Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Eliza Haywood Unpopular in the UK

It pains me to say this, but Eliza Haywood appears to be unpopular in the UK.

Early one Saturday morning, shortly after I did my most recent update of this page (which lists Haywood scholarship online), it occurred to me that most of the major Haywood critics seem to be based in the US. Since it was cold, and daylight was still hours away, I started flicking through my mental card file to identify anyone from the UK who has made a name for themselves in the last century or so, by writing about Haywood, or editing her works.

George Frisbie Whicher? No.
Mary Anne Schofield? No.
Christine Blouch? No.
Toni Bowers? No.
Patricia Meyer Spacks? No.
Kirsten T. Saxton? No.
Juliette Merritt? No.
Jerry C. Beasley? No.
Deborah Nestor? No.
Alexander Pettit? No.
Kathryn R. King? No.
Margaret Case Croskery? No.
Tiffany Potter? No.
Me! No.

The only Haywood scholar from the UK that I could think of, off the top of my head, was Kim Simpson. I wish Kim enormous success, but I am sure she would agree that she is still establishing herself in the field. Which got me thinking: how would you quantify, empirically, the extent to which other UK (or British) scholars have contributed to the field. As soon as I had worked something out, I jumped up and set to work.

It took all day—from dark to dark—but I managed to establish to my own satisfaction that British scholars have made no significant impact on recent Haywood studies. I set out my reasoning and results below, and the limit I set myself concerning how to define "recent" and "impact", but the searches that I conducted which go beyond the limits I set reinforce the impression of those results. That is, British scholars have not made a significant impact on Haywood studies generally.

Another impression I have is that many (perhaps "most") of the scholars, who have made an impact on Haywood studies, are not from top-ranked universities. University rankings are an unhealthy obsession of administrators, but the fact that I had not heard of a very large number of the institutions in question cannot be dismissed solely on the basis that I am an antipodean. I visited every library in the States with more than ten Haywood items in their collection: west-coast, mid-west, north-east and east coast. If I find myself with another day on my hands I might correlate scholars with original editions of her works. I suspect the relation is an inverse proportion.

It is quite likely that my revelation is no revelation to US-based scholars, who regularly attend conferences, and see few outlanders. If any such are reading this, I hope you enjoy finding that the evidence below supports your general impression, that Haywood studies are unpopular in the UK. If you have any theories concerning why that may be the case, I'd love to hear them.

* * * * *

I decided to use citation statistics to establish which essays are most frequently cited. I also decided to omit monograph books because there are very few of them, and none that I could think of had UK authors (Whicher, Schofield, Merritt, me, King). The best citation-indexing of literary Studies is by Google scholar (GS), so I used it, and compared Google to its competitors, focusing on citations from 2000 onwards.

Since I was primarly interested in literary studies scholars who had contributed to the study of Haywood's works as literature, I excluded biographical essays like Blouch's “Eliza Haywood and the romance of obscurity" [48 citations on GS], Backscheider's “The shadow of an author: Eliza Haywood” [27] and King's “Eliza Haywood, Savage Love, and Biographical Uncertainty” [13]. I also excluded comparative essays like H. Thompson, “Plotting materialism: W. Charleton's The Ephesian Matron, E. Haywood's Fantomina, and feminine consistency” [15] and M. N. Powell, “Parroting and the Periodical: Women's Speech, Haywood's Parrot, and Its Antecedents” [14].

The citation-indexing by Web of Science [WoS] is, in general, pitiful: no article about Haywood has more than eight citations on WoS, and none of the six essays with more than five citations are among the eleven with the highest citations on GS. Likewise, only six of the top eleven Google-listed articles appear on WoS, and these listings capture less than fifteen percent of the total citations for the same articles, as recorded by GS (18 versus 125 citations).

The citation-indexing of by Scopus is only slightly better than WoS: no article has more than eight citations on Scopus, and only three of the essays with more than five citations are among the dozen with the highest citations on GS. Likewise, while nine of the top eleven Google-listed articles appear on Scopus, these listings capture only about one quarter of the total citations for the same articles, as recorded by GS (44 versus 161 citations).

