Thursday 25 June 2009

From one flea to another

Having read, and really enjoyed, Lisa Z. Sigel, Governing Pleasures: Pornography and Social Change in England, 1815-1914 (Rutgers University Press, 2002), I was delighted to happen across an essay of hers on Cultronix: The Autobiography of a Flea. The essay is about her experiences as a female scholar conducting research on the History of Sexuality.** What caught my attention in particular was her peroration:

So if you're wondering if pornography turns me on, here's my answer. I am not the object of study, so it's none of your business.

Sigel demonstrates remarkable self-restraint. I would have added a few expletives between the last two words.

As Sigel explains "People thinking of my research, unselfconsciously, slip into questioning me. The assumption that I am open to questions is implicit" (and unwelcome). "The leap from my study of sex to the study of me studying sex is automatic and reflexive"; consequently, her "intellectual work gets positioned where it doesn't belong—on my body." Such people seem to exist in a binary universe: "I can either be deviant or I can be against deviance. I cannot just think about the process or the performance of deviance." More often than not, they "assume that because I study pornography I am deviant"; and that Sigel's "understanding of [women in pornography] can only happen on my back. OR. As a woman, I can only be outraged by sexuality. If I am not, I need to go back to re-learn the process of outrage or internalize the association and learn shame."

As a male studying erotic material the assumptions made and the questions asked are different. And, for the most part, my experiences have been more positive than those recounted by Sigel. Nevertheless, like Sigel, I find it troubling when my intellectual work gets positioned where it doesn't belong, when people confuse an interest in the history of erotica, with an interest in erotic narratives per se. For this reason I tend to discourage any curiosity concerning the narratives in the material that I am researching by focussing on other aspects of my research or by explaining that eighteenth century erotica is not at all erotic by modern standards (meaning, not arousing to anyone). On the few occasions that I felt that I must actually explain my lack of personal interest in the material I have resisted because, like Sigel, I don't accept that I should be the object of study.

Another point that Sigel makes, which I found very persuasive, relates to one of my favourite ways of explaining to others how I think about the erotic material that I study.

For me, pornography is an artifact which tells me a lot about the culture from which it came. A Grecian urn is a similar object. However, pornography in many ways is more telling a cultural artifact.

In my formulation of this I use the example of a pot shard. It seems that in every episode of Time Team, John Gater digs up a such a shard (indistinguishable from a lump of dirt to almost every viewer), proudly holds it up for the camera (and Tony Robinson) and explains that the shapeless fragment in question establishes the date of the dig, identifies the inhabitants of the area, their occupation and social standing: in short the entire history of human settlement in Britain can be extrapolated from a clot of muck.

Any printed artefact, therefore, will tell us a great deal about the society that printed it, and the more reviled the artefact, the more passionate a response it elicited, then and since, the more we may learn from it. That is the theory anyway, and you can see why I might like this analogy. I am an archaeologist among books. But, as Sigel goes on to explain:

Since the nineteenth century, most writers, publishers, photographers, distributors, readers and collectors of pornography have been middle and upper class men. Men have written, published, photographed, distributed, read and collected representations of women, the young, and the powerless … However, female scholars looking at sexuality invert the process. They look at how those with power position those who don't. Pornography, then, is not Grecian urn. Important power relations implicit in it get spelled out in a variety of ways which are still applicable.

To "women, the young, and the powerless," therefore, certain printed artefacts are not simply interesting or informative. And, although, like Sigel, I do not stand anywhere near the top of the many hierarchies of power, I realise I am close enough to the "writers, publishers, photographers, distributors, readers and collectors" to benefit from—unlike her—a periodic reminder of this fact. Such is her essay.

* * * * *

** Wikipedia explains, badly, that The Autobiography of a Flea is an anonymous erotic novel published in 1887. The flea tells the tale of a beautiful young girl named Bella, an orphan who lives with her uncle and aunt, who is debauched by a priest. The flea both narrates and judges the action. As Sigel comments, even as Bella and Julia "submit to the bodies and the will of the priests, they submit to the prurience and moralism of the flea". Nevertheless, Sigel would like to adopt the position of the flea in this narrative (the observer), thus the title of her essay.

