Friday 21 December 2012

1934 Magazine Stand and Bookshop

This anonymous photo of an unidentified newspaper stand and bookshop(?) is not really typical of the photos that turn up on eBay, but it is the sort of photo that does turn up regularly—regularly enough to keep me going back to eBay to see what is on offer.

Here we have, it seems, the proprietor and his assistants standing in front of a counter and display-racks of magazines, outside a bookshop or general store which has kites, film and sunglasses on show in the window.

On display are a mix of popular magazines, from the innocuous (Argosy) to the sort that occasionally alarmed censors in Australia (Love Story and Complete Underworld Novelettes). As well as detective and sporting magazines there are endless film and radio titles (Silver Screen, Picture, Radioland and Radio Guide).

This last magazine, at the bottom, right side of the image, appears to be the 1 September 1934 issue.

Since Radio Guide was a weekly—and nothing dates more quickly than a radio or tv programme, this magazine allows me to date the image to the first week of September 1934. (I found the cover here.)

Notice that on display in the window behind the proprietor is a sign “Circulating Library.”

Also captured in the image, in the reflection of the shop-window at the top-left of the image, is a private and engaging moment of a family passing by. Some fiddling in Photoshop brings out a few details.

Having stopped, perhaps, while the proprietor and his assistants were posing for the photo, we see a father has lifted his infant son up onto his shoulders to watch the event, while his wife looks on.

* * * * *

I am not really sure what an image like this adds to our knowledge of book history: I cannot locate the establishment, though I can date it, the range of magazines is not really remarkable, we learn nothing of the Circulating Library, and proprietors, assistants, and passers-by are much the same now as then.

Perhaps images like these, like evidence of reading, book ownership etc in general, are really only useful when brought together in large enough numbers … which is all the justification I need to keep looking on eBay.

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

Wednesday 19 December 2012

The City Widow Revisited

I did a long post on Haywood’s The City Widow over a year ago (see here), a post which—looking at it again—got quite side-tracked by my discussion of the prospect of editing the complete works of Haywood. Tempting as it is to revisit the subject of editing, I will try to stick closer to my subject. Today, I’d like to bring together some of the evidence for the post-publication history of Ab.44 The City Widow; Or, Love in a Butt (1729).

Trawling through ECCO and Google Book, I have found The City Widow in ten circulating library, bookseller’s and auctioneer’s sale catalogues up to 1900, those from 1752, 1758, 1767, 1784, 1787, 1793, 1821, 1862, 1887 and 1899. (Sadly, it is not possible to trace twentieth-century references so easily.)

What is surprising is how often The City Widow is bound with salacious and erotic works: works on prostitution (The History of Betty Ireland), rape (The Case of Miss C. Cadière against the Jesuit John Baptist Gerard), masturbation (Onania), scatology (Sixpenny Miscellany; Or, A Dissertation Upon Pissing), erotica (A New Description of Merryland), and titillating fiction (Clarinda; Her Escape and Escapades with a Jesuit). By the late nineteenth century it was twice listed under "Facetiae"—which was a euphemism for erotica (see nos. 8 and 10).

From a bibliographical perspective, two items stand out: nos. 1 and 8. The first of these is interesting because it is an early collection of works by Haywood, comprising Ab.44–45, 47–48. It is tempting to see this as a collection put together by the publisher—John Brindley. Whether such a collection was ever advertised as a collection is something I will have to look into.

The second is interesting because it is the only listing that identifies Haywood as the author (even though the dedication is signed “Eliz. Haywood”). The fact that most of these listings do not mention Haywood as the author is indicative of just how rarely authors are mentioned in eighteenth and nineteenth-century catalogues and, we have to assume, just how uninterested the public was in the authorship of The City WidowThe History of Betty Ireland and Clarinda—Her Escape and Escapades with a Jesuit!

* * * * *

[1] Charles Marsh, A Catalogue of a Large and Useful Collection of Books (1752?), 84 (no. 2454)—bound with Haywood’s Ab.45 Persecuted Virtue, Ab.47 Frederick, Duke of Brunswick-Lunenburgh, Ab.48 Love-Letters on all Occasions—priced at 2s 6d.

 [2] Thomas Lownds, A New Catalogue of Lownds's Circulating Library (1758?), 49 (no. 1794)—bound with The History of Betty IrelandFair Concubine and two others—priced at 5s.

 [3] William Bathoe, A New Catalogue of the Curious and Valuable Collection of Books (1767?), 86 (no. 2393)—bound with Amorous Bugbears; Or, The Humours of a Masquerade and Clarinda; Her Escape and Escapades with a Jesuit—priced at 4s.

[4] Ogilvy, David, A Catalogue of Several Libraries of Books (1784?), 144 (no.6062)—priced at 6d. 

[5] John Boosey, A New Catalogue of the Circulating Library at No. 39, King Street, Cheapside (1787), 104 (no.3137)—bound with The Ungrateful Wife and the Life of Daniel Defoe—priced at 3s. 

[6] Thomas King, Appendix to T. King's catalogue for 1792 (1793), 145 (no.5117)—priced at 6d.

