Wednesday 10 December 2014

Mary Motley Reading, ca.1860

As you can see above, written in pencil across the top of the old matte for this photo is “Mary Motley” (left image); on the bottom verso is “a Hall, I’ll bet. not [sure] photo of.” (right image) I take it that Hall is a family name, suggesting this is Mary Motley, née Hall.

I have dated the photo to ca.1860, i.e., the Civil War era, based on the fact that Mary is sitting in a formal pose, with her her hair pulled back tightly, covering her ears; the fitted silk-taffeta dress with a row of buttons down the front is somewhat similar to the one seen here (final photo), dated to 1861. There is no photographer’s name on the verso, as is often the case with these early photos.

Saturday 6 December 2014

A Catalogue of Advertised Books

In 1970, R. J. Roberts mentioned an intriguing “scheme put up by Mr. David Foxon for an eighteenth-century catalogue based on advertisements for new books” (in his “Towards a Short-Title Catalogue of English Eighteenth-Century Books,” The Journal of Library History, vol.2, no.4 (October 1970): 253). At the time, planning for the ESTC was in the infancy. Roberts’ article was comprised of reflections and advice on how to carry out an ESTC, written in the hope of seeing such a project started.

Roberts’ article certainly makes interesting reading today, especially the sections on “A Catalogue of Advertised Books” and on rarity (249: a “useful function” in a short-title catalogue that is “frequently despised and much abused”!). Roberts quotes at length from Foxon’s “proposals [which] were duplicated for limited circulation” (262n10), but I can find no further reference to Foxon’s proposals online—either quoted, referenced or catalogued—so I have transcribed all of the text that Roberts quotes.

  The aims of this project are twofold. For many purposes precise dating of the publication of books and pamphlets is important, and generations of scholars have thumbed through the Burney Newspapers in the British Museum in search of advertisements for a handful of books. This is an appalling waste of scholarly time, and has resulted in much wear and tear on this collection of newspapers, which is now coming to the end of its safe life. At the same time the Burney Newspapers have many gaps, and probably contain no more than 60–70 per cent of the extant issues of newspapers; but to supplement these files by searching the other files scattered across the world is beyond the capacity of individual workers. In the first place, then, this project would provide precise dating of new publications, and would frequently produce details of publication and price not to be found in the books themselves, as well as providing information on advertising methods and policies.
  The second aim, therefore, will be achieved in the process of reaching the first, in the production of a catalogue of eighteenth-century books which were advertised, with locations of copies. This will differ from previous short-title catalogues in being selective; but the books which are advertised will represent over 95 percent of those of interest to modern scholars, though they are a much smaller proportion of the books actually published.

Roberts thought that Foxon’s plan would be easier to implement than a full-blown ESTC, but was was “not convinced that advertisements are always truthful,” and cautioned that such a catalogue “would undoubtedly produce a high proportion of books which are no longer extant.”

From my experience, searching for advertisements for extant books, and extant copies of books advertised, Roberts is certainly right. Nevertheless, Foxon is also right. Even with the Burney collection of newspapers available to be searched online: searching for advertisements remains “an appalling waste of scholarly time”!

Sunday 30 November 2014

Baker Street Reader, ca.1866

As you can see, above, this young woman was photographed in the sudio of Window and Bridge, just three hundred metres from Sherlock Holmes' digs at 221b Baker Street, London. (In fact, not only was this photo taken twenty years before Arthur Conan Doyle located Holmes in Baker Street, no.85 was the last number in Baker Street until 1930—as Wikipedia explains here.)

Helping to date this carte de visite, PhotoLondon has an entry (here) for the partnership between Frederick Richard Window and Henry Gawler Bridge, which lasted from 1862 to 1866; and there are a few Window and Bridge portraits online (see Henriette Jelf-Sharp, 1865 here and the anonymous “Standing lady,” ca.1867 here [bottom left]. 

Since we can see the ears of our reader, her hair is up, and her pose is less formal than that of Henriette, it is likely that this photo dates from quite late in the partnership, probably late in 1866.

Saturday 29 November 2014

A Favourite Parlour Game: How Rare are Eighteenth-Century Books?

A few times now (here and here) I have quoted a comment made by Peter Opie in his Accession Diaries

It took me some time before I realised that 'rare books are common.' I probably acquire an item or two which is unique, or almost unique, every month of the year.

Opie's "rare" and "common" sound like they mean something, but this paradoxical-sounding comment suggests that they are, in reality, meaningless terms. Most collectors know from experience that rare and common are assessments made by dealers and collectors based on a combination of personal experience and knowledge of the experience of others (gleaned for reference works, catalogues, a lifetime of browsing in shops etc.).