Monday 22 June 2009

Bawdy Songbooks of the Romantic Period

Because three book projects are not enough to keep me busy Paul Watt and I have embarked on an editing project with four of the finest music scholars on the planet: Rachel Cowgill, Edward Cray, David Gregory and Derek B. Scott.

For now it may be best to keep details to a minimum, but once work has begun I will set out some details about the project below.

Meanwhile, here are a few useful links and references:

Project News

"Research News," Dually Noted: School of Music—Conservatorium, no. 3 (May 2009): 5 (pdf here).


Claude M. Simpson, The British Broadside Ballad and its Music (New
Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1966).

George Speight, Bawdy Songs of the Early Music Hall (Melbourne: Lansdowne Press, 1975).

Ed Cray, The Erotic Muse: American Bawdy Songs, 2nd ed. (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1999).

David Gregory, Victorian Songhunters: The Recovery and Editing of English Vernacular Ballads and Folk Lyrics, 1820–1883 (Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2006)

Derek B. Scott, Sounds of the Metropolis: The 19th-Century Popular Music Revolution in London, New York, Paris and Vienna (Oxford University Press, 2008).


The late Bruce Olson's online archive can be found here and here.

John Patrick's Bibliography of Erotic Songs, Toasts and Recitations is here (it includes our very own Ed Cray's Checklist of Chapbooks and Songbooks from April 1998).

Jack Horntip's Collection is here

Links to Books on Google Books etc

William Clarke, Every Night Book: Or, Life After Dark (London: T. Richardson, 1827). ¶ Contains descriptions of the Cider Cellar, Coal Hole, Offleys etc, all of which feature in the songbooks.

Pierce Egan, Life in London, or, The Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn Esq. and His Elegant Friend Corinthian Tom in their Rambles and Sprees through the Metropolis, with numerous colour illustrations from Real Life Designed by I. R. and G. Cruikshank (Hotten, 1869).

Francis Grose, A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 3rd ed. (1796)

Francis Grose, Lexicon Balatronicum. A Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit and Pickpocket Eloquence (1811)

Grose's Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, revised and corrected … by Pierce Egan (1823).

John Timbs, Club Life of London with Anecdotes of the Clubs, Coffee-Houses and Taverns of the Metropolis during the 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries, vol. 1, vol. 2 (London: Richard Bentley, 1866).

[William West], Tavern Anecdotes and Reminiscences of the Origin of Signs, Clubs, Coffee-Houses, Streets, City Companies, Wards (London, 1825; repr. New York, 1830).

[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.]

Haywood Bibliography Note 2

Another recent Haywood purchase provides the basis of this note. In this case I was lucky enough to obtain a copy of the first edition of Haywood's The Distress'd Orphan: Or Love in a Mad-House (1726). There are three issues of this edition: a first, "second," and "third" [Ab.30.1a–c], all of which are uncommon. There are only nine copies of the three issues listed in my Bibliography, the University of Chicago copy still being missing, and this copy, making a tenth.

My copy differs from the ones that I have seen before in having a half-title (above), which means I have had to update the three entries. It is, however, missing its title-leaf. And since a copy of the title leaf survives all by itself in the British Library, in a massive collection of title pages, you have to wonder whether this was the copy mutilated by Joseph Ames.

Joseph Ames collected 7,425 title-pages of books printed before 1749. Ames was not as bad a biblioclast (a destroyer of books) as many people seem to think he was. In the eighteenth-century, printers, publishers and booksellers used to advertise new publications by sticking up on walls and posts copies of the titles pages of new books. Printers would print off extra copies for this purpose, sometimes changing and adding bits to the title-page—making little advertising posters of them—so that they would work better as promos. Ames collected these title-page adverts as well as title-pages ripped out of books, as well as printing proposals and other printing ephemera.