[7] Thomas Rodd, Catalogue of twelve thousand tracts, pamphlets and unbound books, in all branches of literature, Part 5 (1821), 321 (no.14,927)—priced at 2s.

[8] Messrs. Leigh Sotheby & John Wilkinson, Catalogue of … the Extensive Library of a Gentleman, Deceased (14 November 1862), 77 (no.924)—bound with five other works, including Onania (1722), Modest Defence of Public Stews Answered (1725), The Case of Miss C. Cadière against the Jesuit John Baptist Gerard (1732) etc—under the heading “Facetiae.”

[9] Messrs. Sotheby, Wilkinson, and Hodge, Catalogue of the Valuable and Very Extensive Library of the late James T. Gibson Craig, Esq. (6 July 1887), 140 (no.2388)—bound with more than ten other works, including A New Description of Merryland (1741), Sixpenny Miscellany; Or, A Dissertation Upon Pissing (1726)—with the bookplate of the Hon. C. Hope Weir.

[10] Pickering and Chatto, An Illustrated Catalogue of Old and Rare Books (1899), 112 (no.1275)—under the heading “Facetiae”—priced at 10s (sewn).

Tuesday 18 December 2012

Ambrotype of a Woman Reading (late 1850s)

This photo of a woman reading a book dates from the late 1850s. It can be dated by both the process used to capture the image and the image itself.

The photo is a one-sixth-plate ambrotype and pinchbeck metal mount in an original embossed leather case. According to Wikipedia: “Ambrotypes first came into use in the early 1850s … By the late 1850s, the ambrotype was overtaking the daguerreotype in popularity; by the mid-1860s, the ambrotype itself was supplanted by the tintype and other processes.” This image has been hand-tinted—which was common—to add gold-painted jewelery.

The hairstyle of the woman reading her book is distinctive. Her hair is parted in the centre, is severely-flat on top and sides, covering her ears, with straight sausage (or bottle) curls at her shoulders. This style was popular with younger women in just prior to 1860. (See here and here.)

The pose is (typically) formal for a studio photo. The background curtain has been washed out to a blank, the studio furniture is very basic. Most likely, the book is also a prop.

This is the oldest photo I have. I have seen earlier photos of people reading for sale, daguerreotypes from the early 1850s, but these are enormously expensive and so this is likely to stay my oldest photo!

Thursday 13 December 2012

James Hammond's Circulating Library

New York Society Library (NYSL; NNYSL on ESTC) recently announced on the SHARP-list that it has completed an online catalogue of its Hammond Collection, which is comprised of 1,152 novels, plays, poetry, and other works from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries (i.e., mostly 1770–1820).

James Hammond's Circulating Library (information here), which operated out of Hammond's store in Newport, Rhode Island, reflected the popular reading interests of the time: including Gothic novels, romances, epistolary fiction, musical comedies, and other genres. A number of the books are quite scarce; in a few cases, being the only known extant copy.

I read through the entire catalogue in the hope of finding something of interest and wasn’t disappointed: there are only two Haywood items, the first of which I already knew about (Ab.64.4 Epistles for Ladies (London: H. Gardner, 1776) [No.542; here]; Ab.70.5a The Wife: interspersed with a variety of anecdotes and observations … (Boston: A. Newell, 1806) [No. 655; here]).

But there are also copies of Jacques Cazotte, The Devil in Love: Translated from the French (New York: C. S. Van Winkle, 1810) [No. 993; here], Memoirs and Adventures of a Flea (London: T. Axtell, 1785) [No. 1317; here] and Denis Diderot, The Nun (Dublin: Brett Smith, 1797) [No. 1372; here].

The 1810 New York edition of The Devil in Love had escaped my notice when I was compiling a list of early editions of this novel. Looking further into this omission, I realise I have missed all the nineteenth-century American editions of Cazotte, so I will have to update my post on that subject (here).

What I have not yet done, but will, is read through the Catalogue of James Hammond's Circulating Library, 142 Thames Street, Newport, R.I. (Newport, RI: Mason & Pratt's Power Press, 1853) (online here)—which claims to list eight thousand volumes. The Charles Sumner copy of this catalogue, held at Harvard—contains both of the items now at NYSL—Epistles for the Ladies, by the author of the Female Spectator [No.542, on p.21] and Wife; advice to the married of all conditions [No. 655, on p.70]—but it is possible that there are more Haywood items that did not make it to NYSL.

It is good to see that the NYSL is continuing to make information about its important collection available online. For my post on the NNYSL borrowing register (July 1789 to April 1792), see here.

Saturday 11 August 2012

Tom Phillips' Readers (ca. 1900–1940)

My copy of Readers: Vintage People on Photo Postcards from the Tom Phillips Archive (The Bodleian Library, 2010)—see here—has now arrived. It is full of great images and has two very useful but also very brief essays by David Lodge and Tom Phillips.

Phillips sketches out the utility-function of books in the formal portraits taken in photographer's studios (something to occupy the hands and to act as a focus for attention for a nervous subject). But Lodge observes that books "served as indices of culture, education, and in some cases piety" (5), and gives examples which are enigmatic or transparent in their symbolism and symmetry.

