Shakespearean Insults: The Editorial Edition

Recount, O Muse, the editors who fell during the epic battle for Shakespeare’s words three centuries ago. Pope, that poetic genius, was blinded by Shakespeare’s meter; Theobald, may he rest in peace with his dictionaries, died of dulness; Johnson, the father of our language, was cut to the core by the Bard’s vulgar words; and Malone, the lone Irishman, lost his ear. In this, the battle of Shakespeare editions, each editor thought he was victorious. But alas! they all cried “huzzah!” too soon, for each editor soon felt the perfectly timed twist of the rhetorical knife or the slap of a rhetorical glove.

In all seriousness, over the course of the eighteenth century, editors battled with each other over the words of Shakespeare. The complicated work of editing Shakespeare began in earnest, arising from both the Enlightenment spirit of scholarship and a growing recognition of Shakespeare’s importance. Each editor sought to claim the “true” Shakespeare. Yet before the days of the First Folio’s renown (which Samuel Johnson first suggested editors use in 1765), editors typically used their predecessor’s editions as their base texts. They did not start with early folios or quartos, which were difficult to locate. For various reasons, each editor asserted the rightness of his own edition of Shakespeare, and as a result, each edition was met by equally strong criticism. Perfecting the noble art of the insult, editors padded their own editions with criticisms of their predecessors. In a few cases, they were so fired up they wrote entire books dedicated to explaining how their predecessors were wrong.

Our current exhibition, Shakespeare by the Book, has an entire section entitled “We Quarrel in Print: Editing Shakespeare.” Alongside books, it features a listicle of our favorite editorial insults from the eighteenth century, mined from the footnotes and the books in the exhibition. Read on to see the list in its entirety!

Editorial Insult Wall

Editor William Warburton on Nicholas Rowe’s 1709 edition of Shakespeare (1747):

A Wit indeed he was; but so utterly unacquainted with the Business of Criticism, that he did not even collate or consult the first Editions of the Work he undertook to publish; but contented himself with giving us a meagre Account of the Author’s Life, interlarded with some common-place Scraps from his Writings.

Editor Lewis Theobald on Alexander Pope’s 1725 editing of a passage in Hamlet (1726):

[N]o Body shall perswade me that Mr. Pope could be awake, and with his Eyes open, and revising a Book, which was to be publish’d under his Name, yet let an Error, like the following, escape his Observation and Correction.

Theobald's Shakespeare Restor'd

Lewis Theobald’s Shakespeare Restored is a  book entirely dedicated to criticizing Pope’s edition of Shakespeare.

Editor William Warburton on Lewis Theobald’s 1733 edition of Shakespeare (1747):

Mr. Theobald was naturally turned to Industry and Labour. What he read he could transcribe: but, as what he thought, if ever he did think, he could but ill express, so he read on; and by that means got a Character of Learning, without risquing, to every Observer, the Imputation of wanting a better Talent.

Editor William Warburton on Lewis Theobald’s 1733 edition of Shakespeare (1747):

Mr. Theobald was naturally turned to Industry and Labour. What he read he could transcribe: but, as what he thought, if ever he did think, he could but ill express, so he read on; and by that means got a Character of Learning, without risquing, to every Observer, the Imputation of wanting a better Talent.

Critic Thomas Edwards in a satirical “supplement” to William Warburton’s 1747 edition of Shakespeare (1748):

Poor Shakespear! your anomalies will do you no service, when once you go beyond Mr. Warburton’s apprehension; and you will find a profess’d critic is a terrible adversary, when he is thoroughly provoked: you must then speak by the card, or equivocation will undo you. How happy is it that Mr. Warburton was either not so attentive, or not so angry, when he read those lines in Hamlet,

Give me that Man
That is not passion’s slave, and I will wear him
In my heart’s core; aye, in my heart of heart—

We should have then perhaps heard, that this was a way of speaking, that would have rather become an apple than a prince.

Alexander Pope satirizing the voice of Lewis Theobald in The Dunciad, who pays homage to the goddess Dulness with his edition of Shakespeare (1728):

Here studious I unlucky Moderns save,
Nor sleeps one error in its father’s grave,
Old puns restore, lost blunders nicely seek,
And crucify poor Shakespear once a week.
For thee I dim these eyes, and stuff this head,
With all such reading as was never read;
For thee supplying, in the worst of days,
Notes to dull books, and Prologues to dull plays;
For thee explain a thing ‘till all men doubt it,
And write about it, Goddess, and about it.

Samuel Johnson first on Alexander Pope’s 1725 edition of Shakespeare…

This was a work which Pope seems to have thought unworthy of his abilities, being not able to suppress his contempt of the dull duty of an editor. He understood but half his undertaking.