With these limits in mind, I was able to establish a list of the top eleven essays—eleven, because there was a tie for tenth place! These essays, with their citation statistics, are:

Lubey, K., “Eliza Haywood’s amatory aesthetic” (2006) [30; 8 on Scopus; 3 on WoS] ¶ focus on Lasselia
Anderson, E. H., “Performing the Passions in Eliza Haywood’s Fantomina and Miss Betsy Thoughtless” (2005) [24; 6 on Scopus; 2 of WoS]
Kvande, M., “The Outsider Narrator in Eliza Haywood’s Political Novels” (2003) [22; 5 on Scopus] ¶ focus on Memoirs of Utopia
Stuart, S., “Subversive Didacticism in Eliza Haywood’s Betsy Thoughtless” (2002) [19; 5 on Scopus; 4 on WoS]
Drury, J., “Haywood’s thinking machines” (2008) [14; 4 on Scopus; 0 on WoS]] ¶ focus on Love in Excess
Girten, K. M., “Unsexed Souls: Natural Philosophy as Transformation in Eliza Haywood’s Female Spectator” (2009) [14; 3 on Scopus; 2 on WoS]
Mowry, M. M., “Eliza Haywood’s Defense of London’s Body Politic” (2003) [14; 4 on Scopus] ¶ focus on Fantomina (1725) and The City Jilt (1726)
Pettit, A., “Adventures in pornographic places: Eliza Haywood’s Tea-Table and the decentering of moral argument” (2002) [13; 7 on Scopus; 5 on WoS]
Black, S., “Trading Sex for Secrets in Haywood’s Love in Excess” (2003) [12]
Potter, T., “The language of feminised sexuality: gendered voice in Eliza Haywood’s Love in Excess and Fantomina” (2003) [11]
Hultquist, A., “Haywood’s Re-Appropriation of the Amatory Heroine in Betsy Thoughtless” (2006) [11; 2 on Scopus; 2 on WoS]

The affiliations of these scholars are:

Kathleen Lubey, St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, NY
Emily Hodgson Anderson, University of Southern California's Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, CA
Marta Kvande, Texas Tech University, TX
Shea Stuart, Gardner-Webb University, Boiling Springs NC
Joseph Drury, Villanova University, English Department, Villanova, PA
Kristin M. Girten, University of Nebraska, NE
Melissa M. Mowry, St. John's University, Staten Island NY
Alex Pettit, University of North Texas, TX
Scott Black, University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT
Tiffany Potter, University of British Columbia, Canada
Aleksondra Hultquist, Stockton University, Galloway, NJ

So, there you have it: ten American-based scholars, and one Canadian-based scholar. So, why is Eliza Haywood Unpopular in the UK?

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Private Case items not on ECCO

While reviewing Patrick Kearney’s two bibliographies of the British Library’s Private Case holdings—his Private Case (1981), which lists items now in the Private Case, and his Supplement (2016), which lists items known to have once been in it—it occurred to me that I could use the data he provides to see whether the Private Case holdings continue to be systematically withheld from ECCO.

I have been curious concerning the presence of Private Case items on ECCO for a while. In my 2011 article “‘The New Machine’: Discovering the limits of ECCO” I mentioned that little of the Private Case material was on ECCO and that the material that had been included at the time of writing had only recently been added (ibid., 441). The main evidence I had to go on was that no Private Case items appear in the first eight thousand reels of the Eighteenth Century microfilm series (the basis of ECCO), and few had appeared thereafter (ibid., 451–52n37). (The first one appears to have been Thomas Stretser's New Description of Merryland, 4th ed. (1741); ESTC: t139065, which appeared on reel 8284 in 1986.)

I recently updated all the information in my Bibliography of Eliza Haywood about items on the Eighteenth Century microfilm series for a forthcoming essay (“The availability of Haywood’s works, editing and issues of bibliography”). And I have also now updated my Checklist of Eighteenth-Century Erotica, using the information from Kearney. I used the updated information about the Haywood corpus as a benchmark for the eighteenth-century works in English either in, or previously in, the Private Case.