A father and son portrait, where both are holding books looking at the camera may symbolise the passing on of wisdom. A man reading and his wife observing him is unclear. Is he reading to his wife, or is she "self-effacingly admiring his absorption of higher things"?

Lodge also notes how, because of "the limited repertoire of body-language and facial expressions associated with reading" (5), the viewer searches "for other kinds of human interest, behavioral and sociological" (6)—and historical. Whether posted/contrived or candid/näive all the photos provide "invaluable clues to the way people lived in the past" (6).

Both writers stress the changing role of photographs, and the progression from studio settings (plain or exotic), to domestic interiors, to outdoor settings and holiday snaps. The two hundred photos in this books cycle through different types of readers in each of these stages.

So, we get studio photos of children, children with parents/grandparents with children, parents, grandparents; then domestic interiors of children, children with parents/grandparents etc; then outdoor settings and holiday snaps of children, children with parents/grandparents etc.

There are probably only a dozen images here that I would add to my own collection, and there are many representation of reading not represented in this book at all that I would like to have seen represented. Where, for instance, are the risqué postcards of naughty readers that I included in my last post? Where are postcards of people reading letters?

The Tom Phillips Archive is vast (50,000 cards), the images "arranged by subject" (8), and the books based on the archive have also been arranged by subject: Bicycles, Fantasy Travel, Menswear, Weddings, Women & Hats—and Readers. Note, no risqué subjects.

It is possible—likely even—that Phillips eschewed risqué French postcards because they were French and Phillips clearly had a nationalistic drive. He wanted to document "British people in the first half of the 20th century" (8). (My own collection is international.)

If there were any risqué British postcards these might have been excluded because they did not document real British people. If so, this would be a curious and inconsistent omission. The non-risqué portraits are no more real than the risqué ones, and the pretense of mimesis in the photos Phillips includes are even more false than the clearly-posed risqué "portraits" I posted.

Because I have conducted so many eBay searches for "women reading" I am acutely aware of how many images thus listed are of women reading letters (when you are looking for images of people reading books, you only get magazines and letters!). These vary from the risqué (woman in dishabille reading a love letter) to the poignant (mother/sister/lover reading a letter from son/brother/lover at "the front"). There are none such—risqué, poignant or otherwise—in this collection.

Both omissions stand out to me because the images concerned focus attention on the encoding of privacy with reading (and, often, privacy with eroticism).

Lodge reminds us that reading is "mental and invisible" (5), visually inscrutable. Because the real world is displaced by reading, a reader's focus is within, in a private and invisible world (in-scrutable, meaning "unable to be seen").

Between this private/invisible inner-world and the public outer world a reader is prepared to share with others—in photographic form—is the private world that a reader will not normally share with others.

My own experience suggests that a lot of reading occurs in—and a lot of candid photos occupy—this private space. If you are reading in bed, few people have access to this private space to photograph you in the first place.

And if you are photographed reading in repose, you are unlikely to be happy to keep the resulting photo, or happy enough to have this photograph printed in, and sent through, the public spaces of photographer's studio and post, to share it with someone else.

Lodge mentions an image "which seems un-posed" depicting a couple reading. The husband wears a suit "though this is his leisure time"—Lodge implies this was normal uptight middle-class behavior at the time.

Perhaps it was, but if the husband had been wearing silk pajamas, would the photo have been taken? And if taken, not destroyed? And, if not destroyed, shared? And if shared, printed as a postcard and sent through the post?

It seems likely that very little of the genuinely private world of readers is visible in Phillips' photos because these postcards were sent through the post. One John Cartell wrote: "I refrain from commenting on my expression in them [photos previously sent] since this p.c. is liable to be read by chaste postmen etc" (112).

So the decision to limit photographic images to those turned into postcards and sent to others likely excludes many of the most interesting photographs of reading—not just the risqué ones likely to offend chaste postmen, but the ones likely to embarrass their subjects by breaking down the division between the public/private world of Jane or John Doe, reader.

* * * * *

Phillips mentions an exhibition of photographs he had recently encountered by André Kertész at the Photographer's Gallery in London. A bit of searching revealed that this 2010 exhibition is actually based on a collection of photographs first published forty years ago under the title On Reading (New York: Grossman, 1972). I have ordered a copy (a first) and will say something about it here when it arrives.

Monday 6 August 2012

Vintage Photos of Women Readers

About five years ago I started collecting vintage photos and artwork of women reading. The collection started by accident when someone sent me a link to an image of Marilyn Monroe on a now-defunct blog called Babes with Books. (Do not Google this site-name; it has been resurrected by a pornmeister.)

I went looking for other vintage photos of women reading, and bought a few of the more interesting ones, including a couple of risque French postcards. (One of which ended up as the poster art for the 2010 BSANZ conference run by the Centre for the Book at Monash: see here.)

Part of what interested me at first about the images I found is what might be called the "erotics of reading"—or, in much cruder terms, the application of Rule 34 to reading (an internet meme stating that "If it exists, there is porn of it. No exceptions.") Because if you look for vintage images of women reading an awful lot of them eroticise the act of reading.

A good eighteenth-century example of an eroticised reader, taken more-or-less at random, is Nicolas-Bernard Lépicié's "Woman Reading" (1769) (see here).