…and then on Lewis Theobald’s 1733 edition (1765):

Pope was succeeded by Theobald, a man of narrow comprehension and small acquisitions, with no native and intrinsick splendour of genius, with little of the artificial light of learning.

Critic William Kenrick on a footnote in Samuel Johnson’s 1765 edition of Shakespeare (1765):

Had our editor nothing to offer better than this? And hath he so little veneration for Shakespeare, as so readily to countenance the charge against him of writing nonsense? Did you, Dr. Johnson, ever read the scene, wherein this passage occurs, quite through?

Critic Joseph Ritson on Edmund Malone’s 1790 edition of Shakespeare (1792):

But it is not the want of ear and judgement only of which I have to accuse Mr. Malone: he stands charged with divers other high crimes and misdemeanors against the divine majesty of our sovereign lord of drama; with deforming his text, and degrading his margin, by intentional corruption, flagrant misrepresentation, malignant hypercriticism, and unexampled scurrility. These charges shall be proved—not, as Mr. Malone proves things, by groundless opinion and confident assertion, but—by fact, argument and demonstration. How sayest thou, culprit? Guilty or not guilty?

Critic John Collins accusing George Steevens of bribing the printers to show him proof sheets so he could plagiarize Edward Capell’s 1768 edition of Shakespeare (1779):

You will then find, my Lord, a regular system of plagiarism, upon a settl’d plan pervading those later editions throughout, and that,—not [Doctor Johnson’s] former publication, as one would naturally suppose, but—Mr. Capell’s, in ten volumes, 1768, is made the ground-work for what is to pass for the genuine production of these combin’d editors, and is usher’d to the world upon the credit of their names…But I cannot help observing, —that such injustice, as requir’d the united efforts of effrontery and falsehood to conceal it, amounts to a full acknowledgement of the superior worth of the person injur’d, and is an undeniable argument of as much indigence on the one hand as of abundance on the other.”

Editor Thomas Caldecott on the whole lot of his predecessors, in a review of Thomas Bowdler’s Family Shakespeare (1822):

In spite of the national veneration universally felt for our great bard, he has been subjected, amongst us, to a series of more cruel mutilations and operations than any other author who has served to instruct or amuse his posterity. Emendations, curtailments, and corrections (all for his own good) have been multiplied to infinity, by the zeal and care of those who have been suffered to take him in hand. They have purged and castrated him, and tattoed and be-plaistered him, and cauterized and phlebotomized him, with all the studied refinement, that the utmost skill of critical barbarity could suggest. Here ran Johnson’s dagger through, “see what a rent envious Pope has made,” and “here the well-beloved Bowdler stabbed:” while, after every blow, they pause for a time and with tiresome diligence unfold the cause why they that did love him while they struck him, have thus proceeded.

If you would like to see more editors behaving badly, come see Shakespeare by the Book in person. The exhibition runs through December 31st 2016, with the Folger Shakespeare’s Library’s First Folio making its appearance for the month of October.

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Mining the Ores of Breece D’J Pancake’s Life and Works

This week’s post is contributed by two visiting undergraduate researchers, Megan Flanery and Hunter Walsh, who traveled all the way from Southern Georgia University to examine our Breece D’J Pancake manuscript collection. They represent a growing demographic of Special Collections researchers, and one that we value deeply here at UVA: undergraduates with an understanding of the importance and value of archival research. Thank you, Megan and Hunter, for sharing your experience with us here on the blog!

Megan:

My colleague, Hunter Walsh, and I are both fourth-year undergraduate students at Georgia Southern University, and we will be graduating in the fall of this year. We were first introduced to Breece Pancake’s short story collection in 2014, when we studied his text under the direction of Dr. Olivia Carr Edenfield during her course on the American short story. Although we approach Pancake’s fiction from very different angles, both Mr. Walsh and I will present our undergraduate capstone projects on Pancake’s work. Our archival work at The Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library has broadened our understanding of Pancake’s short, yet accomplished life. Our ultimate goal is to shed light on Breece Pancake, an under-appreciated Appalachian author, and we hope to bring new perspectives to the limited critical conversation that surrounds his fiction.

, Megan Flanery is 21 years old and currently a senior at Georgia Southern University. Here, she will earn a BA in English with a minor in Philosophy, and she plans to continue her studies by attending graduate school at East Carolina University. The focus of her scholarship is American literature, particularly that of the twentieth century. She enjoys reading the works of authors such as Sherwood Anderson, Ernest Hemingway, J.D. Salinger, Eudora Welty, Raymond Carver, Cormac McCarthy and, especially, Breece Pancake.

