Sunday, 18 July 2010

More on Modern Characters (1753)

In 2004, I rejected the attribution of Modern Characters (1753) to Eliza Haywood. I still do reject the attribution, but thanks to Google Books and the Internet Archive—once again—new information has come to light.

In my Bibliography of Eliza Haywood, under Ca.32 I said that "This novel is attributed to Haywood on the authority of a note in a Pickering & Chatto catalogue of 1934" which, in turn, credited the attribution to the writer and book collector James Crossley (1800–83).

The Pickering & Chatto catalogue of 1934 reads:

James Crossley, author and antiquarian, and a celebrated authority on old books, said that this was one of the scarcest and least known of the works of Mrs. Eliza Haywood. It has never been reprinted. It is not included amongst the list of her works given by Mr. G. F. Whicher in "The Life and Romances of Mrs. Haywood."

Since I was unable to find an earlier record of the attribution I suggested that this 1934 entry could have been "the first time the claim had been made in print"; certainly it was the authority for Andrew Block’s attribution of 1939, which has since been widely repeated. It turns out I was wrong, though I was on the right track. I said:

Crossley may have been indebted for the attribution to the misinterpretation of a note in the John Thomas Hope copy of Ab.60.7 The Female Spectator, which attributes authorship to Haywood and cites advertisements for it in ‘Modern Characters, 1753., vol. ii’.

Thanks to Google Books I can now see that the attribution has been in print since 1865, but I was right about the source being John Thomas Hope (d. 1854) of Netley Hall, Shrewsbury.

What I have found (here) is an entry in a Catalogue of a Collection of Early Newspapers and Essayists, Formed by the Late John Thomas Hope, Esq., and Presented to the Bodleian Library by the late Frederick William Hope (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1865), 80 (no. 290):

290. Modern Characters; Illustrated by Histories in Real Life, and address’d to the Polite World. 1753; 12mo.
    Apparently by the contributors to the Female Spectator.

And "the contributors to the Female Spectator" are identified elsewhere (p. 72, no. 255) as being "By Mrs. Eliza Haywood."

* * * * *

Another happy discovery on Google Books and the Internet Archive concerns the fate of James Crossley's library. This is one of the avenues that I pursued in order to discover more about this attribution. In 2004, I stated in a footnote:

P. N. Furbank and W. R. Owens, who dedicate a chapter to Crossley, mention the sale of his library in July 1884 and June 1885. The writer has not been able to determine whether this title was in Crossley’s library and whether his attribution of it to Haywood is recorded in the catalogue of his library or in his own copy of the books. Furbank and Owens (1988), pp.75–82.

I was not "able to determine whether this title was in Crossley’s library" because nobody in Australia had a copy of either of the sale catalogues of his library (Manchester, 12-19 May 1884; London, 11-20 June 1885) and it was a big ask—on top of all the other requests I was pestering librarians with—to go through an auction catalogue looking for this sort of information for me. After all, many auction catalogues are not arranged in a way that makes it easy to find a particular title. And so, even if I had asked, I could never be really sure that whoever I asked didn't miss the information I was after.

So, I put this search on my list of "things to do" next time I was overseas and wrote the footnote I have just quoted.

You might have guessed by now that Crossley’s library catalogue is now on Google Books, which means I have been able to search it myself, and word-search it with a higher-confidence than I would have ever had if I had quickly visually scanning the whole catalogue.

If this is what you've guessed you are both right and wrong. Yes, the catalogue(s) are on Google Books, there are six or seven copies of each of them in fact, but due to the utterly idiotic and irrational restrictions that Google place on the texts they has scanned—out of fear of infringing copyright—not one of these 1884 or 1885 catalogues are available to be viewed in Australia!

(Insert rant about Google being incapable of—or uninterested in—discovering the period that copyright covers in Australia, or Europe or anywhere else—other than the US—for that matter.)

As I might have mentioned before, I have become fairly adept at the use of free proxy servers to confuse Google into thinking that I am in the States (rather than in that mystery-world, Australia) and so in October 2009 I was able to view these catalogues and search for Eliza Haywood and Modern Characters.

What I discovered was exactly what I was looking for, hidden in a lot of twenty-three volumes of the second London sale of Crossley's library. Sotheby Wilkinson and Hodge … Catalogue of the Second Portion of the Library of Rare Books and Important Manuscripts of the Late James Crossley Esq. F.S.A. … (London: 11-20 June 1885), 154 (lot no. 1583):

1583 … —Haywood (Mrs.) Modern Characters: Illustrated by Histories in Real Life, 2 vol. 1583—

What I also discovered, however, was that Crossley also had (p. 126, lots 1290, 1291), a mixed set of Secret Histories, Novels and Poems (1725–42), The Secret History of the Present Intrigues of the Court of Caramania (1727), and A Spy on the Conjurer (1724).

