Thursday 20 December 2018

More Bookseller Trade Cards of the 18C

The trade-cards, trade tokens or bookplates below, are from a collection of English engraved advertisements compiled around 1758 by F. Legge of St. James’s Market preserved at Yale’s Walpole Library.

The Legge collection has been given the title “Trade tokens and bookplates, 1705–1799 (bulk 1757–1758)” and a scan of the entire volume has been published online (here). The images have been colour-corrected and reduced to 500 pixels wide.

The fourteen trade-cards below are of for “Darres,” John Kendray, John Leake, Henry Lewis, James Noyes, Samuel Paterson, S. Pitt, John Pridden, William Separd, G. Vander Gucht, John Ward, John Wilke, Robert Withy, and Ryall Withy (again, none of which are in the Franks Bequest Catalogue).

For my previous posts on bookseller trade cards of the eighteenth century, see here and here.

* * * * *

The myth of a Vatican porn collection

The myth of a vast Vatican collection of erotica or pornography was established sixty years ago, by Ralph Ginzburg.

In his Unhurried View of Erotica (1958), after one hundred pages of broad-brush history, Ginzburg turns to the question of “the whereabouts of the world’s … great collections of erotica”—public and private—which he ranks, according to the size of the collection.

At the top of Ginzburg’s list is the Vatican library, with “25,000 volumes and some 100,000 prints” of erotica, a collection of “hush-hush volumes” significantly larger than that in the Private Case of the British Museum Library (which he estimates to be 20,000 volumes—it is actually more like 2000), and the Enfer of the Bibliothèque Nationale (2,500 volumes).

It is unclear how Ginzburg arrived at this crazy estimate, but most of his figures are inflated. Rather than “25,000 volumes,” the Vatican actually held only fifty-one items in 1936. This figure is the exact number of items recorded by Alfred Rose, compiler of the Registrum Librorum Eroticorum (1936), during his personal investigation of the Vatican’s collection in August 1934.

To put this pip-squeak collection into context, Rose lists over five thousand titles in the Register of Erotic Books. None of the items in the Vatican collection are particularly important—and almost all of them are in Latin, held in a collection of books on the culture of classical antiquity. The only book in English is Hodder Westropp and C. Wake’s Ancient Symbol Worship. Influence of the Phallic idea in the Religions of Antiquity, 2nd ed. (1875). Not exactly a classic of erotic literature.

No writer before Ginzburg appears to have claimed that the Vatican has such a large collection of erotic books, and so I it seems likely that Ginzburg is, in fact, responsible for the myth that the world’s “foremost collection of erotica is in The Vatican Library.”

Prior to Ginzburg, the only scholar to discuss the Vatican collection, commented that the “Enfer” at the Bibliothèque Nationale may have been modelled on a “similar institution [at] the Vatican Library” (Alec Craig, Above all Liberties (1942), 145). The comparison is a little misleading since the Vatican’s collection is limited to blasphemous or heterodox works, whereas those in the Bibliothèque Nationale’s “Enfer” are often indecent, obscene, or pornographic.

After Ginzburg, however, the absurd conspiracy theory, that the Vatican has a “vast,” “comprehensive,” or even “complete” collection of pornography has been endlessly repeated—and endlessly debunked. There are many examples of the ignorant repetition of this myth, which indicate the continuing influence of Ginzburg.

In the 1990s, Julie Peakman revealed the basic misunderstanding that supports Ginzburg’s claim, by conflating the Index Librorum Prohibitorum—the bibliography (published by the Vatican) of books that Catholics were prohibited from owning or reading—with the collection that the Vatican itself held.

(This is like assuming that, just because I compile a bibliography of every work by Eliza Haywood, that I own copies of all of these works. If only that were true! Excuse me while I make a list of the world’s largest diamonds!)

Anyway, Peakman states: “The Vatican’s Index Librorum Prohibitorum, allegedly with the largest collection of books (around 25,000 volumes and 100,000 prints) is ‘forbidden’ to Catholics, and not open to the general public” (Peakman, Mighty Lewd Books (2003), 195).

In the early 2000s, David Isaacson elaborated on this misunderstanding when he cautioned that “only libraries with a special purpose like the Vatican Library’s famous collection of prohibited books, or the Kinsey Institute for Sex Research Library at Indiana University, have the need for comprehensive collections of pornography” (Isaacson, in Selecting Materials for Library Collections (2004), 6).”

My favourite example of this mad conspiracy theory comes from a “Distinguished Professor of Latin American and Latino Culture” at Amherst College—seemingly, one of the top Liberal Arts colleges in America—in a 2005 essay on censorship. In a lovely example of alliterative, hyperbolic over-reach, of grandiloquent ignorance, Prof. Ilan Stavans, refers (here), without irony, to the Vatican’s “very vast holdings on erotica, blasphemy, and freemasonry, among other risqué topics.” Nice.

As I pointed out in my Foxcroft lecture, recently published (and from which the above is an excerpt of sorts), the edition of Westropp and Wake’s Ancient Symbol Worship—held by the Vatican—is also held by the State Library of Victoria. There are also three copies of the first edition of this book in libraries throughout Australia, and there are over twenty more copies available on ABE.

What this means is that, for as little as USD14.50, you can have a Private Case collection that equals the Vatican’s “very vast holdings on erotica” in English.

* * * * *

Readers will find a link to a YouTube video of my 2016 Foxcroft lecture here. To buy a copy of the (short) book that I based on this lecture, published by the Ancora Press in 2018 in an edition of one hundred copies, contact Kay Craddock - Antiquarian Bookseller.