Originally from Michigan but now a Georgia resident, Megan Flanery is 21 years old and currently a senior at Georgia Southern University. Here, she will earn a BA in English with a minor in Philosophy, and she plans to continue her studies by attending graduate school at East Carolina University. The focus of her scholarship is American literature, particularly that of the twentieth century. She enjoys reading the works of authors such as Sherwood Anderson, Ernest Hemingway, J.D. Salinger, Eudora Welty, Raymond Carver, Cormac McCarthy and, especially, Breece Pancake.

Hunter:

Megan and I uncovered a countless amount of material. We found family photographs, postcards, interviews, and even personal letters from and to Breece Pancake. For me, these are all extremely interesting artifacts and sources that have really molded my study of Pancake’s work. The material I recovered has shed new light on his personal life and his relationships. Since I am interested in the family unit in Breece Pancake’s short fiction, this research has really opened up my reading. Breece’s biographical accounts of his life and his own admission to incorporating true elements into his writing offered even more insight into the familial relations in his writing. This was my first time doing archival research and I cannot thank the University of Virginia and Professor John Casey enough for allowing me this opportunity. The staff at the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library were friendly and a tremendous support as well.

Hunter Walsh is an English major and Writing minor. He hails from Bristol, Virginia and is recipient of the 2015 Powell Award for Fiction Writing. His paper, “The Family in the Life and Works of Breece D’J Pancake,” examines the life and writings of Breece D’J Pancake. It documents Pancake’s personal experience with family and isolation, while highlighting these themes, via his experiences and perceptions, in his short fiction.

Hunter Walsh is an English major and Writing minor. He hails from Bristol, Virginia and is recipient of the 2015 Powell Award for Fiction Writing. His paper, “The Family in the Life and Works of Breece D’J Pancake,” examines the life and writings of Breece D’J Pancake. It documents Pancake’s personal experience with family and isolation, while highlighting these themes, via his experiences and perceptions, in his short fiction.

One of the most useful documents we unearthed is a catalog of the real sites and locations that have been included in Pancake’s work, written by his mother, Helen Frazier Pancake:

Box 1 of MSS10975-e, folder 5, holds a document titled “The Stories of Breece D’J Pancake – Locations and Sites,” written by Helen Pancake, Breece’s mother. The various sites, of which Pancake was well-acquainted, reveal how Pancake weaved his own memories into his fiction.

“The Stories of Breece D’J Pancake – Locations and Sites,” written by Helen Pancake, Breece’s mother. The various sites, with which Pancake was well-acquainted, reveal how Pancake weaved his own memories into his fiction. (MSS 10975-e 1.5)

My thesis is centered on memory and the negative effects of rumination and obsessive nostalgia; therefore, my research on Pancake’s own life has been crucial to understanding the ways in which memories affected him. His last letter, written to his major professor, Dr. John Casey, is filled with memories that Pancake was fixated upon:

Box 1 of MSS10975-a, folder 5, holds Breece Pancake’s last piece of correspondence. Shown here is the signature line, where he thanks the recipient, UVA’s Henry Hoynes Professor of Creative Writing John Casey. In the body of tje letter, he lists the various dates of the significant, yet traumatic, events that weighed on him. Two weeks after this letter was composed, Breece took his own life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Megan:

Although our study of Pancake’s life was dejecting at times, it allowed us both to appreciate Breece Pancake as a person, and not just as a writer. For now, our findings will be applied to some aspects of his fiction to highlight Pancake’s vexing themes; however, I plan to use this wealth of information to compose eventually a book-length study of Pancake’s life and works.

 

 

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The 51st U.Va. Student Book Collecting Contest

Winners of the 51st U.Va. Student Book Collecting Contest: Nora Benedict (at left) and Isaac May (at front), with contest judge David Whitesell. (Photo courtesy of David Vander Meulen)

Winners of the 51st U.Va. Student Book Collecting Contest: Nora Benedict (at left) and Isaac May (at front), with one of the contest judges David Whitesell. (Photo courtesy of David Vander Meulen)

Since 1948 the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia has been pleased to sponsor a book collecting contest open to all U.Va. students. Originally held annually, and now biennially, the contest offers all students a chance to showcase their personal book collections, and to win substantial cash prizes as well. To enter, students submit a list of items in their collection along with a short essay describing its contents and their objectives in forming the collection. Judges consider collections on the basis of coherence of focus, method of collecting, progress made in creating the collection, and the quality of the explanation of the collection’s focus. Collections are not judged on dollar value or size. The first place winner receives a $500 cash prize and a $1,295 scholarship covering the entire tuition for a Rare Book School course; the winner is also eligible to enter this year’s National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest. Prizes of $300 and $175 are awarded for second and third place respectively. This year ten local booksellers have also contributed gift certificates, which are distributed among the contest winners.

