Saturday, 2 December 2017

Eliza Haywood’s House in the Great Piazza

My 2011 article on “Eliza Haywood at the Sign of Fame” discusses—in great detail—two advertisements I found for the April 1744 sale of “The genuine Household Goods of Mrs. Eliza Haywood, Publisher, at her House in the Great Piazza, next Russell-Street, Covent-Garden” (a copy of this article is on the Monash Repository here). The closing paragraph to my article reads:

While our perception of Haywood’s finances may have a significant influence on our interpretation of the motives for her actions, Haywood's publishing activity at the “Sign of Fame” is now far less open to speculation. We know exactly how long this publishing venture lasted; the number of works known to be published and sold there has been increased and these works have been more accurately dated. We also know exactly where Haywood lived and worked, have a floor-plan of her lodgings and a crude catalogue of the contents of this house. And if one minutely examines the drawings, paintings and engravings of this section of Covent Garden from the period one can easily imagine a painting of Fama Bona—in flowing while robes, with wings stretched out behind her, a golden trumpet held to her lips by her right hand, and a laurel wreath or an olive branch raised in her other—on a wooden board swinging above the figures who pass along the arcade and into Haywood's shop.

I wrote imagine in the closing sentence of the above paragraph because, having minutely examined the drawings, paintings and engravings of this section of Covent Garden from the period, I can not be certain I have actually seen Haywood’s shop sign (Fame) or a detailed image of the shop-front from the early 1740s. However, some near-contemporary (i.e. broadly mid-eighteenth century) views of Covent Garden, appear to provide some detail of the building Haywood inhabited in the period 1742–44. One of those views is the subject of today’s post. But first I should explain: the corner building that Haywood occupied—which has since been demolished—was nos. 18 and 19 of the Great Piazza. The eastern face of what was the Great Piazza is now occupied by a part of the Royal Opera House complex, most obviously by the Floral Hall. At street level in the Piazza (now called the “New Arcade”) there are a number of shops. The section of Russell Street adjacent to this block is now called, in some maps, “Culverhay.”

Nos. 18 and 19 of the Great Piazza were the southernmost of what had been Sir Edmund Verney’s two houses, which sat between Covent Garden Theatre and Russell Street on the eastern side of the Piazza. The Survey of London volume covering the Piazza helpfully includes the map of Covent Garden I have used above and a conjectural reconstruction of this four/five story building based on detailed inventories from 1634. While it is not difficult to see, from the reconstructed floor plans, how Verney’s two houses were laid out, it is not so easy to see how the southernmost house (Haywood’s) was divided in two by “Samuel Bever, Esqr.” in about 1740, shortly before Haywood moved in. Apparently, the twelve rooms of this property (nos. 18 and 19) were divided so that one residence faced the Piazza and the other faced Russell Street.

The view below, by T. Sandby, is from roughly the position I have marked "X" in the above plan of Covent Garden. It was originally published in 1766; it was reissued by Edward. Rooker in 1768; John Boydell in 1777, as a part of in his “Six Views of London” series; and it was published again Boydell in 1777 (on a reduced scale). The images I use in this post are from this smaller version of the view (160 x 225mm instead of 410 x 553mm), a copy of which I bought in 2011. Low-resolution copies of this view are available online, but they are no use when you want to look at the details, like I do here. If I can ever afford the larger view, or one of the earlier engravings, I will. (Grosvenor Prints have had a copy of the large 1777 engraving for sale at £490, since at least 2011.)

In the view below, Covent Garden is seen from the south-east side of the Piazza, looking towards Covent Garden Theatre (at left) and the house Haywood’s occupied (at centre, partly obscured by a column). As you can see, there is a dog and various figures in the foreground, moving from right to left these appear to be: a woman selling goods in the shadow of the colonnade, a group of beggars, a sleeping chair-carrier, a man having his shoes shined, a boy with a hoop, a couple walking towards the theatre, and two boys playing marbles; further back we see people leaning on in shop windows and on wooden railings and selling goods from large baskets in the middle of the square.

In the gap between two columns, above and behind the beggars, appears to be either no. 18 or 19 of the Great Piazza.