Looking at this image I am left wondering whether the act of reading is only an excuse for the artist to show a woman in dishabille, that the book legitimises the partial nudity because is a plausible situation for a woman to be in a state of undress. Having exhausted the artistic possibilities of "woman bathing (nude)" or "women sleeping (mostly nude)" we have "women reading (partial nude)." That is, rule 34.

Among the postcards, that I bought in 2007 and 2008, this one is, perhaps, the best example of using a book as a plausible-prop-for-naughtiness. Note well, the book is upside-down!

(I recently bought another which depicts a couple reading a copy of the Kama Sutra, and have seen a photo recently—even more self-referential—of a naked model reading a book called Nude Photography! Why didn't I buy it? Some residual good taste perhaps. I will post some of these another time.)

Returning to Monroe. I loved this post on Monroe, particularly this quote:

If some photographers thought it was funny to pose the world’s most famously voluptuous 'dumb blonde” with a book—James Joyce! Heinrich Heine!—it wasn’t a joke to her. In these newly discovered diary entries and poems, Marilyn reveals a young woman for whom writing and poetry were lifelines, the ways and means to discover who she was and to sort through her often tumultuous emotional life. And books were a refuge and a companion for Marilyn during her bouts of insomnia.

As the author goes on to explain, Monroe was a serious reader and had an impressive collection of capital-L literature on her shelves, but it seems at least part of her willingness, enthusiasm even, to be photographed reading was iconoclastic.

Her love of books was genuine, and if it seems that she lost no opportunity to be photographed while reading it was only a desperate need to be taken seriously as a human being and as a thinking, intellectually curious, down-to-earth woman with something extra beyond her obvious physical charms that motivated her; she should be forgiven.

Unfortunately for Monroe, the icon was not so easily broken.

* * * * *

Returning to my first collection of vintage images of women reading: just as my small collection started to take shape I lost interest in it. There didn't seem much point in collecting images to illustrate the obvious relevance of rule 34 to reading and so, in 2010, I passed the dozen or so images on to Monash University. (See here.)

But one year later I started again. I found an article on the way in which books were used as props in the photographs of a single, nineteenth-century Canadian studio. It got me wondering how books were used as props in general, and how reading was used as a signifier in early photographs in general (studio and candid photos). And, indeed, what were the functions of books and reading in artwork in general.

Although I am interested in exploring this wider area, and am prepared to track it from the eighteenth-century up to WW1, I decided to maintain the focus largely on women readers for academic and practical reasons. The practical reasons are the limits of what I can afford to spend and how much space I have available.

The academic ones are varied, but I am most interested in eighteenth-century women writers and their contemporary and later readers. The history of these writers and readers can only be understood in relation to attitudes in general to women as readers and writers since the eighteenth century.

(And, as I discovered when looking at the history of eighteenth-century erotica, much of the most important part of the history of erotica took place in the nineteenth century. This is when material was either collected or destroyed, when facts were recorded or not. The nineteenth century was the valley of the shadow of death through which every work of eighteenth-century erotica had to pass before they could "lie down in green pastures" and dwell in a library forever.)

* * * * *

Enough introduction. I always intended to post images on this blog of the artwork I collected and I am starting now. I will provide whatever information I have been able to gather about each image, principally about photographers and clothes, hairstyles etc to justify the dating. (Dating is often difficult, and I am learning as I go so I am happy to revisit and revise dates and I learn more, and as I find more online reference material and I get more reference books to help with identifying fashions.)

I will, on occasion, make further comment where it is appropriate. The literature on this topic is tiny, but where I can make connections to scholarly material I will. So far the only book I can find on readers is the article I mentioned above and Readers: Vintage People on Photo Postcards from the Tom Phillips Archive (The Bodleian Library, 2010), see here, and my copy has not arrived yet!

Today's image is an albumen print on a carte de visite (abbreviated CdV or CDV, see here) of a young woman, seated, holding a book or photo album.

The photographer is identified as "C. H. Williamson, Brooklyn, established 1851"—Charles H. Williamson operated his gallery in Brooklyn from 1851 to 1859.

The photographer's dates suggest late 1850s for this image. But, if you look here and here you will see that the subject is wearing clothes that appear to date from the 1880s (a tight fitted jacket, with a high white collar, lots of buttons in a row, and tight fitted sleeves). However, her hair is severe and you can see part of her ears (suggesting a date in the mid- to late 1860s), and the logo on the back must pre-date the mid-1860s too.

All very confusing. I am going to opt for early to mid-1860s, assuming the fashions in the early 1880s were a return to similar fashions of the early 1860s and that Williamson's backing-cards continued to be used beyond 1859.

Since buying this CDV I have tended not to buy images that do not depict actual reading (even if staged), particularly when—as here—the book and the subject cannot be identified.

Sunday 22 July 2012

Ann Lang versus Lady Stanley

Kathryn R. King comments, "in Haywood criticism Ann Lang is nearly inescapable." This is because Edmund Gosse wrote an essay, "What Ann Lang Read," which appeared in his Gossip in a Library in 1891 (see here). Gosse, a serious book collector and professional dilettante of literature, "become the happy possessor of a portion of [Ann Lang's] library." He used this "portion" as a springboard for an essay on Haywood and her typical reader. And because Gosse wrote fatuous drivel about Haywood he has become the straw-critic extraordinaire for Haywood scholars.