Here is the evidence I was seeking, that Crossley had, in fact, attributed Modern Characters to Haywood, and that this attribution was published in the catalogue of his library in 1885. This 1885 catalogue pre-dates the 1934 Pickering & Chatto catalogue that I claimed was "the first time the [attribution] had been made in print." But, as we now know, it actually post-dates the John Thomas Hope Catalogue of 1865. Oh well. At least we know now.

* * * * *

When I went looking for the London and Manchester catalogues this morning I discovered that it is now no longer possible to view almost all of the Crossley catalogues on Google Books, even using a proxy server—even though this was possible as recently as last October. It seems that Google Books have actually increased their levels of paranoia and fear about copyright litigation.

As a consequence, it took me a very long time to discover—that is, after a very long and frustrating search I discovered—that the Manchester catalogue is now available via the Internet Archive (here; where it can be downloaded in pdf) and that there is only one London catalogue that can now be viewed on Google Books (here; thanks to I was able to view and download this catalogue).

One final word on free proxy servers, which every antipodean scholar should be familiar with. A proxy server "acts as an intermediary for requests from clients seeking resources from other servers." Servers (i.e. Google) are pretty quick to get wise to the fact that another server ( is acting as a proxy, and so proxy servers like tend to get blocked pretty quickly.

This is why I cannot recommend a single proxy server. Instead, try here, which keeps an updated list of proxy servers in different countries. You might have to try a few before you find one that works (i.e., that allows you to view the page).

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

On The Book Show with Caroline Breashears

Caroline Breashears (right) and I were interviewed this morning by Ramona Koval for the ABC Bookshow (you can download the show here). The interview was a lot of fun: Ramona was very gentle with us, Sarah L'Estrange (the Producer of the show) had everything organised in advance, and it was great to finally get to meet Caroline.

I should have met Caroline this time last year at the BSANZ conference in Brisbane, but I was stuck in Melbourne with an attack of catarrh and so my paper on "The Lost Erotica of James West" was delivered by Prof. Pat Buckridge instead. Those—like me—who missed Caroline's paper, on "Paratextual Strategies in Con Phillip's Apology" at the Brisbane conference should soon be able to read it in Script & Print.

I hope that the interview encourages people who heard the show, and who are interested in the subject of Forbidden, Hidden and Censored Books, to come along to at least one of the two free public lectures (details below) which we will be running as a part of the 2010 BSANZ conference at The Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas at The State Library of Victoria.

Professor Jenny Hocking, Angela Wren’s Lost Watch: Power Without Glory, Criminal Libel and Hidden Histories [4:00–5:30PM, Thursday 15 July 2010]

Kevin Patrick, A Design for Depravity: Horror Comics and the Challenge of Censorship in Australia, 1950–1986 [7:00–8:30PM, Friday 16 July 2010]

Sunday, 11 July 2010

2010 BSANZ/CftB Conference in the News

Jane Sullivan's lead article "Censorship and Sensibility" appeared in Saturday's A2 section of The Age. It was certainly an eye-catching cover story, in which "Jane Sullivan probes the sometimes secret history of book banning in Australia." For those who missed it, Fairfax have the text here and Exit International (!) have it here.

Mentioned in the article is the Monash Rare Books exhibition, the BSANZ/CftB conference, and the public keynote papers by Professor Jenny Hocking ("Angela Wren’s Lost Watch: Power Without Glory, Criminal Libel and Hidden Histories") and Kevin Patrick ("A Design for Depravity: Horror Comics and the Challenge of Censorship in Australia, 1950-1986").

* * * * *

The only mention of non-Australian material in the article is a side-bar snippet on the Essay on Woman:

A notorious case in 18th century England. John Wilkes's pornographic parody of Pope's Essay on Man was written only for his rakish mates in the Hellfire Club and a tiny private edition was printed off a press in his own house.

His enemies in Parliament bribed the printers to give them a page and he was hauled up before his peers. He fled for his life to France, and in his absence was found guilty of obscene and seditious libel and declared an outlaw.

No original version of the poem survives and even copies are very rare, says Dr Patrick Spedding, associate director of the Centre for the Book at Monash University.

Indeed. The J. C. Hotten 1871 (private press) edition in the Monash Rare Books exhibition—the only copy in Australia—was probably the best and the most accurate edition of An Essay on Woman between 1763 and 2001 when Arthur H. Cash published his Reconstruction and Historical Essay on the poem.

[UPDATED 2016.05.12]

The Dark Hero: Demonic, Deranged and Cursed

On Thursday I was told that my new unit, The Dark Hero: Demonic, Deranged and Cursed, has been approved to run next year at Monash. It has a new Arts-faculty-wide unit code: ATS2914/ATS3914.