Anyway, Ames's collection is in six massive volumes. And they are not indexed. So, in 1995, I went through all these volumes of the Ames's collection on the off-chance that I might find title-pages, title-page posters, or printing proposals for works by Haywood. I found only one, and it is the one I have mentioned: for the first issue of the first edition of The Distress'd Orphan. At the time, I had been unable to locate any copy of the this first issue. I had seen the facsimile of the second, and the microfilm of the third, but the first was "lost." I was so excited by my discovery that I paid a small fortune to get an A3 copy of this title-page made! (Fortunately—or sadly, depending on your perspective—I subsequently located three complete copies: at Yale, Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania.)

Since my copy has no title-leaf I don't really know what issue it is, but I have decided to list it under the first: Ab.30.1a. There is as much justification for listing it there as the following two entries, and I think it belongs with the Ames title-page.

One final note. I have used the headpiece from the first page of text of The Distress'd Orphan (above) as a header for this blog. The ornament belonged to Henry Woodfall, but you can see that I have made a few changes. I have also made a few changes to the layout of this blog, and will make some more next week. But for now: FINIS.

[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.]

Eliza Haywood Pages

This is where I will index all my Eliza Haywood posts.

A Bibliography of Eliza Haywood updates, notes, photos etc.

Haywood Bibliography Addenda and Corrigenda

Haywood Bibliography Note, no. 1
Haywood Bibliography Note, no. 2
Haywood Bibliography Note, no. 3


The Other Betsy Thoughtless
The Other Betsy Thoughtless, Part 2
[2 July 2016: updating this index post was quickly abandoned in favour of tagging posts. For all my Haywood posts, please search for posts tagged Haywood.]

Tuesday 16 June 2009

Canon Rawnsley's Beastly Books

As a part of my research into the treatment of erotic material in libraries in the late 19th and early 20th century, which is kind-of related to my research into Private Case collections (though the connection isn't that clear even to me), I decided to trawl through a representative selection of the articles that appear under the heading "Doubtful Books" in H. G. T. Cannons's Bibliography of Library Economy … from 1876 to 1920 (1927).

These articles have absolutely hilarious titles, like F. B. Perkins on “Unclean Books” (1885), T. H. West and others on “Improper Books” (1895), E. C. Doren on “Bad Books” (1903), L. Inkster on “Poisonous Books” (1910), Canon Rawnsley on “Pernicious Literature” (1912), C. W. F. Goss on “Nasty Literature” (1912), L. S. Jast on “Doubtful Books” (1913), and an anonymous contribution on “The Rejected Book” (1913).

There have been a few really useful finds among these articles, but the main use of them has been in gathering together lots of amusing tags used to describe the books these authors don't like. It is a sad reflection on my scholarship that I have started awarding a point for each negative tag.

Last night I read three articles from the Library Association Record: Alfred Lancaster, “Improper Books,” LAR 12 (1910): 6–7; C. W. F. Goss, “Nasty Literature,” LAR 14 (1912): 517–8; and Canon Rawnsley, “Recent Pernicious Literature,” LAR 14 (1912): 479–82.

The last of these is the one that provided me with a Harry Potter moment, a title that sounds like it would not be out of place in Hogwarts, but which would probably be quite inappropriate for the kiddies. But I get ahead of myself.

C. W. F. Goss, author of "Nasty Literature" (1912), "almost" apologises for introducing the subject "of the demoralizing book" at all but, having done so, agrees with a suggestion "made by the Committee of the National Council of Public Morals" in pleading for the inclusion of the word "indecent" and "obscene" to legislation aimed at banning "'immoral' literature." C.W.F.G., therefore, only gets two, or perhaps three, points (depending on whether he gets one for his title): demoralizing, immoral (and nasty).

