Vacant Victorian Margins (Amicable Annotation, Part 10)

[Feature image: Marginal marking in pencil in Byron’s “Parsinia,” Harvard’s Dickinson Family Collection.] After a long hiatus, I return to the Amicable Annotation miniseries… It starts here. Nowadays Andrew Lang is remembered primarily as a collector of folk and fairy tales. His contemporaries in the late Victorian and Edwardian periods also knew Lang as a lover of and hunter after old books. (The Dictionary of National Biography¬†once dubbed him “the greatest bookman of his age.”) In wry essays on contemporary book culture published in the periodical press in the eighties…

Hedghoggery

Readers of Booktrades haven’t received a new dispatch from the front matter in a while due to the efforts of the booktrader and his associates in other related quarters, including labors to make books by hand and a separate website in which to celebrate (and maybe sell a few of) those craftings. New material for this blog is, in fact, underway. In the meantime, Booktrades encourages readers to pick up a copy, paper or digital, of the new issue of The Hedgehog Review. The booktrader has two pieces in the…

Amicable Annotation, Part 9 (Women and Men)

[Image: Marginal remark by Hester Piozzi (a.k.a. “Mrs. Thrale” of Johnson-lore) in a copy of her Observations and reflections made in the course of a journey through France, Italy, and Germany. This annotated copy was given by Piozzi to her friend William Augustus Conway in 1819.] In recent installments in this miniseries (particularly Parts 6 and 8), I have been stressing that book culture in the long eighteenth century could create a more equal context capable of sustaining cross-sex friendship. Yet we must admit that in both of the cases…

Amicable Annotation, Part 8 (Women and Men, Cont’d)

[Feature Image: Title page of A Collection of Poems, Chiefly in Manuscript, and Written by Living Authors. Baillie rounded up poems from members of her circle, including Walter Scott, in order to help a friend, Mrs. James Stirling, whose husband had recently died. The decision to include the “friend” on the title page, in effect using its gift-end to market the book, speaks to the age’s high regard for friendship. To buy the book was to participate in the unnamed friend’s care, even perhaps to befriend her.] This post continues…

Amicable Annotation, Part 7 (Notes on Jackson’s Marginalia)

[Feature image: Selection from George Crabbe’s The Library (1781); also quoted in Jackson’s Marginalia. Crabbe continues: “Our nicer palates lighter labours seek, / Cloy’d with a Folio-number once a week.” In other words, we’ve got too many books on hand to handle them with our “patient Fathers’” sort of care.] I concluded Part 4 of this miniseries by reflecting on a few striking phrases that H. J. Jackson invents to describe annotatively-enhanced books in her 2001 study Marginalia: Readers Writing in Books (note that publication date: we’ll come back to…

Amicable Annotation, Part 6 (Men and Women)

[Lady Bradshaigh and Samuel Richardson converse in the margins of Clarissa. Full text at the Princeton University Digital Library.] Part 1 of the “amicable annotation” miniseries is here. Or you might begin at the midpoint, Part 5. Enjoy Part 6. In the summer of 1748, the novelist Samuel Richardson received a letter from one “Belfour,” who wrote to prevent a “fatal catastrophe.” “I am pressed, Sir,” the letter begins, “by a multitude of your admirers, to plead in [sic] behalf of your amiable Clarissa.” Yes, the target of Belfour’s intervention…

Amicable Annotation, Part 5 (The Century of Friendship)

[A book that got a whole lot of use in the 18th c. More details at the MCRS Rare Books Blog.] Nota bene, dear reader: in the next few posts of this miniseries, our ground shifts to the eighteenth century. This post does not address annotation directly until some remarks at the end that attempt to lay out what’s ahead. My hope is that this post will convey something of the new atmosphere in which “friendship by the book” occurs in this time period. Happy reading. Part 1 is here.…

Amicable Annotation, Part 4 (Graffiti)

[Image: “Glareanus,” pen-illustration attributed to Hans Holbein the Younger in Oswald Myconius’s copy of the 1515 edition of Erasmus’s Moriae Encomium. More on this picture below.] Part 1 is here. Part 2 here. Part 3. Enjoy Part 4. Finally, we come to graffiti. Or maybe we’ve already been looking at it? Scott-Warren invites us to see nearly all book-markings that “do not qualify as annotations” as graffiti. With such markings, we catch “the ‘real’ reader” not in the act of reading “but doing something else entirely, something that appears to…

Amicable Annotation, Part 3 (Marks of Owning and Recording)

[Image: How Gabriel Harvey marked his Livy. Made available through Annotated Books Online. For details, see below.] Part 1 is here. Part 2 here. Enjoy Part 3. My discussion thus far has focused on¬†scholarly annotation as a friendly practice. In order to account for the role of friendship in humanist times, though, we need a broader sense of the variety of ways early moderns marked up their books. Heidi Brayman Hackel’s Reading Material in Early Modern England sorts the period’s handwritten book-marks into three useful types, to which we will…

Amicable Annotation, Part 2 (Scholarly Annotation)

[Image: An Aldine Press edition of Lactantius’s Divine Institutes (image source here)] Part 1 on “amicable annotaiton” is here. Enjoy Part 2. In the first post in this series (“Friendship by the Book: B by F”), I argued that, among other things, humanism represents a revolution in book culture. Books were the necessary instrument of humanist expression (if not, existence). Humanism was, once again, something that one did with books–preferably those designed to humanist specifications. While the humanists transformed much of the physical nature of the book, they paid particular…