As TV Tropes explains, a straw critic is:

Any character in fiction who is described as a well-known or influential critic, an editor, or as an English professor, is likely to be a Straw Critic as well as an insufferable snob … Critics and editors often attract the ire of writers, because it's their job to tell people when stories suck. Needless to say, "Your story sucks" is not something most writers want to hear …

A few examples of Gosse's insufferable snobbery: [Haywood's works were] "strictly popular … non-literary … [Haywood] ardently desired to belong to literature … [but] never recognised [by intellectuals] … Plot was not a matter [she] greatly troubled herself [with] … All that distinguished her was her vehement exuberance and the emptiness of the field … [her play] is wretched … no one says that she was handsome … she was undoubtedly a bad actress … [after Pamela appeared Haywood's readers] must have looked back on [her novels] with positive disgust."

[Edmund Gosse, insufferable snob]
As for Ann Lang (and all Haywood readers): [she was] "a milliner’s apprentice or a servant-girl … lower middle class … servants in the kitchen … seamstresses … basket-women … ‘prentices … straggling nymphs … [who usually] read [a book] to tatters, and they threw it away … [or] drop warm lard on the leaves …  tottle up her milk-scores … scribble in the margin … dog’s-ear … or stain it, or tear it … [and who read Haywood because they] must read something"

So, Haywood sucks and her readers were ignorant gits. Right. Time to smash-cut to Lady Stanley.

Like—but unlike—Gosse, I am a dilettante book collector and professional critic (certainly when it comes to Haywood) who has become "the happy possessor of a portion" of the library of a Haywood collector. I probably have access to more information about Lady Stanley than he did about Ann Lang—the lives of aristocrats being, in general, better recorded than those of commoners—but I will resist the ad hominem arguments that he favours.

It is not clear whether, the Lady Stanley who previously owned my copy of the 3rd edition of The Female Spectator was Lady Elizabeth Stanley of Hooton, nee Paray (d.1761) or Lady Mary Stanley of Alderley nee Ward (widowed in 1755), or another, yet-to-be identified, Lady Stanley. And, really, it hardly matters. Although aristocrats occasionally married milliner’s apprentices or servant-girls, it is unlikely that Lady Stanley resembles Gosse's Ann Lang in this or any other respect.

Indeed, the only way in which Lady Stanley resembles Gosse's typical reader of Haywood's "strictly popular publications of a non-literary kind" is a way that Ann Lang does not resemble Gosse's portrait of the typical reader of Haywood's "strictly popular publications…" That is, while Ann Lang's books were in lovely condition, Lady Stanley's copy of The Female Spectator is not. But perhaps, in the same way that Ann Lang's atypically-cleanly books establish her working-class credentials, Lady Stanley's atypically-ratty books would, for Gosse, establish her aristocratic credentials.

Needless to say, there is plenty more evidence to prove that Gosse was writing fatuous drivel on this subject. I have blogged on this subject a few times (here and here for instance) and I have a few articles—perhaps even a book—in the works on Haywood's readers.

[UPDATE: 29 June 2021: Updated Google Books link]

Thursday 19 July 2012

Book History at Monash in the 1960s

I have been planning for some time to do a series of posts on the early history of the Centre for the Book, which celebrates its thirtieth birthday this year. To this end I have been picking the brain of Prof. Wallace Kirsop and Dr Brian McMullin and reading over the small number of published accounts of the rise of bibliography, textual editing and book history at Monash, to put together this post on the history of the Centre and the study of book history at Monash. (Not covered in the recently-published history of Monash University.)

Fortuitously, Dr Per Henningsgaard has also been collecting information on the teaching of bibliography in Australian institutions and Wal has allowed me to reproduce here some of what he recently sent to Per.

* * * * *

[Wallace Kirsop writes] "Despite the wishes of some of us at Monash in the early 1960s, Librarianship did not get off the ground till the middle of the 1970s. Consequently, the history of teaching bibliography and book history at Monash—bound up with Brian McMullin in particular—did not begin till later than the events I am going to note and gloss.

I saw the English Department as an outsider only till I began to teach courses for the Department in the 1980s. (I filled in for Harold Love one year in his “Methods of Scholarship” course for Fourth Year Honours, and later offered a Second/Third Year unit on “Publishing in Australia” for almost a decade till my retirement at the end of 1998.)

At the beginning, the English Department avoided falling into the neo-Leavisite morass characteristic of the University of Melbourne. In other words, it stuck to more conventional literary history, which did not exclude physical bibliography, of course. R. C. Bald was appointed to a Chair in 1965, but died before taking it up (and returning to Australia from North America). The major figure for four decades was Harold Love, but one must not forget Philip Ayres and Clive Probyn and, indeed, for relatively brief passage in the 1970s of Arthur Brown.