Looking closer, we can see coach (far left), someone entering an open doorway (left), and shop windows (right); above both the door and the shop-windows are small, upper windows. Beneath the upper window (at right) is a partial-view of a shop sign or lamp.

Looking closer still, at pretty-close to maximum magnification (2400dpi scan), confirms the impression that this is a shop-sign, not a lamp, but that is all, there are no further details to be recovered.

From what I have seen in other views of Covent Garden—and there are a surprisingly large number of these—I am pretty confident this is the shop that had been Haywood’s Sign of Fame. I will do a post on what Haywood’s signboard may have look like another time. And I may do one with a number of views of the general area, and the contents of her house. But for now I will content myself with a few more details of the figures in this view.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Representing Little Merlin’s Cave, 1737 to 1741

I have a pretty limited knowledge of incunabula and post-incunabula printing, but it seems that woodblock images were often copied, re-purposed and re-used. And it seems a quite a lot of book-historical and art-historical research goes into tracing the histories of particular images and tropes, and the work of particular artists. A good example of this sort of scholarship is Charles Zika’s, The Appearance of Witchcraft: Print and Visual Culture in Sixteenth-Century Europe (London: Routledge, 2007), which traces a myriad of witchy-themed woodblocks between unrelated texts.

Although woodblock printer’s ornaments were copied and frequently re-used in the eighteenth century—I have written a few articles and blog posts on this subject—illustrative artwork, often engraved, appears to have been less frequently copied, or has less often been the subject of book-historical studies. (And here I am excluding commonplace and expected duplication: the copying of engravings between editions or when a work was translated.) Of this type of copying, I can only think of three examples. I mentioned the first of these in a footnote in my article “Imagining Eliza Haywood,” (Eighteenth-Century Fiction, 29, no. 3 (2017): 360n45), as follows:

Although engraved plates could be “transposed from book to book” … this practice appears to have been uncommon. See Thomas Stretser, Merryland Displayed (London: J. Leake, 1741), 16: “after he [Curll] found the Pamphlet pirated, to make his differ from the pirated Editions, he adds a Frontispiece ... This Plate I find was engraved so long ago as the Year 1712, for the use of Mr Rowe’s Translation of Quillet’s Callipædia, then published by Mr. Curll, and has served for several Books since, particularly the Altar of Love, and Mrs. Singer’s Poems.”

The second example I have noticed is the close-copying of the frontispiece from the first volume of The Ladies Library. Written by a Lady. Published by Mr. Steele, 3 vol. (London: Jacob Tonson, 1714), which appears in the third volume of Eliza Haywood’s La Belle Assemblee (London: D. Browne [et al.], 1731). I did a blog post about this almost seven years ago now (here). Although I have two copies of the Haywood volume, I still haven’t picked up a cheap copy of The Ladies Library, so I haven’t been able to update that post with better images. Meh.

The third example I have noticed of this sort of re-use, set out below, is far more interesting in many ways, since it involves erotic artwork and a more varied form of re-use.

* * * * *

An engraved vignette headpiece, with a somatopic design, appears [1] at the start of the text of Little Merlin’s Cave. As it was lately discover’d, by a Gentleman’s Gardener, in Maidenhead-Thicket (London: T. Read, 1737). The design was copied twice and modified to represent “Merryland,” early and late 1741: as [2] the frontispiece to Arbor Vitæ: Or, The Natural History Of The Tree Of Life (London: E. Hill, 1741) and, reversed, as [3] a folding, engraved plate (above) in A New Description of Merryland, “Eight [sic] Edition” (Bath: J. Leake and E. Curll, [1741]).

A few explanations: a somatopia is a literary conceit, in which a utopian landscape is comprised of a human body—almost always a woman’s body. The term was coined by Darby Lewes in 2000. A New Description of Merryland was a hugely popular somatopia written by Thomas Stretser, which I have often mentioned on this blog, and which has its own Wikipedia page (here).

Below are the engraved vignette, frontispiece and folding plate, cropped and reversed (where necessary) to make the comparison easier.

Note how in [1] the recumbent female landscape exists, in 1737, in isolation; later, in [2] early 1741, an erect penis is added in the foreground; later still, in [3] considerable detail is added when the engraving was enlarged, but the view remains unchanged. Below are [1] and [2] with the changed section in a red box for ease of comparison.