Selections from Nora Benedict's winning entry, "Argentine Publishing and the Many Faces of Jorge Luis Borges."

Selections from Nora Benedict’s winning entry, “Argentine Publishing and the Many Faces of Jorge Luis Borges.”

At the BSUVA’s annual meeting, held on March 18 in the Auditorium of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, winners of the 51st U.Va. Student Book Collecting Contest were announced. First prize was awarded to Nora Benedict, doctoral candidate in the Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, for her entry, “Argentine Publishing and the Many Faces of Jorge Luis Borges.” Isaac May, a doctoral student in the Department of Religious Studies, was awarded second prize for his entry, “Collecting and Preserving Anglo-American Quaker Publications.”

Highlights from Isaac May's entry, "Collecting and Preserving Anglo-American Quaker Publications"

Highlights from Isaac May’s entry, “Collecting and Preserving Anglo-American Quaker Publications”

The Small Special Collections Library is pleased to partner with the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia in mounting an exhibition of highlights from the winners’ collections. The exhibition will remain on view in the first floor hallway leading to the Special Collections reading room through April 28.

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Now Open: Reading between the Lines of Jacob Lawrence’s Struggle Series

From 1954 to 1956, at the height of the McCarthy Era and at the time the Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. the Board of Education launched the modern Civil Rights movement, Jacob Lawrence painted thirty history paintings encompassing the period from the American Revolution to early westward expansion. Thirteen of the resulting panels from the series, Struggle…from the History of the American People, are currently on display at UVA’s Fralin Museum of Art (September 3 –June 5, 2016).

Lawrence wanted to portray “not only the struggle and contribution of the Negro people, but also…the rich and exciting story of all the people who immigrated to the New World and contributed to the creation of the United States.” His colorful, dynamic, and highly symbolic imagery, paired with titles that are often quotations from historical documents, recasts familiar historical subjects and invites new understandings about the foundation of our country.

In conjunction with this exhibition, the Albert & Shirley Small Special Collections Library is pleased to host a small exhibition featuring speeches, maps, drawings, and books that directly inspired or are historically related to Lawrence’s artworks. Original items from our collectionsare juxtaposed with reduced facsimiles of eight Struggle panels. Six of the panels shown in the Small Library exhibition are on view in their original form at the Fralin.

Like the larger Fralin project, this exhibition was organized by Professor Elizabeth Turner, whose graduate students have spent the last few months combing our collections to find the most salient historical counterparts to Lawrence’s paintings. Graduate students in Art History Chloe Downe and Elyse Justice made the final item selections and composed the layouts and label text.

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Shown here is a map of the Battle at Yorktown alongside Lawrence’s panel depicting a fallen British redcoat.

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Above Lawrence’s panel, which illustrates the death of Crispus Attucks during the Boston Massacre, is a rare period newspaper account of the event.

IMG_5335

This Lawrence panel shows the British troops and Shawnee warriors, including Tecumseh, at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. The hand-colored broadside above it illustrates the Battle of the Thames in 1813, the last battle between Tecumseh’s warriors and General William Henry Harrison’s trooops.

 

IMG_5338For a new perspective on American history and Lawrence’s works, come see Reading between the Lines of Jacob Lawrence’s Struggle  through May 2016 in the First Floor Gallery.

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Three Elizabeths: Shakespeare Criticism by Women in the Eighteenth Century

Our current exhibition at the Albert & Shirley Small Special Collections Library, Shakespeare by the Book, focuses on the history of Shakespeare as a book. As a result, the exhibition showcases mostly male editors and publishers until we reach the twentieth century. (Hannah Whitmore, our widow publisher of The Merchant of Venice, is a notable exception.) However, this is not to say that women were not involved in building Shakespeare in the early modern era. In fact, it is said that the first critical essay ever written on Shakespeare was by Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, in 1664. In the eighteenth century, a number of other female critics published works on Shakespeare, some of which are held here in the Small Library.
Elizabeth Montagu
Out rush’d a Female to protect the Bard,
Snatch’d up her Spear, and for the fight prepar’d:
Attack’d the Vet’ran, pierc’d his Sev’n-fold Shield,
And drove him wounded, fainting from the field.
With Laurel crown’d away the Goddess flew,
Pallas contest then open’d to our view,
Quitting her fav’rite form of Montagu.
The stanza above is how David Garrick, famous Shakespearean actor, characterized Elizabeth Montagu on the occasion of the Shakespeare Jubilee in 1769, the same year that Montagu’s An Essay on the Writings and Genius of Shakespeare was published. Montagu is perhaps best known for being “Queen of the Bluestockings,” a group of women who held a literary salon where they engaged in “rational conversation.” Her essay on Shakespeare is an important moment in Shakespearean criticism. This Bluestocking had the audacity to “protect the Bard” from the famed French critic Voltaire, and from her good friend, Samuel Johnson, whose preface to his edition of Shakespeare (1765) she felt neglected Shakespeare’s genius. In her essay, Montagu emphasizes Shakespeare’s understanding of human nature and his genius despite his lack of education.

