveridge appear on ESTC: both records are based on a single copy; both copies appear to be mis-dated on ESTC. I bought my copy of Brief instructions (ESTC t166937) off eBay six years ago, for a very modest sum, and for the shallowest of reasons: I noticed that it had some very pretty type and woodcut ornaments! (For which, see below.)

    The publishers, not clearly identified in the imprint, and not mentioned on ESTC are Cleur Dicey and Richard Marshall, whose famous, and much-studied, 1764 wholesale trade Catalogue of chapbooks, songs, prints, maps etc. is now available online here. Brief instructions appears, rather incongruously it seems—as R. C. Simmons notes—on page 92, as “Godly” eight-page “Patter” no.30.

    Although Dicey and Marshall continued in business until the end of the century there seems no reason to accept the date suggested for ESTC t166937 of “1780?”: the 1760s seems much more likely.

    My copy has survived folded, as issued; not sewn, bound or trimmed. It probably survived, forgotten, between the pages of a book. I can vouch for the likelihood of this. I put my copy between the pages of a large paperback to protect it while carrying it to my office, and promptly forgot about it. Six years later, idly leafing through the book—to see if there was any reason I shouldn’t get rid of it to make room for something else—I was shocked to rediscover Beveridge’s Brief instructions tucked under the cover!

    Having come so close to throwing away this exceptionally rare chapbook, I thought I should make amends by posting a few photos of it. When photographing the skull and crossbones printers’ ornament, and the woodcut of hell-mouth, I was taken in by the texture of the paper, and so a few of the photos below are intended to highlight this, but the lighting has given a sepia colour to the photos.

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    Wednesday, 24 August 2016

    A very crude Gardner ornament catalogue, 1995

    In my recent “Checklist” of Thomas Gardner’s ornament stock (link to article here), I mentioned that I compiled a very crude catalogue of Gardner ornaments in 1995, by sketching some of the ornaments into a notebook that I carried from library to library. I have recently been scanning and disposing of some old files, in the process of which I re-discovered my 1995 notebooks. So I thought I’d post a few images here as a kind-of footnote to my article.

    From my notes it appears that I did my first sketches in mid-September 1995 at Oxford, while examining a copy of Da.5.1 The Right Honourable, Sir Robert Walpole, (Now Earl of Orford) Vindicated. My transcript for this item describes the ornaments as “unidentified”—but by the time my Bibliography was published, I had identified these as “by Thomas Gardner.”

    There are eight Garner ornaments in Sir Robert Walpole Vindicated, all of which I sketched: three headpieces (H06, H08 [broken form], H17; T09), three tailpieces (T07, T11, T05), and a factotum (F05). I used these to identify six Gardner items (including this one) in my Bibliography.

    As I have said, my method was crude, and it appears even more crude today, with high-definition digital cameras on every mobile phone, and very relaxed attitudes about photography in most libraries. But, at the time, it was difficult and risky carrying around high-quality cameras (my prized Pentax was stolen on my first night

    A final thought about these sketches: as well as identifying Gardner as the publisher of a handful of the works I examined, I also identified a few Woodfall ornaments not in Goulden’s catalogue. The latter discovery was the subject of my 2003 article “A note on the ornament usage of Henry Woodfall” (in the BSANZ Bulletin), the former resulted in my 2015 article “Thomas Gardner’s ornament stock: A Checklist” (in Script and Print): eight years and twenty years (!!) later.

    I have previously blogged about the ten-year gap between discovering the common mistake of assuming that Fanny had an obscene meaning in the eighteenth century, and publishing an article on the subject with James Lambert (see here). It appears that I have a new, solo, record for lengthy research-to-publication, and a new example to offer of the difficulty of measuring “impact” on very short time frames.

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