At some point in the future I will do a post on Merlin’s Cave in the Royal Gardens at Richmond, created under the direction of Queen Caroline, the elaboration of grottos as sexual metaphors, and the construction of somatopic gardens more generally. For now it is enough to say that “Merlin’s Cave”—an above-ground “grotto”—was the talk of the town in London in the late 1730s. There is an excellent post on this subject, with lots of pictures, here. Omitted from the discussion is the fact that Caroline’s “grotto” was the inspiration for Little Merlin’s Cave. As it was lately discover’d, by a Gentleman’s Gardener, in Maidenhead-Thicket—and the rather naughty series of images above.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Bibliomania, The Evidence Accumulates

Fortunately, “bibliomania is not a psychological disorder recognized by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. However, according to Mark D. Griffiths, “taxonomic collecting” (“attempt[ing] to own an example of every type of a series of items produced”) and “the multiple purchasing of the same book” are probably either “fetishistic” or a symptom of an obsessive-compulsive disorder. While Griffiths notes that there is “very little academic research on the topic”—research reviewed in his article—he concludes that “book collecting can be compulsive.”

It is unlikely anyone who has jokingly described themselves as a bibliomaniac will disagree with this conclusion, just as it is unlikely that many of these same people are likely to agree with Freud that collecting is “a manifestation of anal-erotic impulses” or a “neurotic defence against pre-oedipal or oedipal traumas”—statements also quoted by Griffiths. In Civilisation and its Discontents (1930), 56–57, Freud argues, that “putting out fire by urinating” on it represents a “sexual act” and that controlling this desire is an achievement, a heterosexual masculine victory of culture-over-nature which is both “without a prototype” and “impossible” for women. Which tells you a great deal about Freud and his credibility, and very little about fire. And the capacity of women to urinate on it.

Returning to taxonomic collecting and purchasing multiple copies of the same book—if these are symptoms of bibliomania, then I am a bibliomaniac. In 1887, Augustine Birrell said, in relation to book collecting, that “until you have ten thousand volumes the less you say about your library the better.” But I am talking about bibliomania, not book-collecting, and by Griffiths’ definition, it is possible to be a bibliomaniac by repeatedly buying copies of only one book. Buying a dozen copies of Birrell’s Obiter Dicta, for instance, would be enough to make you a bibliomaniac.

Anyway, I was thinking about compulsive behaviour the other day when two more sets of Haywood’s Female Spectator arrived—these being my sixth and seventh set of the “Second” edition, i.e. Ab.60.5 the first London, duodecimo edition, which is not really the second London edition, and was not the first duodecimo edition. When I set out, without much premeditation, to collect Haywood taxonomically, I had not thought that I would end up with so many “duplicates” as well. Of course, very few hand-press books are genuine "duplicates" bibliographically-speaking (there are often slight differences, as I discuss here), and every book has its own history, more or less recoverable, which makes it unique (even volumes from the same set, as I discuss here).

Still, seven sets of the 1748 “Second” London edition does seem excessive, even to me. The vendor, whose outstanding collection on Hume ended up as in a Japanese university, assured me that he had had a dozen copies of many of Hune's works before he parted with his collection. And David Levy assures me that his Hoyle collection also includes a significant number of “duplicates” of some items. Both said I had nothing to be concerned about. But I am not sure I should be taking advice from people whose bibliomania is more advanced than my own.

Having gone online to self-diagnose, I found the Wikipedia entry on Bibliomania, and passed from that to the article by Griffiths, which I have been quoting from (“In Excess. Hooked and Booked. A brief look at bibliomania,” Psychology Today, 17 September 2013). Having read Griffiths’ essay, it appears that I now have to decide which diagnosis is worse, an obsessive-compulsive disorder or a paraphilia.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Knitting for Bibliographers, by Professor Greenough

As Wikipedia explains, Chester Noyes Greenough (1874–1938) was Professor of English (from 1915) and Dean at Harvard University (1919–27). Inasmuch as he is known to bibliographers today, he is known for his Bibliography of the Theophrastan Character (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1947) and his unpublished card catalogue of “English Prose Fiction, 1470-1832,” which is held at Harvard University’s Widener Library.