My (long) experience using ECCO suggests that Haywood is pretty representative of British Library holdings in general: i.e., that close to three-quarters of all Haywood items on ECCO are sourced from the British Library, and almost everything at the British Library is on ECCO. These proportions seem to be true generally of British Library holdings on ESTC and ECCO.

As I explain below, when I compared the British Library’s holdings of Haywood items with past and present Private Case items, I discovered that, while a similar percentage of Haywood items are on ESTC as are, or were, in the Private Case, it is still the case that, whereas 95% of all Haywood items held in the British Library are on ECCO, less than half of all material that is or was in the Private Case has now been reproduced on ECCO.

That there is little difference between the presence on ECCO of items presently in, versus those once in, the Private Case, suggests that items are not being withheld from ECCO due to access restrictions on the Private Case pressmark. I doubt very much that the material once or now in the Private Case is in significantly worse condition that the many heavily-worn Haywood items I have examined. Consequently, it would seem that the previous and present Private Case items are only being withheld because of the nature of their contents; i.e., because they are works of erotica.

* * * * *

Of the 149 eighteenth-century works in English, recorded by Kearney as being, or having been, held in the British Library’s Private Case, ten are not recorded on ESTC at all (6.7%), a dozen more are not listed as holdings in the relevant ESTC entry (15%), a further forty-nine that are on ESTC, are not reproduced on ECCO and another eleven, which are on ECCO, reproduce copies other than that in the Private Case. Of the seventy-eight items on ECCO (52%), thirty-four are definitely, and thirty-three are probably, sourced from the British Library (45%); “probably” because these items are not identifiable on ECCO by visible pressmarks.

Looking just at the fifty-four eighteenth-century works in English presently in the British Library’s Private Case, three are not recorded on ESTC at all (5.6%), twenty-five that are on ESTC are not reproduced on ECCO (46%) and another four, which are on ECCO, reproduce copies other than that in the Private Case. Of the twenty-nine items on ECCO (54%), seventeen are definitely, and eight are probably, sourced from the British Library.

The data I have on Haywood items is not in a form that facilitates detailed comparison. However, fifteen of the 273 eighteenth-century works in English, which I record in my Bibliography of Eliza Haywood, are not recorded on ESTC at all (5.5%); and of the 180 Haywood items that are reproduced on ECCO, 128 (or 71%) are sourced from the British Library. Fifty-two Haywood items on ECCO are sourced from other libraries (29%), but in only seven of these cases does the British Library also hold the item concerned (5%).

What this means is that a similar percentage of either present (5.6%), or present and previous, Private Case items (6.7%), than Haywood items (5.5%), are missing from ESTC completely; a somewhat lower percentage of present and previous (45%), or present Private Case items (54%), that Haywood items (66%) are on ECCO; but a hugely-higher percentage of either present (54%), or present and previous, Private Case (55%), than Haywood items (5%), which are held by the British Library, are not on ECCO. An item once in, or presently in, the Private Case is over ten times as likely to not appear on ECCO, as a Haywood item.

* * * * *

I will save my data on Kearney for another time, but regarding the Haywood items on the Eighteenth Century microfilm series—and, therefore, on ECCO—128 items are British Library copies. The remaining are from the following libraries: the Bodleian (16), Houghton (9), Huntington (6), National Library of Ireland (6), Clark (5), Boston Public (4), Cambridge (3), and one each from the National Library of Wales, National Library of Scotland, and the Spencer Library.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Foxcroft Lecure on Private Case Collections

My 2016 Foxcroft lecture on private case collections has finally appeared on YouTube (here). I mentioned the lecture in passing here, but more details about the event at the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne are now online here.

The year-long delay in appearance was caused by my heavy use of slides, which the in-house video editors at the State Library struggled with a little. After much discussion back-and-forward I asked them to post it online as it is, though there are still a few mis-matches, rather than delay posting it any longer.

Although it is always a little weird to see yourself on video, it is nice that it the lecture is finally available. In the second half of this year I will write up the presentation formal as a formal essay, which will be published by the Ancora Press at Monash University in association with the State Library. Until then, comments, corrections, hints etc. are all welcome!