John Carter says: "The definition of 'a rare book' is a favourite parlour game among bibliophiles" (ABC for book collectors, 8th ed. (2006), 183), but goes on to differentiate Absolute, Relative, Temporary and Localised rarity. Geographical rarity has lost most of its meaning thanks to the Internet and, partly for this reason, I suspect that temporal rarity has too. (It is now easy to collect books which do not exist at all in Australia, or which previously may have appeared among local dealers only once in a generation.)

For eighteenth-century books, absolute rarity—the number originally printed—is certainly a limit (editions larger than one thousand appear to have been quite uncommon), but the primary consideration for collectors and dealers is clearly relative rarity, which Carter defines as "A property only indirectly connected with the number of copies printed. It is based on the number which survive, its practical index is the frequency of occurrence in the market, and its interest is the relation of this frequency to public demand."

Carter suggests online catalogues like the English Short-Title Catalogue (union catalogue of books printed in English or in English-speaking countries up to 1800; here) promise to make it possible to list "all surviving copies of a book" (184). Anyone who uses ESTC regularly will know how few copies survive of most of the books printed before 1800: as my sample suggests, few works survive in numbers larger than one hundred. I have often wondered what the statistics are across the whole of the ESTC for the number of copies recorded for each item, but I know that some types of material are more likely to survive than others, large formats, "collectible" and highly-regarded authors etc.

My own experience, maintaining my Bibliography of Haywood over the last ten years, also suggests that—as ESTC grows to include more and more institutional collections, as it becomes more comprehensive in its coverage—it is more likely that more copies will be added of books which already survive in the large numbers. That is, common books become more common.

But returning to our "parlour game" and the statement "rare books are common"—the best antiquarian dealers tend to precision ("no copy sold at auction since 1984," "only two copies on ESTC" etc.), but I have long preferred the Rarity Scales used by coin collectors (see here). There is a gloriously-empirical Universal Rarity Scale, which I think should/could be used by dealers and collectors of ESTC books.

Rarity  Number of known coins

URS 0  None known
URS 1  1, unique
URS 2  2
URS 3  3 or 4
URS 4  5 to 8
URS 5  9 to 16
URS 6  17 to 32
URS 7  33 to 64
URS 8  65 to 125
URS 9  126 to 250
URS 10  251 to 500

This is almost an exponential scale: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 1024. Applying this scale to my own very modest collection of 420 ESTC items

URS 1  1, unique (11: 2.62%)
URS 2  2 (12: 2.86%)
URS 3  3 or 4 (17: 4.05%)
URS 4  5 to 8 (68: 16%)
URS 5  9 to 16 (87: 21%)
URS 6  17 to 32 (121: 29%)
URS 7  33 to 64 (79: 19%)
URS 8  65 to 125 (23: 5.48%)
URS 9  126 to 250 (2: 0.48%)
URS 10  251 to 500 (0)

(Note, "URS 0 None known" is impossible since, if I have it, I know of a copy—i.e., none of these unique items are on ESTC and, from the perspective of ESTC, all of these are "none known").

This example suggests that the scale is not ideal: it has a peak at URS 6 (which, with URS 4,5,7 constitutes 85%), and is pretty flat at URS 0–3 and URS 8–10. A better scale might require a lower multiplication factor. Rather than multiplying by two each time, if we were to multiply 1.5 by 1.5 etc., and round to whole numbers, the sequence is: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 11, 17, 26, 38, 58, 87, 130. Using my proposed PS Scale:

PSS 1  1, unique (11: 2.62%)
PSS 2  2 (12: 2.86%)
PSS 3  3 or 4 (17: 4.05%)
PSS 4  5 to 7 (51: 12.04%)
PSS 5  8 to 10 (38: 9.05%)
PSS 6  11 to 16 (66: 15.71%)
PSS 7  17 to 25 (76: 18.10%)
PSS 8  26 to 37 (63: 15.00%)
PSS 9  38 to 57 (53: 12.62%)
PSS 10  58 to 87 (21: 5%)
PSS 11  88 to 130 (10: 2.38%)
PSS 12  131+ (2: 0.48%)

There is a peak at PSS 7 (which is more modest and, with PSS 6,8,9, constitutes only 61%), and a more even distribution above and below.