Saturday 15 December 2018

Bookseller trade cards of the 18C

Sir Ambrose Heal's "Bookseller and Stationers' trade-cards of the eighteenth century" appeared in The Penrose Annual, vol. 45 (1951), 29–32. It contains one page of introductory text (which says nothing about the production, publication, distribution and history of bookplates and trade cards or anything of note concerning bookselling and printing in the eighteenth century), four pages of illustrations (showing sixteen separate trade cards, below) and three pages of notes on the booksellers.

About four years ago, shortly after publishing my post on Bookplates of Booksellers and Circulating Libraries, I checked out Heal's essay in the hope that it would provide either more information on (no), or more images of (yes), the 164 bookplates and trade-cards listed in the Franks Bequest Catalogue—of which I was only able to provide two in my original post.

I am not sure why it has taken four years to post these scans, perhaps I was hoping to find more images in his other works. If so, it would appear that I was unsuccessful. However, I have fond a few more images on line, which I will post shortly.

* * * * *

The sixteen trade-cards below are of for James Adams, John Bromley, James Brooke, James Buckland, Thomas Edlin, William Kerby, Lackington, Allen & Co., Arthur Lyon, Ralph Minors, Francis Noble, Bartholomew Penny, Daniel Richards, William Sanby, J. Shove, Samuel Stillingfleet, and Thomas Worrall (none of which are in the Franks Bequest Catalogue).

Thursday 13 December 2018

Works by Eliza Haywood online

Regular visitors to this page (my list of original editions of works by Eliza Haywood available for free online) will have noticed that the pace of additions has slowed. This is not because I am neglecting the page or failing to search for new scans. Rather, fewer and fewer scans of original editions of Haywood's works are appearing online, on Google Books, The Internet Archive, and elsewhere.

Often now, when I am able to make an addition to my list of links to Haywood's works, it is because I have found something that was so abominably catalogued that it has been invisible online for years. And, usually, I am able to locate these otherwise-invisible texts only because I discover a new search engine, or a new way to do a search.

When I made my last update to my list of "Facsimile Texts and Downloadable pdfs" I discovered just such a new way of searching the Internet Archive. When you search the Internet Archive catalogue for editions of works authored ("Created") by Eliza Haywood (presently 7 items as "Eliza Haywood" [here]—mostly LibriVox recordings—and 25 items as [Haywood, Eliza] here), it is possible to sort the results according to "Date Archived"—a proxy for when the item was first uploaded to the internet.

If you combine the information from the two screen-caps above (ignoring the LibriVox recordings) you will see that the total number of volumes per year are: 2006 (2), 2007 (3), 2008 (2), 2009 (9), 2010 (7), 2011 (1), 2012 (1), 2013 (0), 2014 (1), 2015 (0), 2016 (0), 2017 (0), 2018 (1). That is, after a steady climb from 2006 to 2010, there has been a collapse in the number of new scans of works by Haywood on the Internet Archive. Below is a graph of the data.

I am not sure why fewer scans are appearing on the Internet Archive. It is probably because, as more of her works were scanned, fewer remained to be scanned—a possibility based on the assumption that those doing the scanning are reluctant to "double-up" by scanning a second or third copy of the same edition. It is also likely that those doing the scanning simply do not have access to either works which are yet to be scanned or even second or third copies of editions which have already been scanned.

The first item on my list of scans, for instance, is the Boston Public Library copy of Ab.1.4b Love in Excess, 4th ed. (1722)—which is the only copy known, so no other copy can be scanned. The second item is the British Library copy of Ab.4.1b The British Recluse, 2nd. ed. (1722). There are only two other copies of this edition, at Glasgow University and Reading University. These universities are unlikely to prioritise the scanning and uploading of another copy of The British Recluse until they have scanned and uploaded all the works they hold which are not already online.

Although I don't have easy access to similar data for Google Books, my impression is that there is a similar pattern there. Which means that, with only a few new scans made available in the last six years, it could be a very long time before there is a significant increase to the number of Haywood's works available online.

Wednesday 12 December 2018

Henry Lasher Gardner publisher’s device

I included Henry Lasher Gardner publisher’s device in an appendix to my essay: "Thomas Gardner's Ornament Stock: A Checklist" (Script and Print, vol.39, no.2 (May 2015): 111).

As I noted in my article, this device (32x35mm) "is a monogram made up of two mirrored elements: an H, and a flourish that resembles both an L and, when reversed, a G. The device appears on at least four items between 1771 to 1773." (Elements crudely highlighted below.)

Through a happy accident, I have now identified the source of Henry Lasher Gardner's publisher’s device: Samuel Sympson's A new book of cyphers, more compleat and regular than any yet extant. Wherein the whole alphabet (twice over,) Consisting of Six Hundred Cyphers, is variously changed, interwoven and reversed (London: Printed for Samuel Sympson Engraver in Catherine-Street in the Strand, B. Cole Engraver at the Sun a Lace Shop in St. Paul’s Church-Yard, and sold by [six engravers and print-sellers], 1726), plate 44 (ESTC: T145073), which was reprinted in 1736 (N471341) and ca. 1750 (T132195; online here).

As you can see, the resemblance of the reversed G to an L is entirely fortuitous. I bet Henry Lasher was pleased.

BTW: The happy accident I refer to above was that I recently spotted a copy of the first edition of Sympson's A new book of cyphers on eBay (here). Although it started at GBP5, entirely unsurprisingly, it sold for more than one hundred times that (GBP586). (In case anyone is interested, a copy of the ca. 1750 edition is still available for twice this price: USD1495; here.)

As soon as I saw that the "cyphers" in the title were actually "monograms," I wondered whether Henry Lasher may have got his monogram from such a source. As you can see, my hunch was a good one. The two monograms are identical.

* * * * *

For my other posts on Gardner, see A very crude Gardner ornament catalogue, 1995 and Works Containing Gardner Ornaments.