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Eliza Haywood in the Early Novels Database (END)

The Early Novels Database (END) is hosted by the University of Pennsylvania Rare Book and Manuscript Library (PU), and under development by staff and students at the library, Swarthmore College and the University of Pennsylvania. The project has a stated aim of restoring metadata lost in digitisation projects. If this were actually the case then the six-year old project would have to be considered a failure, even in its "Under Construction" form. It is clear, however, that the actual aim of END is to involve undergraduate students in the collection of detailed paratextual information, annotation, marginalia etc. from the "extensive collection of fiction in English published between 1660 and 1830" available at PU. (A 2011 overview of the project is here.)

I am not sure how I have managed to not hear about the project, given that I am interested in annotation, marginalia etc., particularly that in works by Haywood. But once I did hear about it I realised that it was very likely that END included information about works by Haywood, since PU has a large number of books by Haywood. (With 45 items, it has the fifth largest Haywood collection in the States: larger than that at Yale, Princeton, the Clark.) Unfortunately, it is presently impossible to search END for works by Haywood. On the splash page, a visitor is given the choice of sorting results by title or year (not author), or to "narrow results" by browsing "Narrative form," "Author claim type," "Author gender claim" (by which they seem to mean "Author sex claim"), "Person" etc. Since there was no way to narrow results by author, I did what I have had to do so many times, I simply searched through every single title to identify those by Haywood. It is a tedious way of searching, and would have been largely unnecessary if the metadata in the PU library catalogue had been carried over, but it is effective. Below is the list of titles, arranged chronologically.

The busy-body (1742) *
Memoirs of an unfortunate young nobleman (1743) *
Secret histories, novels, and poems (1745)
The fortunate foundlings (Dublin, 1745)
The adventures of Natura (1748)
Dalinda: or, the double mariage [sic] (1749) *
The busy body (Dublin 1770)
The distressed orphan (1770) *
The female spectator (1771) *
The invisibe [sic] spy (1773) †
The female spectator (1775)
Epistles for ladies (1776) †
The Sopha (1781) †
The history of Miss Betsy Thoughtless (1783)

There appear to be many cases where there are multiple entries for the one work, and there are three records that are empty—links that lead to a blank page (marked † above). Also, only five of the fourteen entries record marginalia or inscriptions (marked * above) of any kind, and most of these provide few useful details. In almost all cases Haywood listed as a “Person” in the primary record, but no linking is provided to her as a Person. The only case where you can navigate from one Haywood work to another is Secret histories, novels, and poems (1745) which links to The female spectator (1771).

Since I examined all of these books late in July 1997, I am not relying on END for my knowledge of the PU colection. But there are a lot of smaller libraries that I did not visit and it would be helpful if projects like this were more common. Involving undergraduates in cataloguing weird and interesting copy-specific information is a great idea. It is a shame that the basic database structure is not better adapted to searching by author since the vast majority of interest in marginalia is focussed on the annotator (as author) or on the annotations (as a response to an author): i.e., it is ultimately a biographical interest.

The only blog entry (on the END blog) concerning marginalia is this one from 2013. In her reflections on Marginalia, Christina Aruffo explains why "marginalia cataloguing can be sporadic"—even in a project such as this—because cataloguing it can be time consuming, cataloguers have their own "accepted and internalized definition of what marginalia actually is"—meaning doodles and library markings ("library marginalia") get less attention than text, as does anything else that cannot be easily related to the text as text.

For student projects based on END data and texts, see here; for papers, see this (including one by Andrew Piper and Ehsan Arabnejad which "draws on a taxonomy of eighteenth-century novels’ footnotes to advance a simple but consequential argument: despite the claims of almost all scholarship on the subject, footnotes in novels were common and referential rather than exceptional and self-referential, meta-fictional, or “postmodern” avant la letter." Nice.)

A simple measure of media focus or bias?

A linguist made an observation to me last year concerning media focus, which has been at the back of my mind of late. Responding to a student project on media focus and bias, they wondered whether another way of measuring media bias might be to count how often different media outlets use the phrase "far right" versus "far left"—since these are, at least in part, terms of abuse: ways of labeling political views or actions as extreme.