I was not aware of either work until quite recently, when I encountered a reference to the “Greenough catalogue” as a bibliographical reference to a “lost” work of eighteenth century erotica. Searching online, I found a few more references to this mysterious catalogue. A good example is, Allene Gregory, The French Revolution and the English Novel (New York: Putnam’s Sons, 1915), 321; Gregory writes “I wish to acknowledge an especial indebtedness to a manuscript card list of prose fiction by Professor C. N. Greenough, which formed the basis for my working list of Revolutionary fiction.”

In 1921, PMLA published an article by our good friend George F. Whicher—Eliza Haywood’s first bibliographer—as an appendix to their 1921 volume (George F. Whicher, “The Present Status of the Bibliography of English Prose Fiction between 1660 and 1800,”PMLA, 36 (1921): c–cvi). In it, Whicher describes how Greenough had compiled his catalogue. Describing two unpublished bibliographies, which have “carried forward the listing of prose fiction through the later years of the eighteenth century,” he explains,

One of them is the compilation of that indefatigable collector of literary information, Professor Chester N. Greenough of Harvard. He has collected between 3,000 and 4,000 titles covering the entire period—in fact his list extends to 1832—and has recorded editions besides the first. He has examined, though not with systematic thoroughness, the usual sources of bibliographical information. The feature of his collection which promises to be of greatest value is the large number of clippings from modern booksellers’ catalogues that it contains. As every student of the novel knows, editions and even books not available in any of the great libraries are constantly turning up in dealers’ lists. A collection of these items, such as Professor Greenough, may do much to supplement information gathered from other sources. Professor Greenough has courteously expressed his willingness to have his cards consulted by other workers in the bibliographical field.

(The second card catalogue, begun ca.1906 by John M. Clapp (1870–1953), was bequeathed to Whicher when Clapp retired as Head 
of the Department of English at Indiana University, ca. 1920. By 1922, it was in Amhurst College Library—for its fate, see below.)

Ruth Greenough’s account of her husband’s life, including his life as a scholar, was published in 1940. In this biography, she mentions Chester’s work on his catalogue of “English Prose Fiction”—which he referred to as his “B.P.F.” According to Ruth, Chester had an “almost boyish enthusiasm” when contemplating the “prospect of its attaining finished form” (Ruth Hornblower Greenough, Chester Noyes Greenough; an account of his life as teacher, dean, master & scholar (Cambridge, MA: Merrymount Press, 1940), 287). The “B.P.F.” was begun ca. 1920, “in the early years of his deanship to employ [his] spare moments” (287). The three or four thousand cards Whicher reports in 1922 grew to approximately two hundred thousand cards, catalogued under four hundred tentative subject headings, by the time of his death (286). Inspired by Robert Watt’s Bibliotheca Britannica; Or, A General Index to British and Foreign Literature (1824), Chester’s “B.P.F.” was both a productive way to use of his spare moments, and a break from his duties as Dean.

In 1929, after almost a decade of work on the project, Chester received some research funds, so he employed research assistants to expand on his work and—when this grant money ran out—continued to pay his RAs to work on it. Not surprisingly, Chester was very anxious to see the work finished: when he was Dean (1919–27), “he never ceased to regret … the fact that his own work was lying idle” (117), when he first received his grant money he advised his RA to “Spend like a drunken sailor!” (287), and even after he was paying for the work from his own pocket, he wanted his RA to “push faster”—increasing his hours to increase his output. Ruth says that “he kept a tray of cards” at hand, which he “played with, rearranged, added to” (117), “quieting his nerves by compiling, assorting and indexing the cards”—something “he called his knitting work” (287). His RA adds, “Often in spare moments before going to classes he would finger over the cards and express delight in the accumulation [he was making] for future scholars” (288).