Two other rarity scales used by coin collectors are the Sheldon rarity scale and the Scholten Rarity Scale. The Sheldon scale ranges from "R1 Common, readily available" to "R8 Unique, or nearly so"; most eighteenth-century books would be at the upper end of the scale (R5 to R8) and only a few of the most common books would sit at R5 (Rare - unlikely more than five at shows or auctions each year)—leaving only three grades for the rest:

R6  Very rare - Almost never seen, only one may be offered for sale in a year’s time [=URS 5 to 7?]
R7  Prohibitively rare - one may be offered for sale once every few years [=URS 2 to 5?]
R8  Unique, or nearly so [=URS 0 to 2?]

The advantage of the Sheldon rarity scale is that it picks up Carter's "frequency of occurrence in the market"—which is important. Some books are not uncommon in institutions but are extremely rare outside of them. (There are scores of Haywood items, for instance, which are recorded in numerous copies, which I have never seen for sale: like a first of Betsy Thoughtless). But, like the numerical Universal Rarity Scale, only a short section of the scale applies to ESTC items and so this scale would also have to be adapted. Which, if I were a dealer, I'd be tempted to do. As a bibliographer, I am not sure I can justify spending any more time on this parlour game.

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Chatteris Family Bible, 1599

On three blank pages between the Old and New Testaments, in a “1599” Geneva Bible (above; the date is false, the Bible was probably printed after 1640) appears some genealogical records in an early hand. The pages were filled up out of sequence. I reproduce them and transcribed them below (in the logical sequence) in case they are of any use to descendants of Edward and Grace Chatteris (which seems to be the correct spelling of Chatterris).

It seems that Edward and Grace had thirteen children, four of whom are recorded as having married or had children of their own (Edward [no.5], Henry, John and Elizabeth [nos. 10, 11, 12]). The genealogical account focusses on John’s three children, especially his son Cornelius, who is recorded as having three children of his own by the first decade of the eighteenth century, when the records stop.

From the fact that most of the details concerning Edward and Grace are recorded in one hand in an orderly fashion and, it seems, at one time, I assume that the Bible was owned by John who, in ca.1676, recorded all of these details concerning his family. From the focus of the later entries it seems that that he passed the Bible down to Cornelius; if so, the two later handwriting styles are probably those of Cornelius and Sarah his wife, whose final entry records the death of Cornelius in very faint ink.

The only other name to appear in this Bible is John Peacock, who recorded that this was “His Book” on 10 January 1795.

* * * * *

[page one]

Edward Chatterris and Grace Smith were Marryed on the first day of May in the year 1629

Edward Chatterris Husband to Grace Chatterris was buryed September the 16th in the year 1654

Grace, the Wife of Edward Chatterris was Bureyed December 1681

[2] Two twins Born in the year 1630 and was Buryed before they were Baptised

[3] Margaret Chatterris Daughter to Edward Chatterris & to Grace his wife was Baptised November the 20th 1631. And was Buryed December the 24th in the year 1651

[4] One other child Born in the year 1652 and Buryed before it was baptised

[5] Edward Chatterris sonn to Edward Chatterris & to Grace his wife was Baptised August the 31th in the year 1634. And was Buryed

[6] Grace Chatterris Daughter to Edward Chatterris & to Grace his Wife was Baptised March 26th in the year 1637. And was Buryed on the 23th of October in the year 1639

[7] Annis Chatterris Daughter to Edward Chatterris & to Grace his Wife was Baptised February the 11th in the year 1638. And was Buryed on the 27th of November in the year 1639

[8] Grace Chatterris Daughter to Edward Chatterris & to Grace his Wife was Baptised on the 4th of October in the year 1640. And was Buryed on the 29th of December in the year 1651

[9] William Chatterris son to Edward Chatterris & to Grace his Wife was Baptised on the 23th of April in the year 1643. And was Buryed on the 25th of May in the year 1646

[10] Henry Chatterris son to Edward Chatterris & to Grace his Wife was Baptised on the 6th of April in the year 1645. And was Buryed on the 21st of May in the year 167[.]

* * * * *

[page two]

[11] John Chatterris son to Edward Chatterris & to Grace his Wife was Baptised on the 17th of October in the year 1647.

John Chatterris & Sarah Fring[.] was Married January 29th 1674

[12] Elizabeth Chatterris Daughter to Edward Chatterris & to Grace his Wife was Baptised on the 23th of May in the year 1649.

William Crosby & Eliz: Chatterris were Married Janua: 30th 1672

[13] Job Chatterris son to Edward Chatterris & to Grace his Wife was Baptised on the 2nd of August in the year 1654. And was Buryed on the [ ]th of June in the year 1673

[1] Cornelius Chatterris son to John Chatterris & Sarah his Wife was Baptised on the 21th day of November in the year 1675.