image3

Montagu’s essay sold exceptionally well: it went through seven editions and was translated into French and Italian. Shown here are first English and Irish editions. (PR 2975 .M7 1769, PR 2975 .M7 1769a)

Significantly, Montagu calls the playwright “Our Shakespeare” almost immediately in her preface. What follows is an apotheosis of William Shakespeare. As if warring with all of France and not just Voltaire (whose terrible translations she ridicules), she defends Shakespeare for not following all the rules of classical drama, declaring that his plays are more natural for their irregularities than the artificial plays of the French. Additionally, she is one of the earlier critics to take his history plays seriously, arguing that they are excellent vehicles for moral instruction, which, in her view, is the aspiration of all drama. Unlike many of the male editors represented in our exhibition who tried to “fix” or find the “true” Shakespeare, Montagu understands that Shakespeare’s dramatic irregularities are what make him a genius.
Elizabeth Griffith
Another Elizabeth picked up the “spear” and rushed out to protect Shakespeare a few years later: Irish playwright, novelist, and actor Elizabeth Griffith. Griffith debuted on the stage as Juliet at Dublin’s Smock Alley theatre in 1749, eventually specializing in tragic roles like Cordelia and Ophelia. Inspired by Montagu’s work on Shakespeare’s genius, she set out to defend his morals in The Morality of Shakespeare’s Drama Illustrated (1775). Griffith wanted to illustrate a system of “social duties” that Johnson claimed could be culled from Shakespeare’s plays in his preface: “I have ventured to assume the task of placing his Ethic merits in a more conspicuous point of view, than they have ever hitherto been presented in to the Public.” She contends that Shakespeare’s plays are effective because the morals arise naturally out of the play’s action and his characters are so attuned to human nature that audiences promptly grasp the lesson.

Griffith

Note that unlike Montagu’s Essay, Elizabeth Griffith’s title page lists her name. (PR 3007 .G7 1775)

Griffith’s emphasis on the naturalness of Shakespeare’s characters brings us to her radical reading of drama. Like Montagu, she also defends Shakespeare from Voltaire, who criticizes Shakespeare for breaking from the classical unities of time, place, and action. In response, Griffith invents a fourth unity: character. For her, Shakespeare’s consistency in character is more important than whether his plays take place in one day or in one place because character is what makes the plays, as well as morals, succeed. Griffith’s work, moreover, is radical in its own right: she is the first woman ever to emend Shakespeare’s plays. While her work is not an edition, she includes passages with her own textual alterations and she explains Shakespeare’s language in her own footnotes. When coupled with her popular plays and novels, it should come as no surprise that this work earned her a spot next to Elizabeth Montagu in the famed portrait, “The Nine Living Muses of Great Britain” (1779).

The Nine Living Muses of Great Britain by Richard Samuel, oil on canvas, 1778

The Nine Living Muses of Great Britain by Richard Samuel, oil on canvas, 1778. Elizabeth Montagu is on the right, wearing a red cape with a cup in her hand. Elizabeth Griffith is seated on the right in white with a hand on her cheek. (NPG 4905: Image courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Creative Commons Licence).


Elizabeth Inchbald
Our last Elizabeth is an author, playwright, and actor who was perhaps a little too outrageous to be considered one of the nine living muses of Great Britain, but she and Shakespeare have that moral condemnation in common. Elizabeth Simpson ran away from home at the age of nineteen to become an actor despite having a stammer and no place to go. After marrying fellow Catholic actor Joseph Inchbald, she eventually made her stage debut as Cordelia to her husband’s Lear in 1772. Not only did she continue to act in Shakespeare’s plays for some time (she acted in the production of The Merchant of Venice represented in the Hannah Whitmore edition in our exhibition), she also began to write her own plays: Lovers’ Vow features prominently in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park (1814). Yet today, she is best remembered for her novels, particularly A Simple Story (1791).