In the 1960s, the lead was taken by the French Department, led by my then boss Roger Laufer (whose bibliography you can no doubt download). He created the Australian Journal of French Studies, whose editorship I inherited when he returned to France at the end of 1967. An enthusiastic convert to bibliography, he planned a special emphasis on the subject in AJFS. In 1966 there was a special number on the subject in which we joined forces with Oxford colleagues, notably Richard Sayce and Giles Barber.

I was encouraged to tackle book studies in a sort of three-pronged approach: first “The bibliography of French literary history: progress, problems, projects,” AJFS 1 (1964): 325–64, then, in the special number, “Vers une collaboration de la bibliographie matérielle et de la critique textuelle,” AJFS 3 (1966): 227–51 (later expanded as Bibliographie matérielle et critique textuelle: vers une collaboration (Paris: Minard, 1970)), finally “Literary history and book trade history: the lessons of L’Apparition du livre,” AJFS 16 (1979): 488–535.

Alongside this—as the result of an enforced six-month rest with TB—I was exploring the Australian book world from a similar standpoint (reference and physical bibliography, book history). See, for example, a lecture given in Sydney in November 1966 and published as Towards a history of the Australian book trade (Sydney: Wentworth Books, 1969).

Laufer organised an informal seminar on textual editing in 1966, at which Harold Love and, if I remember correctly, Bill Cameron spoke. The whole event lasted through a series of weekly sessions.** French pushed for the creation of a coursework and minor thesis M.A.—a first for Australia, when it was launched in 1966. Naturally, bibliography—reference and physical—was part of the curriculum.

We were severally and individually in close touch with Henri-Jean Martin and Jeanne Veyrin-Forrer at the IVe Section of the École pratique des Hautes Études. In other words we approved of and espoused the marriage of book history and physical bibliography that is characteristic of the French book-history school (despite what is sometimes erroneously claimed in the Anglosphere).

I have lived to see some French literary scholars take up physical bibliography, to the point one could claim the discipline is now more lively on the Continental side of the Channel. Monash played a little part, but Jeanne Veyrin-Forrer and her pupils were more important.

This, then, is part of the background to the creation of Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand in 1969. It will be clear that, in my mind, physical bibliography, textual editing and book history were all part of the enterprise from the beginning.

When the Monash Centre for Bibliographical and Textual Studies was made formal in the 1980s, the sharing of teaching tasks meant that Brian McMullin did physical bibliography, Harold Love did textual editing and I did book history. However, in our own work, the borders were not so fixed, of course. But all that concerns more recent publications and projects."

* * * * *

** Recordings of five of these early seminars survive, as I will explain in a later post. Wal's teaching archives are held by the University.

* * * * *

UPDATE 15 Feb 2013: Wal Kirsop has sent me a copy of a French Department memo he found when moving offices recently. It is dated 13 April 1964 and states, in part:

During Second Term a course of lectures will be given on Fridays at 4.15 pm in Room 210 by Dr W. Kirsop as an introduction to the history of printing, to bibliography and to the editing of texts. A guide to reading and some more detailed indication of the problems to be discussed will be circulated later. This course is compulsory for Research Students and will be followed by a written examination at the beginning of third term."

From this memo it is clear that postgraduate students (HDRs) in the French Department were undertaking bibliography and book history subjects at Monash at least as early as 1964. And so, it seems, 2014 will mark fifty years of bibliography and book history at Monash.

Sunday 15 July 2012

Literary Tattoos of Eighteenth-Century Authors

After considerable searching I can only find literary tattoos based on the works of three British authors other than Eliza Haywood (covered here): and they are Alexander Pope, Mary Wollstonecraft and Jane Austen.

Including Austen is a bit of a stretch, though she is usually included in the "long eighteenth century." But, without her, I'd only have Pope, Wollstonecraft and the Marquis de Sade. An odd mix, though not uninteresting. I am sure I will find others and, when I do, I will add them below.

[UPDATE 18 July 2012: added all the missing links and five new finds: more Pope, Wollstonecraft and Austen]

(My post on literary tattoos in general is here.)

Alexander Pope (1688–1744)

An Essay on Criticism (1711), 2.325
  "To err is human; to forgive divine."

[see here for Lee Annee's tattoo]

Eloisa to Abelard (1717), ll. 207–10:
  "How happy is the blameless vestal's lot!
  The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
  Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
  Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd."

[see here for Trent's tattoo]

[see here for Crissy's profile page with links to three other images]

[see here]

[see here]

[see here]

An Essay on Man Epistle IV (1733-34): 193.
  "Act well your part, there all the honour lies"

[see here for Chanel-Deann's tattoo]

Marquis de Sade (1740–1814)


[see here]

[For a discussion of the portrait which this tattoos is based on, see here.]

[see here]

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)


[see here]

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), Ch.3.
"Taught from their infancy that beauty is woman's sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and, roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adore its prison."

[see here]

Jane Austen (1775–1817)


[see here]

[see here]

[see here for Patricia's tattoo]


[see here]

Pride and Prejudice (1813), vol.1, ch.11, Elizabeth to Miss Bingley:
"Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me."

[see here for more photos]

Pride and Prejudice (1813), vol.2, ch.9 (ch.34), Mr. Darcy to Elizabeth:
"In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you."