[2] John Chatterris son of John Chatterris & Sarah his Wife, was born June ye 23th 1677. And he was buryed October the 28th in the same year.

[3] Sarah Chatterris Daughter to John Chatterris and to Sarah his Wife was born January the 15th a bought tenn of the clok in the fore none and was Baptised January the 26th in the year of our Lord 1685.

John Chatterris was buryed March the 13 & buryed at Conington, 1688

Sarah Chatterris wife to John Chatterris was buryed att Conington October the 30 1689

Cornelius Chatterris son of John Chatterris & Sarah his Wife was maryed to Sarah [Smithe?] at Croxton November the 25 [1745?]

* * * * *

[page three]

Edward Chatterris & Joyce Prynne were marryed on the fourth day of November in the year 1664

Joyce the wife of Edward Chatterris Departed this life June the seventh 1672; whose Body Lyeth buryed at Little Waltham in Essex

Edward Chatterris was buryed the 4 day of October 1678

John and William Chatterris sons to Cornelius Chatterris and to Sarah his wife was born September the 26 170[.]

William Chatterris was buryed November the 15 170[.]

John Chatterris was buryed March the 20 170[.]

Thomas Chatterris sone to Cornelius Chatterris & Sarah his wife was born February the 8 baptised the 14 1702/3

Cornelius Chatterris [sonne] of John Chatterris & Sarah his Wife Lyeth buried att Conington October the 18 170[.]

Woman Reading, a Seventeenth-Century Sketch in Pen and Ink

Although I haven't been posting them, I have still been collecting images of women reading. This one is a seventeenth-century sketch in pen and ink. The vendor, "Once upon a time in rome" on eBay, did not answer my questions concerning the provenance of the sketch, but she has been selling quite a few of these "Old Master" sketches. As you can see from the last image sbelow, this one is numbered "63" on the verso, from which it appears that many—if not all of the sketches she is selling—were originally in an album with numbered pages. Beyond that, I can add nothing, except it is a particularly beautiful image, the oldest I have, which I am delighted to have.

Saturday 25 October 2014

Recent activity on this blog

Although it looks like I have been neglecting this blog: don't be fooled! I have been regularly updating my previous posts, particularly my lists of Eliza Haywood Texts, Links etc. (and, last year, Eighteenth-Century Erotic Texts Online etc.) as more electronic versions of texts become available.

As a for-instance, according to the Wayback Machine, the number of Facsimile Texts and Downloadable pdfs I have listed in the last four years (looking at the Ab. sequence only) has grown as follows:

8 July 2011: 49 items
15 March 2012: 55 items
21 April 2013: 82 items
25 October 2014: 118 items

So, if you don’t see any new posts, have another look at some of the old ones!

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Vale God Whitlam

Gough Whitlam is dead. Long live Gough Whitlam! Will there ever be such another?

I don’t remember the dismissal, but I clearly remember the election-night party that followed it in 1975. My family were great supporters of Gough (how could we not be?) so it was not a night for celebrations, for us anyway. But someone at the party was happy, and reckless enough to celebrate loudly, to gloat, to triumph while everyone around them grieved, mourned, raged. My step-father-to-be asked said individual whether they would like to step outside to discuss the subject of his behaviour—which was declined and, as I remember, we were left in peace.

Here is a photo of me taken less than two years later. Yes, that really is a Life Be in It t-shirt, but the knee guard is the thing to note. I am wearing that knee guard because—in a “look, no hands” moment—I tore the muscles, ligaments and tendons in my knee, cracked the knee-cap and split a leg bone lengthwise. Apparently, a Dr Hume—a knee specialist—was flown down from Queensland to sew the muscles, ligaments and tendons back together again and to put two pins in the bone to hold it all together again. The leg stopped growing for a while, and the pins worked loose and started grinding away at the underside of my knee-cap, but they were removed, the leg started growing again and I made a full recovery.

The point of mentioning this is that—at the time—my mother was a sole parent, a skint, single, supporting mother: and if it were not for God Whitlam, and the specialist medical care she and I received for free (thanks to Medicare), none of this would have been possible. Thanks to God Whitlam, I have two working legs of the same length. Both my brother and sister have straight and evenly-spaced teeth. We all got to vote at 18 (for Labor) and received a university education—most of it for free. I could go on, but all I really wanted to say was, thank you Gough.

Thursday 18 September 2014

More on a Popular 18C Tailpiece Design

In January I did a post (here) on an eighteenth-century printer's ornament design, which appears in two ornaments by Thomas Gardner (T03 and T04; used 1735–56) and another used by T. Saint in 1785.