After her reputation was well established, publisher Joseph Longman asked Inchbald to write prefaces to The British Theatre, a collection of plays in twenty-five volumes, five volumes of which were Shakespeare’s plays (1806–1809). It is for this work that Inchbald has been labeled Britain’s first professional theater critic. Like Montagu and Griffith, she argues for Shakespeare’s morality in her prefaces, but notably she traces his morality and his realism to the way he mixes vice and virtue in some characters. In her analysis of Shakespeare’s morals, she also offers commentary on contemporary social mores, as in her preface to I Henry IV:
This is a play which all men admire , and which most women dislike. Many revolting expressions in the comic parts, much boisterous courage in some of the graver scenes, together with Falstaff’s unwieldy person, offend every female auditor; and whilst a facetious Prince of Wales is employed in taking purses on the highway, a lady would rather see him stealing hearts at a ball, though the event might produce more fatal consequences.
In addition to her hint about the problems of the sexual double standard here (“more fatal consequences”), we also see Shakespeare described in terms of performance (“auditor”). Inchbald’s prefaces are the first critical works to appreciate the theatrical as well as literary value of Shakespeare. She even criticizes some of her editorial predecessors for not addressing the role of performance and the pleasures we glean from Shakespeare’s language. Unlike the other Elizabeths, who mostly focused on morality and genius, Inchbald was condemned for daring to be a female critic: as her male biographer, James Boaden, wrote, “there is something unfeminine, too, in a lady’s placing herself in the seat of judgment” (1833).

Inchbald

These beautiful bindings of the first edition of Inchbald’s British Theatre feature her name in equal prominence with the subject of the books. (PR 1243 .I4 1808, v.1-5 shown)

As the works of all three Elizabeths shown here intimate, Shakespeare’s education was closer to their own than it was to Voltaire’s or Johnson’s. His work and success, like theirs, trespassed social and moral boundaries. Shakespeare’s rise to “genius” glimmered with the possibility of their own fame.

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New Exhibition Now Open: “Fearsome Ink”

Part of the exhibition, "Fearsome Ink: The English Gothic Novel to 1830," on view through Mat 28.

A portion of the exhibition, “Fearsome Ink: The English Gothic Novel to 1830,” on view through May 28.

Some readers will know that the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library possesses what is considered the world’s finest collection of English Gothic novels. From approximately 1765 to 1830 English readers eagerly embraced a new genre of “Gothic” fiction: typically set in medieval times, imbued with Gothic sensibilities, and frequently invoking the supernatural, its passionate and vividly delineated characters endured untold horrors of the imagination and scourges of the flesh. Ever since, this profusion of what one might term “fearsome ink” has profoundly influenced the world’s literary and popular culture.

A Gothic precursor and Shakespeare source: Matteo Bandello's tale of the ill-fated lovers of Verona, Romeo and Juliet, in French translation. Matteo Bandello, Histoires tragiques. Paris: Gilles Robinot, 1559. (Gordon 1559 .B3)

A Gothic precursor and Shakespeare source: Matteo Bandello’s tale of the ill-fated lovers of Verona, Romeo and Juliet, in French translation. Matteo Bandello, Histoires tragiques. Paris: Gilles Robinot, 1559. (Gordon 1559 .B3)

The nucleus of U.Va.’s collection was formed by British bibliographer Michael Sadleir and enlarged by U.Va. graduate student Robert K. Black, who donated the Sadleir-Black Collection of Gothic Fiction to U.Va. in 1942. Since then the collection has grown steadily through purchase and gift. In 2012 the French scholar Maurice Lévy—who five decades earlier had mined the Sadleir-Black Collection for his dissertation—generously gave to U.Va. a superb collection of Gothic fiction in French translation: the Maurice Lévy Collection of French Gothic. Highlights from these two collections are now on view in the exhibition “Fearsome Ink: the English Gothic Novel to 1830.”

Oh, the horror! A hand-colored, engraved frontispiece to an early 19th-century "shilling shocker," or chapbook adaptation of a Gothic novel.

Oh, the horror! A hand-colored, engraved frontispiece to an early 19th-century “shilling shocker,” or chapbook adaptation of a Gothic novel.

“Fearsome Ink” explores the English Gothic novel as a publishing phenomenon as well as a literary genre. It seeks to situate the English Gothic novel in international context; probe its potential for research in such areas as literary history, the history of publishing and reading, and book illustration; and profile the collectors responsible for building U.Va.’s magisterial holdings. Highlights include 16th– and 17th-century precursors of Gothic literature; contemporary German “shudder novels”; French translations of English Gothic novels; early American attempts to write Gothic fiction suited to American audiences; parodies of Gothic fiction; strikingly illustrated popular chapbook versions of Gothic novels; copies owned (and presumably read) by “persons of quality”; and battered circulating library copies read by the majority of contemporary readers.