I have wanted to run a course like this for a very long time. One of my favourite honours courses at the University of Tasmania was The Byronic Hero, but the particular type of Byronic-Hero stories that have always attracted my attention are the ones with a supernatural element: Marlow's Faustus, Milton's Satan, Beckford's Vathek, Byron's Cain.

When I was a teenager I lived on a constant diet of fantasy and horror stories, books on witchcraft and the occult, and Hammer Horror films, so I ended up reading Stoker's Dracula and Goethe's Faust as soon as I had enough of my own money to buy them.

From memory, both were second-hand copies from the Dennis Wheatley Library of the Occult series, which were pretty common, and cheap, in op-shops, garage sales and book exchanges at the time.

I had quite a few "Library of the Occult" volumes at one stage, before I went to university and decided I was far too mature for that sort of thing. And, since I always needed more book-money, I decided to sell the lot. I don't remember what I spent the money on, but it is a decision I soon, and have long, regretted!

I recently started buying replacement copies of some of the paperbacks that I sold then, but the books are a lot harder to find and a lot more expensive now. (Which reminds me of that saying "no man is rich enough to buy back his past.") The images below are taken from one such recent—nostalgic—purchase; appropriate, yes?

* * * * *

The type of "Dark Hero" that my new course focusses on is everywhere in modern fiction, film and TV: David Boreanaz as Angel (Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003) and Angel (1999–2004), Johnny Depp as Dean Corso (The Ninth Gate (1999), the whole League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), Heath Ledger as The Dark Knight (2008) and Ian Somerhalder as Damon Salvatore (The Vampire Diaries (2010), but you could include almost every supernatural romance and romantic vampire hero in this list.

But the focus of my unit is on the ur-texts, the Dark Heroes of the Early Modern, Modern and Romantic periods. The synopsis runs as follows:

The unit is designed to introduce students to the development of the Dark or Satanic Hero in a range of major English texts selected to illustrate the tremendous impact and popularity of this powerful figure in the Romantic Period. Writers such as Marlow, Milton, Beckford, Lewis and Byron created defiant heroes who embody radical individualism, self-sufficiency and ambition, but who are isolated, gloomy and dissatisfied by their revolt against God, government and society. Special attention will be given to the relationship between the Dark and Byronic Heroes in the nineteenth century and the survival and transformation of this figure in the vampires and villains of contemporary culture.

I haven't decided on the final text list yet. There are a few I haven't read that I am considering, like Charlotte Dacre's Zofloya: or The Moor (1806) and Charles Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer (1820); there is also a lot of poetry to choose from, apart from Byron's “Manfred” (1816–17) and “Cain” (1822), like Bürger’s “Lenore” (1773); Goethe's “The Bride of Corinth” (1797); Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (1798) and “Christabel” (1797–1800), and Keats' “La Belle Dame sans Merci” (1819). Narrowing down the list will be a real challenge. But fun. Lots of fun.

[UPDATE: 2 July 2016: After all my pictures disappeared again I decided to give up on external hosts for large versions (1000px) of my image files and, for now on, will stick with the smaller images (500px), which Blogger is prepared to host.]

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Lewd and Scandalous Books Exhibition II

The exhibition was being set up on friday, so I dropped in to take a look (and a few photos). I have added a few comments to each picture.

[This is the focal- and starting-point of the exhibition, the satirical engraving "The Court Gossops" which depicts a library of erotica. The engraving contains an ale glass identical to the one sitting in front of the frame (see here).]

[The exhibition is organised—largely—chronologically, so on this side we have Classical and European erotica.]

[One of the gorgeous illustrated editions of Ovid.]

[One of two editions of Nicolas Chorier's Satyra Sodatica (ca. 1660), the foundational work of European erotic literature.]

[This is edition of Diderot's Bijoux indiscrets has had the passage in (very poor) English translated into French by its original owner]

[This is on the other side of the cabinet: Restoration satires, focussing on the master Rochester (that is his portrait at the back). The edition of Rochester at the front includes a great illustration to Butler's "Dildoides."]

[As well as a number of 18C editions of Merryland, Monash has this private press reprint from the late 19C and the promotional leaflet for this edition! Just the sort of thing to warm the heart of a bibliographer.]

[Here are three of the large anatomical atlases in the exhibition. In the 18C—as well as the 19C and 20C—the anatomical accuracy, size and beauty of these engravings have resulted in them being treasured and used for all the "wrong" reasons. In Merryland Stretser calls them "bawdy prints" and jokingly refers his reader to them if they want a "Map of Merryland."]

[The two volumes at the top of this photo are extra-illustrated accounts of Elizabeth Chudleigh, Duchess of Kingston, who famously went to a masquerade ball in the character of Iphigenia, a costume that simply required her to take most of her clothes off. Such was her beauty and social standing that engravings of her "in" costume sold like hot-cakes.]