Alfred Lancaster does better with his "Improper Books" (1910). Al. is particularly gratified that London publishers "seem willing to comply with the wishes of the circulating libraries" to exclude "impure literature," "books of an obnoxious character," "books of an improper character," "improper books," "books of a pernicious kind," and "books of an unwholesome character." He suggests that if a boycott of such books were widely adopted, writers and publishers would realise that it was pointless writing and publishing them, and "they will have the good sense to direct their talents to producing books of a more wholesome tone." Despite being a pin-head, or perhaps because of it, Al. gets five points: impure, obnoxious, improper, pernicious, and unwholesome.

Canon Rawnsley's paper on "Recent Pernicious Literature" is not reprinted (a shame), but is reported, along with the conversation that followed between the Canon and others. The good Canon wanted the laws "simplified" to make is easier to bring publishers to justice for "the torrent … of fiction, [that is] demoralizing the land," he lambasted "notorious publishing houses … shameless in their publications," for producing "vapid rubbish," "the corrosive novel," "the filthy novel," "demoralizing literature," "pernicious books," "shoddy rubbish," and the one you have been waiting for, "beastly books."

[Canon Rawnsley, I think]

He also, inter alia, laid the boots into the "idle and omnivorous girl reader" who is drawn to "flabby, backboneless stuff … in attractive covers and rather pretty titles." His correspondence with librarians had convinced him that "there was a large amount" of such "cheap, shoddy rubbish read by idling girls." Bad girls.

Mr A. H. Furnish noted that librarian's were striving to correct the mischievous tendency in fiction, by encouraging children to read better books, but the children "began to suspect their [the librarians] motives." To the children, it seemed that the librarians "wanted to give them something dry and unacceptable, and, from the perversity of their nature, to prevent them enjoying themselves."

Mr Hand (not to be confused with Mr Hand, the character in Dark City) pointed out that the librarians were "representatives of the rate-payers, and to some extent controlled by the requirements of the public." Indeed. He, therefore, suggested that all they needed to do was "to ensure there should be no demand for them." Unfortunately he does not explain how this revolution in human nature was to be achieved, it might have been useful to Senator Conroy (another pin-head) in dealing with porn on the internet.

The Chairman suggested that librarians ought, every year, to produce a list of five or six hundred volumes of "unexceptional fiction." The Canon doubted that so many "unexceptional novels" were produced in any year, but agreed with the principle. He proposed that a Board of volunteers could wade through the thousand or so novels per annum to identify "what is good and true, strong, healthy, and British." The Board would then "furnish them with a list of the beastly books issued," so that they could be avoided by the librarians. (Note to self, non-British books = beastly.)

It is a shame that this moral grandstanding, this festival of hot air, produced nothing more lasting than a three-page account in the Library Association Record. Oh, the inexpressible pleasure of reading the titles of Canon Rawnsley's Beastly Books of 1912! Still, the Canon and Co. are the winners, with thirteen (or fourteen) points: pernicious, demoralizing, notorious, shameless, vapid rubbish (should this be counted as two?), corrosive, filthy, pernicious, flabby, backboneless, shoddy, mischievous and beastly. Of course, beastly is probably worth more than one point … but Canon & Co. win either way.

Saturday 13 June 2009

About Dr Patrick Spedding

I am a lecturer in Literary Studies and am Associate-Director of the Centre for the Book, in the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, at Monash University, Melbourne.

This blog was set up to provide me with an informal outlet for research notes, writing about research and teaching.** As I say on my Monash staff page (here), my research areas are the bibliography of Eliza Haywood, book history or print culture, especially of the long eighteenth century, eighteenth-century literature, especially popular, satirical, erotic and low-life literature, and eighteenth-century culture, especially concerning sex, sexuality and contraception.

My teaching interests are quite a bit broader: eighteenth-century and Romantic literature; the gothic; nineteenth-century fantastic, horror and supernatural fiction; film, TV and Graphic Novel adaptations of these.