Original manuscript contract, signed by Ann Radcliffe, for her bestselling the Mysteries of Udolpho (London: G.G. and J. Robinson, 1794). Radcliffe's novel commanded the princely sum of 500 British pounds from publisher George Robinson. (MSS 1625)

Original manuscript contract, signed by Ann Radcliffe, for her bestselling novel, The Mysteries of Udolpho (London: G.G. and J. Robinson, 1794). Radcliffe’s novel commanded the princely sum of 500 British pounds from publisher George Robinson. (MSS 1625)

On March 25-26, U.Va.’s Department of French is sponsoring a related conference, “The Dark Thread: From histoires tragiques to Gothic Tales.”

G5“Fearsome Ink” will remain on view through May 28 in the first floor gallery of the Small Special Collections Library.

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Open Now!: Shakespeare by the Book

This year, libraries, museums, theaters, and universities across the globe are marking the four-hundredth anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death by celebrating his life and works. In our small corner of the world here at UVA, the Albert & Shirley Small Special Collections Library is making its own unique contribution to the festivities with the exhibition, Shakespeare by the Book: Four Centuries of Printing, Editing, and Publishing.

Few literary works have been preserved, transformed, or reinvented in print as often as the plays of William Shakespeare. From the First Folio to YOLO Juliet, this exhibition of over one hundred items shows how shifting assumptions, expectations, aesthetics, and needs have determined what it means to print Shakespeare “by the book.”

All Gallery The exhibition is broken up into three “acts.” The first, “Scarcity & Excess,” investigates the tension between the very few extant texts of Shakespeare’s work from the seventeenth century and the many variants that exist in the volumes that do survive. Highlights include the Library’s First Folio fragment of Much Ado About Nothing and Love’s Labour’s Lost (1623) and our quarto of King Lear (1619). As part of the Folger Shakespeare Library’s First Folio tour, a complete First Folio will join the exhibition for the month of October.

The Handmade Book

Folio editions printed around the same time as the first two Folios of Shakespeare, including two books printed at the same printing house as the First Folio, reveal some of the characteristics of English printed books in the 1620s and 1630s.

The second act, “We Quarrel in print,” traces how editors have transformed the text of Shakespeare  at two key moments: the eighteenth century  and the mid-twentieth century. In the latter period, UVA English Professor Fredson Bowers and UVA English Ph.D. Charlton Hinman played a pivotal role in Shakespearean scholarship. Highlights include landmark editions of Shakespeare, two videos about Bowers and Hinman’s contributions to bibliography, our research into a minor–but majorly interesting–edition of Shakespeare from the 1780s, and a “listicle” of the best editorial insults by the first generations of Shakespeare editors.

Shown here is Lewis Theobald’s book-long attack on Alexander Pope’s edition of Shakespeare, Shakespeare Restored.

The final act, “Friends, Romans, countrymen” explores the myriad ways Shakespeare has been transformed for a variety of audiences in the modern era, from the child to the bibliophile. Miniature books abound in this section, as do gorgeously illustrated editions of Shakespeare’s plays. Blinking beautifully over this section of the exhibition will be our famous watch ticking out Sonnets 18 and 130 in Morse code.

Shown here are photographs of famous Shakespearean actors whose performances also inspired textual editions of the Bard.

Shown here are photographs of famous Shakespearean actors alongside books associated with them.

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One of more almost 150 miniature volumes of Shakespeare in the exhibition. This example is from the 1904 Ellen Terry edition of Shakespeare.

Other highlights include images from the monumental Boydell Shakespeare and a how-to-collate Shakespeare workstation.

Our miniature Boydell Shakespeare Gallery with prints of Shakespeare's The Tempest, Midsummer Night's Dream, Othello, and King Henry VI, Part Two.

The exhibition includes a feature on how technology of the mid-twentieth century allowed editors to compare copies of Shakespeare’s works with greater accuracy and speed. While we pay a great deal attention to Charlton Hinman’s collating machine, we have installed a more user-friendly Lindstrand Comparator in the gallery so visitors can try to compare two pages themselves. It takes a bit of time to see comfortably through the lenses, but soon you will see variants pop off the page! Come check it out.

The exhibition runs through December 31st 2016, with the Folger Shakespeare’s Library’s First Folio making its appearance for the month of October. A public reception will be held on Friday February 26th from 5–7 PM. All are welcome and encouraged to attend!

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Patron’s Choice: Exploring the Gannaway/Ganaway Family Roots

This week, we are pleased to feature a guest post from researcher Brenda Fredericks. Mrs. Fredericks is an independent scholar researching her family’s genealogy. She spent number of days studying the David Molloy Gannaway Papers.