The design features two crossed cornucopias (or cornucopiæ if you prefer; one containing fruit and one flowers), with a bird above each cornucopia and a number of bumble bees (four or two) hovering nearby. As well as containing a different number of bees, the two Gardner ornaments are easy to distinguish since the second has a large ribbon joining the crossed cornucopias.

In an update to my post I added a similar (and earlier) design: one with a pomander bouquet hanging beneath the crossed cornucopias from a large ribbon—a ribbon like the one in the second Gardner ornament (T04). This pomander ornament appears in a 1727 edition of Gulliver's Travels printed for Benjamin Motte.

Jonathan Magus has pointed out that a very similar pomander ornament appears in Henry Plomer, English Printers Ornaments (1924), 227 (no.109)—where it is described as having been owned by Cornelius Crownfield and dated to ca.1730—and Magus also told me that the same ornament appears in Joseph Clarke, A Further Examination of Dr. Clarke's Notions of Space, etc. (Cambridge: Printed for Cornelius Crownfield, 1734), 3 (A2r). (ESTC: n8727 [here]).

The ornament from Clarke’s A Further Examination on ECCO is not as clear as the one in Plomer’s English Printers Ornaments (on Internet Archive here), so I have given the latter here. (I searched through a dozen earlier Crownfield publications, but was unable to find an earlier example.)

But, after a little digging online, I discovered an intriguing connection between Crownfield and an even-earlier book containing a version of this same pomander ornament: The Works of the Right Honourable Joseph Addison, Esq; In four volumes (London: Printed for Jacob Tonson, 1721), on 1.32, 1.149, 4.2Pv. (ESTC: t89167 [here]; vol.1 online here; vol.4 online here). Crownfield was a subscriber to this popular set.

Of course, since Clarke’s A Further Examination was printed for, but not necessarily by Crownfield, it may only be a coincidence that a copy of this 1721 ornament appears in works he published in 1734. And, in fact, all three works here have imprints that only identify the financier (“Printed for”) not the printer (“Printed by”), which is frustrating. (I was surprised that nobody appears to have identified the printer of The Works of the Right Honourable Joseph Addison, since this is an important collection of a famous author’s works by a very prominent publisher.)

Returning to the three ornaments with a pomander bouquet, printed in 1721, 1727 and 1734, there is not a lot of differences between the two earliest ornaments, but I suspect that the 1727 ornament is a copy of the 1721 ornament—it is a little less sketchy, especially on the wings of the birds, the edges of the pomander and the branch protruding from the fruit cornucopia. And, since ornaments were often reversed in copying, and the 1727 image is reversed compared to the 1721 ornament, this tends to support the idea that 1727 ornament is the copy.

The 1734 ornament is also a copy (note the leaves beneath the bee at the far right in each ornament), tough not reversed; and, it seems to me, a better one. Unfortunately, I can only base my judgement on reproductions, since no copy of the book is in Oz. (Unlike the Addison, which is everywhere, including in my own collection.)

As Plomer explains, from early in the sixteenth century "and from thence onwards to the close of the seventeenth [actually, to the mid-eighteenth century], almost every head and tail piece and initial letter was copied and copied again without limit … and it is frequently very hard to distinguish between them" (28); and again: "Indeed, one can never be sure whether they are dealing with the original or only a copy, as most of these blocks were copied over and over again" (86).

And, since "baskets of fruits and flowers became a feature of nearly all head and tail pieces of the eighteenth century" (77) it is unlikely that the 1721 ornament is the original ornament from which all crossed cornucopia ornaments are derived. However, The Works of the Right Honourable Joseph Addison is a particularly ambitious, prestigious, prominent and beautiful publication and so it may be that this ornament was commissioned for it and that it is, therefore, the ur-ornament.

I am indebted to Jonathan Magus for this lead and I would be very pleased to hear from anyone else who has seen this ornament or the other ornament in use anywhere else, especially, and for obvious reasons, if it is in an earlier publication.

[UPDATE 23 June 2015: I have had to find a new image host and have decided to try If any of the above images fails to load, let me know and I'll look into it.]
[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 6 August 2014

Identifying Eliza Haywood's Sources

I have just read Douglas Duhaime’s essay on “Digital Approaches to Intertextuality: The Case of Eliza Haywood,” which was published on his blog on 3 January this year (see here; for a profile of Duhaime, see here and here). I am in danger of developing a tick if I say the essay was “thought provoking,” but it was. Very.

Duhaime is interested in “the ways in which writers borrow language and ideas from other writers.” He has used his considerable computer skills to write a plagiarism-detection script, which he has used/tested/developed on Haywood's Betsy Thoughtless. As a result of his analysis, Duhaime is now able to suggest a source for almost all of Haywood’s quotations and paraphrases not previously identified by editors.