[see here]

Pride and Prejudice (1813), vol.3, ch.18 (ch.60), Mr. Darcy to Elizabeth:
"I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun."

[see here for Mardy's tattoo]


[see here for Patricia's tattoo]

[see here]

[UPDATED 13 December 2012]

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

Friday 13 July 2012

Marginal Marks in Books

On Monday Jeffrey P. Barton posted a question on the EXLIBRIS-List concerning how to describe various manuscript annotations to books. Jim Kuhn directed Jeffrey to The Shakespeare Quartos Archive (here), to a fabulous list of manuscript annotations in the "Encoding Documentation" section (here), based on the OED and/or Peter Beal’s Dictionary of English Manuscript Terminology (2008).

Since I am a little bit obsessed with marginalia at present I thought I’d reproduce the list, make some additions, and—at some point in the future—add images of examples I encounter in works by Haywood.

Manuscript Annotations

arrow: a mark like an arrow, or arrow-head, used as a pointer

asterisk: frequently drawn as a small x-cross with a dot in each angle

asterism: a group of three asterisks placed thus (***) to direct attention to a particular passage

brace: a sign ( } or ] or > ), but may take more improvisational shapes) used in writing or printing, chiefly for the purpose of uniting together two or more lines, words, staves of music, etc.

caret: an inverted-v shaped mark placed in writing below the line, to indicate that something (written above or in the margin) has been omitted in that place

cross: two bars or lines (horizontal and vertical) crossing each other, used as a sign, ornament, etc.; mark or sign of small size used to mark a passage in a book, etc.

[dagger: †; see cross]

dash: a horizontal stroke (usually short and straight)

dot: a minute roundish mark

double oblique: two parallel slashes ( || ) or diagonal strokes ( // )

double triangle: two adjoining triangles sharing a horizontal base line

flower: the representation of a flower of more than three or four petals (which would be trefoils and quatrefoils; see below)

gnomic pointing: double inverted commas used in the meadieval and early-modern period to draw attention to proverbs and sententiae

label: a slip of paper, cardboard, metal, etc. attached or intended to be attached

line: a horizontal line, longer than a dash (and generally serving a different purpose)

manicule: hand or fist with pointing finger

marginal commas: single or double commas, sometimes inverted, used to mark a line or lines of text. Alexander Pope used a system of marginal commas and asterisks in his Chaucer and Shakespeare to indicate “some of the most shining passages.”

mathematical formulas: use only for complex numeric equations or arithmetical problems; transcribe simple numeric or mathematical annotations in full

n.b. or N.B.: abbreviation for nota bene, or "note well"

O: the letter considered with regard to its shape

oblique: a slash or diagonal stroke

quatrefoil: compound leaf or flower containing four, usually rounded, leaflets or petals radiating from a common centre

[quotation marks: see gnomic pointing, marginal commas and running quotes]

running quotes: double inverted commas used to indicate a quotation and, therefore (perhaps), something quote-worthy

scribble: a piece of random or casual doodling or drawing of unclear textual purpose, including pen trials made by writers to test a freshly-trimmed pen or a writing style

stroke: a vertical stroke (usually short and straight: | )

trefoil: a leaf, such as a clover, comprising three rounded sections

triangle: a rectilineal figure having three angles and three sides

X: the letter considered with regard to its shape

[UPDATED 19 July 2012]

Thursday 12 July 2012

Paratextual Satire: An Introduction

It seems that the locution "paratextual satire" is not new; credit for it must go to the late Dr Janis L. Pallister. Pallister used this phrase twenty years ago in an article on François Béroalde de Verville's Le Moyen de parvenir (1616?), glossing it as "satire outside the narrative structures."

Though the phrase is not new it is in "as new condition," having been used only by Pallister and by Pallister only once. And though credit must go to the distinguished professor of romance languages for inventing and first using the term, I am not indebted to her for it. I invented the phrase (I think thought) after doing some research on satirical footnotes in Swift, Pope and Gibbon, to describe the use of satire and irony in all matters paratextual (titles, dedications, subscription lists, footnotes, indexes etc) and epitextual (advertisements, reviews, descriptions of book-buyers and readers etc).

And, while my definition is broad—quite broad, as I will explain—the "satire outside the narrative structures" that Pallister has in mind is limited to the satirical use of chapter titles. Chapter titles that "have no bearing on the content" of a text do two things: they draw the reader's attention to the chapter titles themselves and they offer another narrative voice that either disrupts the coherent narrative of the text or contributes (as in Le Moyen de parvenir) to the multiple narrative voices in the text. In either case, the multiple narrative voices encourage "an almost postmodern distrust of the power of texts coherently to convey knowledge."

Satirical chapter titles are only one way in which an author can provide multiple narrative voices; others are continuous satirical footnotes, glosses and commentary, or stand-apart dedications, prefaces and appendixes. Each of these use (and draw attention to) a recognised element the text as a printed artifact, to disrupt the coherent narrative of the text and to provide another narrative voice. The butt of this sort of paratextual satire was often the emerging norms of scholarly discourse, particularly the norms of (printed) scholarly apparatus.