[This is the final case, which brings us back to lady Vane, the subject of "The Court Gossops."]

[UPDATE 13 July 2010: the exhibition has now gone live; you will find a blurb about the exhibition, a "virtual exhibition" (full of photos) and you can download the catalogue here]

[UPDATE: 2 July 2016: After all my pictures disappeared (again) I decided to give up on external hosts for large versions (1000px) of my image files and, for now on, will stick with the smaller images (500px), which Blogger is prepared to host.]

That Celebrated Novel, Love in Excess

Having finally got myself a decent copy of Haywood's first work—Love in Excess—I had another look at my entry for this novel in my Bibliography. Looking at what I had written concerning the book's popularity, likely print run, the location of surviving copies, etc, I was once-again struck by how few copies survive today of this once-popular work. (A total of about twenty sets and odd parts survive out of perhaps six thousand copies.) I started wondering how quickly Love in Excess became a rare book.

[Ab.1.4a Love in Excess (1722)]

So I did a Google search, and then an ECCO search, for references to copies of Love in Excess that had been sold in the eighteenth century and found quite a respectable number of copies turning up before 1800, suggesting that it may have been in the nineteenth century that most copies of this book disappeared.

* * * * *

Of the thirty-eight catalogues that appear on ECCO a few had particularly interesting entries. In A Catalogue of the Library of the Rev. John Pitts … (20 January 1794), 290, for instance, the following entry appears:

9373 Mrs. Haywood's Love in Excess, Morocco, gilt leaves, and ruled with red lines, 5s — — — 1722

(This is Ab. 1.4a.) A very similar entry appears in A Catalogue of an Extensive and Valuable Collection of Books; Containing Many Recent Purchases of Rare and Valuable articles … (12 January 1795), 287:

9106 Mrs. Haywood's Love in Excess, Morocco, gilt leaves, and ruled, 5s — — — 1722

Both catalogues are by the same booksellers (Benjamin and John White) and so it seems that, although the Rev. John Pitts appears to have valued Haywood's Love in Excess very highly indeed—going to the expense to have such an elaborate, beautiful and costly binding, put on a copy of the "Fourth Edition" of the novel—Messrs. White nevertheless struggled to find anyone who shared his enthusiasm in the 1790s.

A much earlier catalogue suggests why, and possibly when, the Rev. Pitts thought so highly of the novel. In A Catalogue of the Library of the Ingenious Mr. Delpfuch (1738), 17, Olive Payne gave the following description:

467 Secret Histories Novels and Poems, with that Celebrated Novel, Love in Excess, written by the Ingenious Mrs. Haywood, 4 Vol. compleat, gilt, &c. 10s 6d—— 1732

As you can see, I do like that phrase: "that Celebrated Novel." One final, notable, catalogue entry appears in A Catalogue of Books the Library of the Rev. Dr. Thomas Sheridan (1739), 34,

729 Love in Excess, or the fatal Enquiry Dublin 1724

This is my Ab.1.6, a very rare volume. It did not—and still does not—appear on ESTC, though I found a copy at Wellesley College, Massachusetts.

The remainder of the catalogues are interesting primarily for their titles, which may or may not reflect the actual owners of the copies of Love in Excess listed, since it was as common to "salt" catalogues in the eighteenth century as it was in the twentieth. But even if the named collectors were not the original owners of these books, it does suggest that Love in Excess could pass in such collections.

Here are five of the first ten examples: Bibliotheca Antiquaria & Politica: Being a Catalogue of the Library of a Very Great Statesman Deceased (1723), A Catalogue of the Libraries of Edward Marshall Esq; And of a Very Eminent Prelate Lately Deceased (1724), Catalogus librorum in omni genere literaturæ præstantium: Being a Catalogue of the Library of the Late Learned Samuel Gibbes Esq. (1726); A Catalogue of the Libraries of the Reverend and Learned Thomas Brathwaite, D. D. Late Warden of Winchester-College, and Vice-Chancellor of Oxford. And His Late Nephew, Tho. Brathwaite, Surgeon and Anatomist (1731), A Catalogue of the Library of Sir John Darnall, Knight, Serjeant at Law, Late Judge of the Marshalsea-Court, Deceased (1736) etc.

Here we have a "Very Great Statesman," a "Very Eminent Prelate," "the Reverend and Learned … Vice-Chancellor of Oxford," a "Learned" esquire, a "Surgeon and Anatomist" and a "Serjeant at Law." Not exactly the swooning, light-headed maids that have been popularly supposed to be the readers of novels concerning love, especially in excess.

[UPDATE: 2 July 2016: After all my pictures disappeared (again) I decided to give up on external hosts for large versions (1000px) of my image files and, for now on, will stick with the smaller images (500px), which Blogger is prepared to host.]