Like all editor of Haywood’s works, Christine Blouch was frequently forced to admit defeat with the statement "Source unidentified." And like all editors of Haywood’s works, I am sure she wished she had had access to Duhaime’s skills and his plagiarism-detection script before having to make such an admission in her Broadview edition of Betsy Thoughtless. Having edited a number of eighteenth-century texts myself, I know how much work is represented by these two words—"Source unidentified"—often much more work than is represented by a neat and succinct reference to the Bible, a Classical author, or a Canonical writer.

Having "set out to uncover the materials that informed Haywood's work," Duhaime used an API to search Literature Online's text-base. (An API is an Application Programming Interface. Duhaime used Python's Selenium package to create a script to “programatically investigate” the text-base. See here and here for details.) It emerged that “in many cases,” Haywood's unidentified literary borrowings were fairly easy to identify—though the source was occasionally mis-identified by Haywood. In this way Duhaime identifies quotations from Nathaniel Lee, Alexander the Great (1677), John Dryden, The Spanish Friar (1681), William Congreve, Love for Love (1695) and The Mourning Bride (1697).

Of course, since these works are easy to find on EEBO, ECCO, Google Books and the Internet Archive, there really is no difficulty doing this sort of search online without an API, although it is obviously more time-consuming. No matter how dodgy the OCR of each individual copy digitised, the multitude of copies and editions available online means that just about any short search string (any short sequence of words) is likely to lead you to the source of a quotation. I have done this myself, many times, with interesting results.

(In June of 2012 I did a post on a quotation repeatedly used and mis-identified by Haywood (see here), which I concluded with the words “in the Pickering & Chatto edition of Ab.64 Epistle for the Ladies, edited by Alexander Pettit and Christine Blouch, the verse is not identified … [this] edition was published in 2000, back in the before time, the long-long-ago. When the internet was young and you had to read whole books to find a quote, or miss one, as the case may be. Oh how far we have come in only a decade …)

So the really interesting part of Duhaime’s essay is not so much the “many cases” in which the source was easy to locate, but the discovery of many other “instances of intertextuality in Haywood's writing” where a given quotation—usually multiple lines of verse—“seems to derive from multiple sources.” This is where the API appears to really come into its own. By quickly chopping up any given Haywood quotation into segments, searching for those segments, and presenting the findings in a convenient spreadsheet, Duhaime’s API makes it possible to establish that Haywood “often combined lines from disparate literary works in order to forge her own ideas” (italics mine).

Duhaime argues that three of the following five lines, for example, are cobbled together from three sources:

  Pleas'd with destruction, proud to be undone,
  With open arms I to my ruin run,
  And sought the mischiefs I was bid to shun
  Tempted that shame a virgin ought to dread,
  And had not the excuse of being betray.

[1] Richard Blackmore, “Advice to the Poets” (1718): “Let them this gen'rous Resolution own, / That they are pleas'd and proud to be undone”; [2] Mary Wortley Montagu, “The Basset Table” (1716): “I know the bite, yet to my ruin run, / And see the folly which I cannot shun”; [3] Aaron Hill, “The Excursion of Fancy: A Pindaric Ode” (1753): “Let us throw down this load of doubt, with which no race is won: / And, swift, to easier conquests, lighter, run, / The way, which reason is not bid to shun!

Although this is not—contrary to Duhaime’s claim—a clear case of Haywood “combin[ing] lines from disparate literary works,” like Lego blocks stacked one upon another, it is a particularly intriguing selection of works which Haywood appears to echo in her poetry. The third echo, from Hill, is perhaps the most interesting of all because it seems far less likely to me to be a source text than the Montagu text (which is much closer to Haywood's actual lines). Since Hill's influence on Haywood is well-established a critic who found the Hill echo first/alone could be forgiven for looking no further and use the echo to suppport the existing interpretation of Haywood as being heavily-influenced by Hill. Having multiple echo-texts simultaneously presented as possibilities, it is less likely that a critic will be side-tracked by a single, convenient partial-match, like that from Hill.

Duhaime’s second example is slightly more convincing:

  When puzzling doubts the anxious bosom seize,
  To know the worst is some degree of ease.

[1] Joseph Mitchell, “Poems on Several Grave and Important Subjects”: “When puzling Doubts invade my Breast, / And I am cloath'd in Shades of Night . . . "; [2] Davild Mallet, Eurydice (1731): “When others too / are miserable, not to know the worst / is some degree of bliss.”