* * * * *

Prof. Chester Noyes Greenough’s “accumulation” is described in a FAQ answer on the Harvard University Library website (here):

Professor Chester Noyes Greenough’s “Catalogue of English Prose Fiction, 1470-1832” is still an index card file kept in a large wooden case in Houghton Library. It is located in an area not normally open to the public, so it is necessary to contact Houghton to arrange to consult it in person:

The staff at the Haughton were kind enough to answer a query of mine concerning Frailties of Fashion; Or, Adventures of an Irish Smock (1782), which I have mentioned on this blog before (here) and which is the subject of a forthcoming essay I have co-authored for Notes and Queries, supplying images of the card concerned (front, above; back, below). As you can see, the card records the title, format, price, publisher, the novel is characterised (probably from a review), and it has been checked in the British Museum catalogue. It appears the initial details were taken from The Monthly Review; a subtitle and a reference were later added—“CR LV 234,” which is a reference to the Critical Review, 55 ([1783]): 234—plus information on cross-references from subtitle, and subjects (Ireland and Fashion)—later still, details taken from Jules Gay’s Bibliographie des ouvrages relatifs à l'amour, aux femmes, au mariage et des livres (1871), 1.36, were add to the back of the card. (Identifiable as such, since Gay is responsible for the ghost “Randall (1875?)” edition.)

Below the transcript from Gay on the back is a stamp: “This card given to the Harvard College Library by J. M. Clapp January, 1929”—a statement of provenance that explains the cataloguing date on the front “8.11.09” (i.e., 8 November 1909), a decade before Greenough commenced his “Catalogue of English Prose Fiction, 1470-1832,” but three years after Clapp began his. From these details it seems that Clapp’s card catalogue collections were bequeathed to Whicher, who passed them on to Amhurst (where they resided in 1922); but that the collection was passed on to Harvard in 1929—whether by Clapp (who was still alive), Whicher (ditto), or Amhurst itself, is unclear—and added to the Greenough “Catalogue,” precisely at the moment Greenough was dispersing grant money “like a drunken sailor” to accelerate the expansion of his own card catalogue. From which, it seems likely that the first hand is Clapp’s, and the remainder either Greenough’s or his RA’s.

In my database Checklist of Eighteenth-Century Erotica I record remarkably similar details to those recorded by Clapp and Greenough. Because of the limited scope of my Checklist (fewer than two thousand titles), and the greater ease with which details can be added to virtual “cards” in FileMaker, I have the luxury of adding more of the same sort of details: more detailed title-page information, more advertisements and reviews, more details of copies located, etc. So it is not really surprising that my working methods are also much the same, my regrets about being kept from my Checklist by teaching and admin, ditto, and now the name I use for the time I spend on what has become my “knitting.”

If the card above is typical of the Clapp/Greenough catalogue, as I am tempted to refer to it as now, it is a remarkable achievement. It is a shame it is not better known.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Early Reviews of Haywood's Memoirs of Utopia (1725–26)

The following note and editorial addition, concerning Haywood's Memoirs of a Certain Island Adjacent to the Kingdom of Utopia, appears in the Critical Review, 4 (November 1757): 272 (online here):

To the Author of the Critical Review.

  LAST winter a book called Modern Lovers was published, pr. 3 s. but in fact was only part of The Memoirs of Utopia. This month the same publisher has exhibited a book called Prostitutes of Quality, which is likewise extracted from Memoirs of Utopia, and yesterday a book was published, called Memoirs of B— Tracey, which in fact is only a part of an absence book, called A History of the Human Heart, which is not fit to be read by the public.

Nov. 26, 1757.
      Your obedient servant,
            T. L.

N. B. The authors of The Critical Review are obliged to T. L. for the above letter; and should be obliged to him for the same sort of information hereafter; for they would heartily join him in detecting such notorious and infamous impositions on the public.

The four works mentioned here are:

[1] Modern Lovers; Or, The Adventures of Cupid, the God of Love: A Novel (London: Printed for J. Cooke, at the King’s-Arms, in Great-Turnstile, Holbourn, 1756); ESTC: t66385.

[2] Prostitutes of Quality; Or, Adultery á-la-mode. Being Authentic and Genuine Memoirs of Several Persons of the Highest Quality (London: Printed for J. Cooke, and J. Coote, opposite Devereux-Court, in the Strand, 1757); ESTC: t46030.

[3] Memoirs of B— Tracey (London: Printed for J. King, in Great Turnstile, Holborn, [1757]); ESTC: t118902.

[4] A History of the Human Heart; Or, The Adventures of a Young Gentleman (London: Printed for J. Freeman, 1749); ESTC: n17696.