I am interested in supervising projects in these areas. I would be particularly interested in projects focussing on Eliza Haywood, and other women writers of the "long" eighteenth-century, in projects focusing on the British book trade, and the relationship between authors, publishers, readers and other stakeholders, in the eighteenth-century, projects focusing on erotica and censorship in the eighteenth-century, or on vampiric and demonic (anti)heroes.

I can be contacted about this, or anything else, via the following email address:

A partial list of my articles will be found the publications section of my Monash profile here; a more complete list of my publications, essays, papers etc., can be found here—with links to copies of many of my articles, available for download—and my page is here.

* * * * *

My official blurb runs as follows:

Patrick received his B.A. (hons) from the University of Tasmania and his Ph.D. from Monash University. His doctoral project was a detailed descriptive bibliography of every edition of every work by Eliza Haywood (1693-1756), from the first edition of the first anonymous and undated publication of 1719 through to the latest on-line collection of texts. Before completing this study, Patrick was invited to act as a consulting editor on the "superbly edited" (Peter Sabor, 2002) six volume series, the Selected Works of Eliza Haywood (v.1-3: 2000; v.4-6: 2001).

Patrick's A Bibliography of Eliza Haywood was submitted in 2003 and published by Pickering and Chatto in 2004. Containing over 125,000 words of critical prose this pioneering study has received numerous commendations from eminent scholars, and was the winner of the 2004-5 Modern Language Association of America Prize for a Distinguished Bibliography (see here). Margaret Croskery (2002) described it as a "formidable source of Haywood scholarship"; James Raven (2004), as exhibiting "extraordinary precision", "exemplary clarity", "painstaking research", "an indispensable aide to the literary scholar and cultural historian"; Paula Backscheider (2004), as a "formidable" work, "essential for Haywood critics": "his scholarship would be more accurately described as 'mind-boggling'"; Kevin L. Cope (2005) writes: "few [bibliographers] inspire such confidence as Spedding", his Bibliography " among the most accurate and comprehensive records of any author, let alone of [Haywood]", "Spedding thus brings a new and much-needed level of discipline to a field of study that has more often been animated by desire and ideology than by solid empirical scholarship", he shows "versatility as an interpreter as well as a bibliographer", "Such a volume is surely more than enough to constellate Spedding among the superstars of bibliography"; Norma Clarke (2005) describes Patrick's Bibliography as "without question, the most important development in Haywood scholarship of our time". The MLA citation of 2006 describes the Bibliography as an "astounding achievement in descriptive bibliography", while David Oakleaf quipped in The Scriblerian, that "were it not so heavy", this Bibliography "would be hard to put down"!

Patrick's other research interest concerns the clandestine publication of erotica in eighteenth century London. He edited, with Alexander Pettit, two five-volume sets of Eighteenth Century British Erotica for Pickering and Chatto (2002, 2004). This "spectacular" set, "with excellent historical and textual introductions", has been very well received (Norbert Schurer, 2004). Patrick's volume in this series was singled out by Joseph Pappa in The Scriblerian (2004) as containing a "fine Introduction" and "the best [annotations] in the series". He also acted as a consulting editor on two four-volume sets of Whore Biographies, 1700-1825, for the same publisher (2006, 2007). Patrick compiled an extensive Checklist of Eighteenth Century British Erotica while selecting and editing texts for Eighteenth Century British Erotica; he has also been researching the publication history of those few works that provide information on how these erotic texts were written, printed, published, distributed, sold, read and (usually) destroyed. In 2006, this research was the subject of a (successful) ARC funding application.

Since the conclusion of this project Patrick has been writing articles on the erotic "canon"; lost erotica of the eighteenth century; the history of Private Case collections; the uselessness of modern text-bases for research into eighteenth-century erotica; the prevalence and open sale of erotica in the eighteenth century; the continuing importance of manuscript distribution of erotica in the eighteenth-century, Boswell's use of condoms; the variety, if not the futility, of defining erotica and pornography. He is working towards completion of three books: a book-history study of erotica, especially in the eighteenth century (to be comprised of many of the article mentioned), a Checklist of Eighteenth-Century Erotica (presently in database form), and a history of the condom before 1840.