Here, “invade my Breast” becomes “the anxious bosom seize,” and “degree of bliss” becomes “degree of ease”—the sole changes made being necessary to make the couplet rhyme.

* * * * *

Although I think the really interesting part of Duhaime’s essay is not the “many cases” in which the source was easy to locate, the fact is one could feed every snippet of verse quoted by Haywood into Duhaime’s API and produce a spreadsheet of Hawood’s sources, ranked by author, title and number of quotations, total number lines etc. Such a list would offer an intriguing insight into Haywood’s own “reading” and the major influences on her writing.

(I put “reading” in inverted commas because it is already clear that Haywood frequently quotes plays and often seems to do so from memory, suggesting that she spent a lot of time at the theatre—a suggestion supported by her own plays, acting, and her two volumes of drama criticism—The Dramatic Historiographer (1735) and A Companion to the Theatre (1747).)

If a spreadsheet of Hawood’s confirmed sources were used in conjunction with a spreadsheet of the works Haywood appears to echo, it may be possible that something like a reasonable or defensible judgement could be made between competing texts (in cases where there are two equally-possible origin-texts of similar constructions). That is, if a corpus-wide analysis of Haywood's sources shows a multitude of quotations from author A and none from author B, then it is more likely that Haywood is paraphrasing the former than the latter. (Though the example above with Montagu and Hill suggest that, even here, each case must be judged on its merits.)

I hope Duhaime decides to expand his work on Haywood and to publish his findings: I, for one, would love to have them on hand when editing her works.

Wednesday 29 January 2014

Disambiguating 18C Tailpieces

I have recently completed an ornament catalogue for Thomas Gardner (fl.1735–65). On the day I submitted it for publication I found a book on eBay which has an ornament which is extremely similar to one he used: a pair of crossed conucopias with surrounding birds. In fact, it is similar to two he used.

Here are the two Gardner tailpieces, with the reference numbers I used in my article. (Click on the image to see a larger version of each.)

(T03; 32x56mm; used 1735–56)

(T04; 30x53mm; used 1754–56; note ribbons at lower centre replace two smaller birds)

And here is the mystery ornament (32x55mm; used 1785; note that it is signed "WP" at lower centre).

It is clear that the mystery ornament is not the exactly the same as either Gardner’s T03 or T04—though it is very, very similar to T03. The tailpiece appears to be a copy or, if the ornament was quite old when used by Saint, I guess both of Gardner’s ornaments could be copies of the Saint ornament.

The book with the mystery ornament in it is particularly interesting for being an unrecorded "Eighth" edition of Croxall's Fables of Æsop and Others … Illustrated with Cuts, issued in Newcastle by T. Saint in 1785.

Since Saint is very well known for issuing, in 1784, Thomas Bewick’s first major work, Select Fables. In Three Parts, it is possible that WP was another woodcut artists he employed. Not being very familiar with Saint’s (or Bewick’s) life I have no clue who this person might be.

If anyone has any suggestions about the identity of WP, or has seen this ornament in use elsewhere (I looked in many Saint publications without luck), or has seen other very similar ornaments, I’d be obliged for the lead!

[UPDATE: 27 Feb 2014. Here is another ornament, similar to T04 rather than T03, but it adds a further detail to the ribbons: a pomander bouquet (or floral pomander), which is hanging by a ribbon. It appears in an edition of Gulliver's Travels printed "for" Benjamin Motte (ESTC: t139027 [here]; Teerink 294 [here, on page 201]) in 1727 (making it earlier than the Gardner ornaments.]

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

Wednesday 22 January 2014

Translating the Naughty Bits in Pepy's Diary

I recently stumbled upon a site dedicated to translating the coded passages in Samuel Pepys Diary (here [DEAD LINK? see below]): that is, a site where all the naughtiest naughty bits are translated, the bits which Pepys recorded in shorthand or cypher, in a mix of Spanish, French, Italian and Latin, just to be sure to be sure that no-body else could read them.**

I was a typically filthy-minded and degenerate university student when (1) I studied Pepys, (2) discovered that he was a very naughty 17C book collector (three things very much in his favour in my mind), (3) discovered that all of the really naughty bits of Pepy’s diaries had been consistently omitted or bowdlerised by his translators/editors, and (4) that the new, definitive, scholarly Latham and Matthews edition [The Diary of Samuel Pepys, ed. R. Latham and W. Matthews, 11 vols. (London: Bell, 1970-83)], while recording the code, did not provide any explanatory notes.