But is also possible to satirise—draw attention to, ridicule and derive humour from—paratextual elements that do not, strictly speaking, involve providing another narrative voice. The satirical subscription list in the erotic somatopia A Voyage To Lethe (1742) is made up of names such as “Mr. Smallcock,” “Mr Badcock,” “Mr. Nocock,” etc. Likewise, William King’s "A Short Account of Dr. Bentley by way of Index” (1698) does not disrupt the coherent narrative of the text or encourage a postmodern distrust of texts: it contributes to the satire by using paratextual elements and depends for its effect on a reader's awareness of the text as a printed artifact.

It is also possible to satirise—draw attention to, ridicule and derive humour from—epitextual elements. That is, elements outside the bound volume, which includes satirical or ironic advertisements, real or faux reviews or endorsements, correspondence with, or diaries of, the author etc. Personally, I am inclined to include satire based on all aspects on Robert Darnton's communications circuit (which covers the whole life cycle of a book from writer to reader).

Adopting such a broad definition of para- and epitextual satire allows us to include satires that influence a reader's reading of an author or group of authors (authors as Popean "dunces"), a genre (gynecology as erotica), or texts in a particular format (chapbooks as children's literature). It might also include satires on bookseller, publishers, auctioneers, collectors and collections.

Addison's depiction of the library of Leonora in The Spectator (no.37; 12 April 1711), for example, is a misogynistic satire on women readers and book buyers that draws attention to the ignoble fate of individual books ("Locke of Human Understanding: With a Paper of Patches in it") and the ignoble fate in general of books that "have a Tendency to enlighten the Understanding and rectify the Passions" ("Sherlock upon Death" is followed by "The fifteen Comforts of Matrimony"; "The New Atalantis, with a Key to it" sits between "Advice to a Daughter" and "Mr. Steel's Christian Heroe").

The apogee of this type of ignoble-fate, paratextual satire is, perhaps, a pamphlet published in 1753 by J. Lewis: Bum-Fodder for the Ladies. A Poem, (Upon Soft Paper). In this case the paper that the text is printed on is, itself, a satirical reflection on the fate of occasional verse and/or the value of occasional verse.

If, as the author says, the fate of such verse is to be used as toilet-paper, it may as well accept this reality, and offer verse worthy of its fate, printed on soft paper.** The poet has the last laugh: concluding smugly with a reminder to the reader that they have paid a high price for this bumfodder:

  I do not promise much, perhaps you'll say;
  But I'll fulfil, and that's the surest way.
  What can be expected, when I fairly tell ye
  That nought but Bumfodder for Sixpence I sell ye?

**It is not really surprising, but it is noteworthy, that only two copies of this poem survive.

Sunday 8 July 2012

Haywood Lost in the War

When I was in Germany in 1995 and 1997, searching for copies of Haywood's works, I encountered a few ghosts. Two which stand out in my mind are translations of Ab.67 The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless: one in Berlin, one in Munich. In both cases one of the two volumes that comprise each set were "keine Benutzung möglich" [lost in the war].

In the case of Ab.67.13 L’Etourdie, ou Histoire de Mis Betsy Tatless (Berlin, 1755) the Bavarian State Library (the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek) in Munich held a set in two volumes in 1934, which was reported by Mary and Lawrence Price, but only the first volume survived WW2.

In the case of Ab.67.17 Geschichte des Fräuleins Elisabeth Thoughtleß (Leipzig, 1754) the Berlin State Library (Deutsche Staatsbibliothek) in Berlin held a set in two volumes in 1931, which was reported in Gesamtkatalog der preussischen Bibliotheken, but only the second volume survived WW2.

(The Prussian State Library i.e., the Preussischen Staatsbibliotheken only existed between 1918 and 1945; the library was broken up with the partitioning on Berlin and the collections were not reunited until 1992, only a few years before my visit. See Wikipedia entry here.)

I was struck, at the time of my visits, by the symmetry of these random losses, the first volume of one set, the second volume of another. And I was reminded of these losses this week by the happy discovery that Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin has acquired a second set of Ab.67.17 to replace the set "keine Benutzung möglich." And, ever-zealous to make amends for the past (past destruction wrought by and on them), the Germans have published the whole thing online (here) in colour.

The interface is a little clunky but, as you can see, the images are clear, the printing is gorgeous, and the digital facsimile is complete: including the binding. I have a link to this facsimile on my page of links to Haywood texts and scholarship—it is the first such link to a text not on Google Books. I hope this is a sign of things to come. That individual libraries will move beyond the production of online facsimiles of the same small number of prize texts, to facsimiles of a substantial portion of their historical collections.

(Keeping track of all the texts published online this way might be a challenge, but I'd rather have the challenge of finding all the texts I am interested in online, than be forced to fly to the other side of the world and undertake a nearly-endless trek from library to library. It is not that I didn't love the opportunity as a student to see so much of Europe and America, but it does seem mad to spend five minutes looking at one book after another, at one library after another, in one country after another, for months on end, only to return home and discover that—since I had overlooked a handful of tiny details—that I have to repeat my journey to complete my study!)

[Deutsche Staatsbibliothek copy 2 (19 ZZ 11623)]

[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 will stick with the smaller images (500px), which Blogger is prepared to host, for now on.]