Patrick was General editor—with Paul Watt—of a four-volume series Bawdy Songbooks of the Romantic Period (2011) and is presently preparing a variety of articles on Eliza Haywood's readers.

**NB: "Blogger has not been enabled by the administrator of the domain"—which is why this blog was set up independently of Monash.

[UPDATED 16 March 2018]

Tuesday 9 June 2009

Defoe PhD studentship

Andreas Mueller mentioned on the C18-List that Worcester University has a fully-funded PhD studentship for a project on Daniel Defoe (see here for more information).

Digital Defoe, online 18C journal

Katherine Ellison and Holly Faith Nelson have announced the publication of the first issue of Digital Defoe, a new peer-reviewed online journal sponsored by the Defoe Society that celebrates the works and culture of Daniel Defoe and his contemporaries. You can access the first issue here.

The inaugural issue, “Defoe 2.0,” features scholarly, personal, and pedagogical essays, a multimedia project, a review, a note, recent dissertation and conference paper abstracts, and notices of projects in progress on Defoe and his contemporaries. Features include:

Katherine Ellison & Holly Faith Nelson, “Defoe 2.0: An Editorial Introduction”

Maximillian E. Novak, “Starting Out with Defoe in the 1950s”

Christopher Flynn, “Defoe’s Review: Textual Editing and New Media”

Lee Kahan, “’A Thousand Little Things’: The Dangers of Seriality in The Spectator and Moll Flanders”

Radhika Jones, “Father-Born: Mediating the Classics in J.M. Coetzee’s Foe.”

Denise Griggs, “A Strange Surprising Adventure: Curating the Defoe Exhibition for the Lilly Library”

Benjamin Pauley, “On Teaching Another Defoe”

Beyazit H. Akman, “The Turk’s Encounter with Defoe”

Sharon Alker, “The Second Life of Daniel Defoe” (review)

Each essay or textual component of a multimedia project includes a downloadable and print-friendly PDF. On the site you will also find submissions guidelines and copyright information, an introduction to our editorial board, announcements of upcoming events, and the CFP for the second issue, “Strangers, Gods, and Monsters’: Encountering the Other in Defoe and his Contemporaries," with a submission deadline of October 15, 2009 (submissions should be sent as Word .doc files following MLA citation to Katherine Ellison and Holly Faith Nelson ). Katherine and Holly welcome multimedia submissions that push the boundaries of scholarship in our field as well as more traditional essays, reviews, notes, and dissertation and conference abstracts.

Sunday 7 June 2009

The Phi Collection

I have been collecting information about Private Case (i.e. erotica) collections for the last few years for an article I am planning. One of the older and larger collections that gets an occasional mention is the Phi collection at the Bodleian library. The Bodleian has hundreds of collections within the library as a whole, and many of the collections have their own sequence of call numbers (also called press marks, a "press" being a book case, and the "press mark" being the position a book sits in the "press").

The Bodleian is an amazing library, with some astonishing and wonderful books, so you would think that their collection of erotica would be pretty impressive too. Unfortunately, there is no catalogue of the collection, so there is no way of knowing just how good it is. It is possible, after all, that they destroyed a lot of the erotic material they received. Of course, the fact that they had a named collection of erotica suggested that they hadn't destroyed it all, but the only way to know would be to see the catalogue.

Anyway, I use the Bodleian library online catalogue, OLIS, all the time, but until I tried to do a search for books by their shelfmark I hadn't realised that this is not, in fact, possible to do. You can't just type is "Phi" as a call number to see pops up. After a lot of time wasted trying to do the impossible, I posted a query on the EXLIBRIS list and was offered a solution.

Remember telnet? No, neither do I, or at least only vaguely. It seems to be a sort-of peer-to-peer connection between libraries and users, but it was developed in 1969 (!!!) and so it is pretty primitive. Well, apparently, telnet was the answer, because the Bodleian still had a telnet catalogue and this catalogue was searchable by call number. (You have to go to the OLIS home page—pictured below—to find the link, which is why I didn't see this option.) Unfortunately, telnet requires you to have special software on your computer and this being the 21st century and all I was pretty sure it didn't come bundled with my Mac.