* * * * *

Putting aside, for a moment, the question of whether [1] Modern Lovers and [2] Prostitutes of Quality are, in fact, "only part of The Memoirs of Utopia"—the other two works are certainly related to each other: [3] Memoirs of B— Tracey is "in fact is only a part of" [4] A History of the Human Heart—about two-thirds of the former being a word-for-word reprint of the latter (i.e., about 214 of 314 pages). Both titles appear in George Colman's imaginary "Catalogue of a Circulating Library," as nos. 142 and 89, which I posted here.

T. L. wasn’t the only person to comment on the thefts. The Monthly Review, notes Memoirs of B— Tracey is “All stolen from a wretched book, published about seven years ago, entitled, The History of the Human Heart; and now imposed upon the Public for a new Work.” And the reviewer at Annales typographiques comments on “Mémoires du baron Tracey,” that it is “Pillé d'un mauvais livre publié il y a sept ans, intitulé: The history of the human heart [Stolen from a wicked book published seven years ago, entitled: The history of the human heart].

* * * * *

As for [1] Modern Lovers and [2] Prostitutes of Quality (Coleman nos. 153 and 163): both are comprised exclusively of unauthorised reprints from Haywood’s Memoirs of a Certain Island Adjacent to the Kingdom of Utopia (1725–26), 2 vols. The eighteen chapters of Modern Lovers being very lightly revised, out-of-sequence excerpts from Memoirs of Utopia (1725), 61–71, 89–91, 103–25, 140–74, 177–94, 196–210, 260–74; the six stories in Prostitutes of Quality being even more lightly revised, out-of-sequence excerpts from Memoirs of Utopia (1725), 58–71, 72–120, 121–26, 126–56, 265–75 and Memoirs of Utopia, vol.2 (1726), 126–40.

The publisher of these two unautorised reprints, J. Cooke, appended the following to his first volume of stolen text:

I am but just commenced Author, and therefore cannot form any Judgment of my Ability to please or instruct the Public; but one Thing I can venture to promise, that if this Performance meets with a general Approbation, the Public shall hear again from their
      Most obedient Servant,

The publisher's misdirection continued in the Gazetteer and London Daily Advertiser, 10 November 1756, where Cooke notes "Great Enquiry having been made to discover the Author of this Performance; this is to assure the Public … that the Characters herein are all general, and not pointed at any particular Person, as hath been most falsely suggested.”

In 1756, the Monthly Review did not recognise Cooke desception, commenting only that Cupid “is here made to relate a number of silly, barren stories, each chapter being a distinct history," and noting that "At the end of the book, the public is threatned with a future visitation from the same quarter.” That "future visitation" was [2] Prostitutes of Quality.

With the publication of Prostitutes of Quality in 1757, both the Critical Review and Monthly Review recognised Cooke desception. The Critical Review is quoted at the start of this post—the Monthly Review adds that Prostitutes of Quality is “Cull’d from the lewd Eutopian romances that so much delighted the chamber-maids and ’prentices of the last age:—Surely, such wretched author-craft cannot fail of its reward!”

What is particularly interesting here is to see the reaction of reviewers when confronted with Haywood’s early work—after her death—work that was published before any of these journals, dedicated to reviewing literature, were established. The Monthly Review described the passages from Memoirs of Utopia as "silly, barren stories" in 1756, and “lewd” and “wretched” in 1757, but there is a back-handed complement, a grudging recognition, that the book “delighted … chamber-maids and ’prentices.” T. L., however, identifies all of the works he(?) mentions as “not fit to be read by the public.”

* * * * *

BTW: I am not really sure what "an absence book" is, unless absence is Latinate pun with ab- and sense: ab- being a prefix meaning "off, away, from" and, therefore, absence may be synonymous with something like "senseless." But this is a stretch. If there is an accepted meaning of this word/phrase, I am not familiar with, and neither are the editors of the OED.

Alternatively, "an absence book" may be a book in which absentees from Sunday School were noted, i.e., a naughty-book. The phrase is first recorded in the early nineteenth-century, but may be earlier. See, for instance, here in Hints for Conducting Sunday Schools (1811).

[NOTE: this is a revised and expanded version of a post I did almost six years ago.]