The linguist reasoned that, if there is a fairly-even distribution of votes for centre-left and centre-right parties, there are probably as many far-left as far-right voters too. And if the left is just as active as the right, you would expect an unbiased media to label as many ideas or actions as far or extreme left as right.

It did occur to me at the time that, if "far left" activists spend their weekends knitting, while "far right" activists are burning down refugee centres, the media would have good reasons to refer to "far right" more than "far left". Or, reporters might fill newpapers with glowing reports about "far right" fascists and attacks on "far laft" Marxists, so the number of references might be equal but a bias still be present.

Still, as I said, the question got me thinking. There did seem to be a lot more discussion of the "far right" than "far left" in the media. So, when an acquaintance decried the right-wing drift of the ABC, I started thinking about this "test" again. And every time since, when I have read an accusation of left-wing bias at the ABC, I have thought that I should have a go at this test and see what the results are.

Since I'd really rather think about something else, and it was obvious that the only way I could stop thinking about this was to take to Google to do a series of site-searches, I decided to do this, post the results here, and return to my Haywood research. I looked at all the major local newspapers and a few famous US papers for comparison. I have sorted them according to how many more times the site refers to "far right" than "far left" (the multiple).

As you can see, on this measure: The Daily Mail is, improbably, the least biased of all media outlets in its labeling of political ideas or actions as "far" (50:50 split in references to "far left" and "far right" on its site [multiple equals one]). Brietbart—the only site to refer to "far left" more than "far right"—is about as focussed on left-wing extremism as The Australian is on the right-wing extremism (!?!; with three times as many references to either "far left" or "far right" [the multiples being one-third and three]).

The Age is obsessively-focussed on right-wing extremism (with six times as many references to "far right" as "far left" [multiple of six]), while the SBS is almost twice as obsessed as the obsessively-focussed Age (making them "madly-" or "insanely-focussed"? [multiple of eleven]). The ABC is so far beyond "insanely-focussed" on the right, by this measure, that superlatives fail me: a multiple of seventeen! I.e., seventeen times as many references to "far right" as "far left"—94 percent of all reference to "far-[anything]" being "far right." The numbers are amazing too: the ABC has a few more references to "far left" than The Australian, but more than six times as many references to the "far right"!

Obviously, there are lots of problems with this as a measure of focus, and even more with translating focus to bias in labeling people, ideas, actions etc. as extreme: it may be that all forty-thousand ABC references to the "far right" are objectively-speaking, unbiased and even-handed, with no suggestion that the "far right" are extreme in any way. It may be that, every other news outlet is massively under-reporting "far right" activity. And, as I said, it is unclear whether this is actually right-wing bias: with innumerable glowing reports about fascists mixed with a small number of attacks on Marxists (or even an uneven number of references to people sitting in the "far left" of pubs, clubs and stadiums).

However, if Brietbart is itself usually described as a "far right" media outlet—because of its obsession with, and attacks on, what it calls the "far left"—that does suggest that The Australian is "far left," since its references to extreme left and right activity are the statistical mirror-image of Brietbart. And this suggests that the ABC would have to be described as far-far-far-far-far left (i.e., more than five times as far "far left" as Brietbart is "far right"?). It seems unlikely that the ABC is five times as biased as Brietbart, but the fact that the ABC has almost three times as many references to "far right" as Brietbart has references to "far left" does suggests—at the least—something about the usage of these terms.

A general Google search does bring up twice as many references to "far right" as "far left" so, perhaps, the Daily Telegraph is closer to the centre than the Daily Mail, SBS is only as biased as Brietbart (the former have six times more references to the "far right" than the internet average, the later roughly one sixth), and the ABC is only eight or nine times as focussed on the "far right" as the rest of the world combined (as represented on the internet), or only 1.5 times as far to the left of the internet-average as Brietbart is to the right. Perhaps.

Anyway, as should be clear, linguistics and media/communications are not really my forte. I couldn't work out how to get Excel to establish a multiple based on the internet average of 2:1 for far right:left. And I haven't done enough maths to confidently discuss any of the above in relation to standard deviation, which I suspect I should. But I have pretty-much satisfied my own curiosity, so I am quite happy to let the subject go.