The Bodleian, however, have made a great leap forward. They have also made their telnet catalogue available via a Java interface, so those of us who are not familiar with "8-bit byte oriented data connections" can search their catalogue. Unfortunately, the Java flickers, often ignores or misses commands and the whole telnet thing is so dinosauric that it makes sundials seem bright, shiny and new. Copying and pasting is pretty well out of the question, so there is no way to download the catalogue records you retrieve.

My solution was to use used screen-caps: 289 of them, because—as you can see—you only get a few lines to a "page." It took a while, but after an hour of valve-era computer thinking I now have a complete catalogue of the Phi collection.

The results are, frankly, disappointing. I was looking for eighteenth-century material for my Checklist of Eighteenth-Century Erotica and there is hardly any, and even less in English. But at least now I know that there is nothing there …

Haywood Bibliography Note 1

I was recently lucky enough to find a set of Haywood's Female Spectator (1744–46). It is a little battered, but it was cheap, and it contains almost all the part-titles (an enormous help to bibliographers).

Anyway, although it is a "first edition" (Ab.60.1), I hesitate to call it one because my set—like almost every other set I have looked at—has a few Books in it that are reprints. In fact, when I looked closely at my copy I discovered that the reprinted Books that it contains are ones I hadn't seen before (I'll do a post on these reprints later). So I took my set to Monash and compared it to the one we have in Rare Books.

One of the first things I noticed when comparing the two is that the Books in my set that differ from those in the Monash set usually contain different tailpieces. And while it can be hard to identify a clear example of typographical difference between two line-for-line reprints (looking for hyphens instead of dashes, for instance), differences between ornaments are very, very clear.

I mentioned in my Bibliography how difficult and frustrating it is trying to distinguish line-by-line reprints from each other when no library has more than one copy of any one title or edition. And this is a perfect example of why. What a difference it makes, how much simpler it is, when you can sit two copies side-by-side.

When I got home again I photographed the ornaments in my copy. I will keep them on my computer so I can compare them to ornaments in the copies I examine in the future. And, in case anyone wants to check their copies at home, I thought I'd reproduce them here. The captions I have given them are the ones I am using in the updated entries in my Bibliography, entries that will form the basis of the second edition I am planning.

[1. Fruit and flowers]

[2. Five petal flower]

[3. Six petal flower]

[4. Vase of Flowers]

[5. Seated Figure]

[6. Winged Head]

[7. Eight petal flower]

Tailpieces appear on the last page of 16 of the 24 Books (Book 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 22, 24). The ornaments are:

1. Fruit and flowers [Book 5, 10 11, 12, 15]
2. Five petal flower [Book 9, 22]
3. Six petal flower [Book 6]
4. Vase of Flowers [Book 3, 17, 18]
5. Seated Figure [Book 1, 7, 14]
6. Winged Head [Book 12]
7. Eight petal flower [Book 24]

In other sets—with second or third editions of individual Books—the ornament may differ. So, for example, in the Monash copy of Book 1, the tailpiece is a Winged Head rather than a Seated Figure, but in my set Book 1 is a third edition (not recorded in my Bibliography) it is, nevertheless, a Seated Figure. I will save the technical details for another time.

Tuesday 2 June 2009

Book History Postdoc, 2009

Dr Mary Hammond posted the following information on the SHARP list yesterday

The University of Southampton UK is pleased to invite applications for five one-year Humanities postdoctoral research fellowships, one of which will be dedicated to the development of book history here. Applicants should have completed a PhD no more than three years ago. Further details and application information can be found here. The closing date is 5th June 2009.


Dr Mary Hammond
Senior Lecturer
School of Humanities
University of Southampton
Avenue Campus
Southampton SO17 1BJ