The Latham and Matthews editorial principle is: “if you can read Spanish, French, Italian and Latin you are (1) probably a scholar and (2) probably a man, and therefore are intelligent, mature and seriously-minded enough to safely read the naughty bits without squealing in horror (like a girl) or falling onto the ground, glassy-eyed and drooling with excitement (like a boy or a prole)” or, perhaps, “if you can only read English you are either female/young/a prole and we really need to protect your moral purity” or, perhaps, “if you can read Spanish, French or Italian you are such a degenerate no further moral harm to you is possible.”

Since Latham and Matthews were so extraordinarily squeamish, or snobbish I guess (“scholarly editions are [apparently] not designed for the weak-minded, who cannot read Spanish, French, Italian and Latin”) a generation of scholars have had the frustration of nutting out passages such as the following:

To supper, and after supper to talk without end. Very late, I went away, it raining, but I had un design pour aller a la femme de Bagwell; and did so, mais ne savais obtener algun cosa de ella como jo quisiere sino tocar la.

According to Duncan Grey’s pages of “Coded Passages,” the end of this passage translates as: “I had a fancy to go and see Bagwell's wife; and did so, but did not manage to get quite what I wanted [from her], other than to touch her.”

Hooray for Duncan Grey and his colleague Prizzlesprung! (A typo for “Pizzlesprung”?)

Since numerous coded passages are not yet present or fully translated on these pages, I hope others will contribute to Grey’s honourable endeavour.

**"Not content with the protection of his cryptic shorthand when he confided his amours to his diary, Pepys added further screens by making up a pidgin language of French, Spanish and Latin, with toy words and a freakish kind of lustful baby talk" (“Pepys's Friend,” Time (3 October 1938): 59.)

[UPDATE 9 March 2021: the site hosting the coded passages has recently dissapeared (since it has dissapeared so recent, it is possible that it is just a temporary technical problem, so I have left the link above for now). The good news is that all of the Pepys pages were captured by the Wayback Machine multiple times up to 25 January 2021. The best place to start browsing via the Wayback Machine is here.]

Tuesday 7 January 2014

The Gentleman’s Magazine on Google Books

Long runs of the Gentleman’s Magazine are available on Google Books and (it seems) the Internet Archive, but the indexing on both of these sites is worse than useless. There is an otherwise excellent index on Eighteenth-Century Book Tracker (here), but it provides volume numbers only. And if you want to know what the weather was like in June 1742, or what was published in April 1756, you will need dates, not volume numbers. One day, if I can be bothered, I may even add links to individual book lists for each month. But, for now, the following will have to do.

vol. 1 (1731): here
vol. 2 (1732): here
vol. 3 (1733): here
vol. 4 (1734): here
vol. 5 (1735): here
vol. 6 (1736): here
vol. 7 (1737): here
vol. 8 (1738): here
vol. 9 (1739): here
vol. 10 (1740): here

vol. 11 (1741): here
vol. 12 (1742): here
vol. 13 (1743): here
vol. 14 (1744): here
vol. 15 (1745): here
vol. 16 (1746): here
vol. 17 (1747): here
vol. 18 (1748): here
vol. 19 (1749): here
vol. 20 (1750): here

vol. 21 (1751): here
vol. 22 (1752): here
vol. 23 (1753): here
vol. 24 (1754): here
vol. 25 (1755): here
vol. 26 (1756): here
vol. 27 (1757): here
vol. 28 (1758): here
vol. 29 (1759): here
vol. 30 (1760): here

vol. 31 (1761): here
vol. 32 (1762): here
vol. 33 (1763): here
vol. 34 (1764): here
vol. 35 (1765): here
vol. 36 (1766): here
vol. 37 (1767): here
vol. 38 (1768): here
vol. 39 (1769): here
vol. 40 (1770): here

vol. 41 (1771): here
vol. 42 (1772): here
vol. 43 (1773): here
vol. 44 (1774): here
vol. 45 (1775): here
vol. 46 (1776): here
vol. 47 (1777): here
vol. 48 (1778): here
vol. 49 (1779): here
vol. 50 (1780): here

vol. 51 (1781): here
vol. 52 (1782): here
vol. 53 (1783): Pt.1 here and Pt.2 here
vol. 54 (1784): Pt.1 here and Pt.2 here
vol. 55 (1785): Pt.1 here and Pt.2 here
vol. 56 (1786): Pt.1 here and Pt.2 here
vol. 57 (1787): Pt.1 here and Pt.2 here
vol. 58 (1788): Pt.1 here and Pt.2 here
vol. 59 (1789): Pt.1 here and Pt.2 here
vol. 60 (1790): Pt.1 here and Pt.2 here

[UPDATE 10 Jan 2016: added links for 1771–1790]