My trip to the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library on October 22, 2015 was one of great anticipation. Six months prior, I did an internet search and found that this institution had in its holdings original letters of Burrell Gannaway, a former resident of Buckingham Count, VA. This man was the enslaver of my husband’s ancestors.

These ancestors are the family of celebrated African American Photographer, King Daniel Ganaway. My husband Tim is his great-grandson. Note: The spelling of the last name differs between the slave owners and the African Americans. The slave-holding family uses Gannaway, while the African American family members use Ganaway.

I was perplexed as to how or when we would be able to make the trip to the library. Most of my time off from work is used to care for Tim, who has been a bladder cancer patient for the last two years. After visiting the website and learning there were more than 1,000 documents on the Gannaway family held at this library, I knew we had to make the trip. These letters could possibly give us a window into the world of our ancestors.

On September 29th, I was among 300-plus employees who were laid off from my company. There was severance pay attached to the lay-off. While others fretted about their disposition, I smiled. We had just been given our opportunity to come to Virginia!

The Gannaway family settled in Albemarle and Buckingham Counties in the 1700’s. They were prominent in the communities where they lived and owned quite a number of slaves. John Gannaway III and Martha Woodson Gannaway were the parents of Burrell as well as six other children.

As I set at one of the tables in the library, I knew this would be a day I would never forget. Box after box was brought out to me, containing letters, accounting records and deeds, belonging to the Gannaway family. At first my hands shook as I picked up each one. What is the likelihood that an African American in 2015 would one day hold in her hands the original documents of her ancestors’ enslavers?

The first item that caught my attention was a list of slaves.

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Slave List, David Molloy Gannaway papers. (MSS 3784). (Photo by Brenda Fredericks)

Here they were! These are our people and possibly other slaves who were related to them. Judy, America, Bob, Amy and Tom would ultimately make their way to Murfreesboro, TN where Burrell Gannaway and his married sister Mary Molloy relocated around 1814. The thought came to my mind that they were more than likely separated from family. This means that their descendants are still separated from our family to this day.

There was a value given to each slave. Although it was a reality during slavery to place a value on African Americans, my mind simply cannot process this information. Nevertheless, the names on this list were some of the same names found in Burrell Gannaway’s estate inventory when he died in 1853.

As I continued to browse through the documents, I came across accounting records that concerned a mill in Buckingham County referenced to as the Curdsville Mill. I knew about this mill from other historians’ research. Enslaved people likely supposedly built this mill, which is located on the Willis River.

Slave Hire document

Slave hire document, David Molloy Gannaway papers, ca. 1836-1840s. This document records the names of slaves being hired out to work at Curdsville Mill (MSS 3784). (Photo by Brenda Fredericks)

I also noted from this document that Woodson was also hired out to Gannaway and Parish Co. The name Parish was one I was familiar with. I knew from old newspaper articles that this family had been in business with the Gannaways in Virginia, and here was the proof.

My husband and I later drove to Curdsville and found the ruins of this mill!

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Tim Fredericks holding a remnant of Curdsville Mill, 2015. (Photo by Brenda Fredericks)

Remains of the mill.

Remains of Curdsville Mill, 2015.

Of course any letter that Burrell wrote is of keen interest to me.  In a March 1834 letter, he explains his political views to his brother Theodorick (Gravel Hill):

“I am for measures best for the Republic and for myself on this subject I am pointed and my mind made up. I am in favor of our union and all and every measure calculated to perpetuate the union.”

This letter along with others found at the State Library in Richmond show a transformation from an ambitious southern planter to a man beaten by illness, disease, loss of family members and bad crop seasons. He ultimately turns to his faith in God which gives him peace and hope.

Burrell Gannaway had been dead for 12 years when the Civil War ended in 1865. However, he must have left an indelible mark on his friends and business associates because they gave assistance to his former slaves. Daniel Gannaway, the grandfather of King Ganaway, purchased a merchant bond in 1872 and opened a grocery store on the town square in Murfreesboro. Remember those old Virginia business partners by the name of Parrish? They sold land to our Ganaways near the family store. King Daniel’s father and grandfather built a large family home on this land that stood there until the 1950’s.

After the war, Burrell’s congregation, First Baptist Church of Murfreesboro, sold their old church building to the former slaves to start their own church. Some of these slaves were our Ganaways. They had attended services with Burrell where he was a founding members and one of the first deacons. King Daniel’s paternal and maternal grandmothers were Church Mothers of the African American First Baptist congregation.

By no means is Burrell Gannaway the hero of this story. The man I’ve come to know in his letters would not want that credit. It is the God who Burrell wrote about and his relative Annie M. Gannaway who preserved these letters and donated them to this institution who are heroes!

Brenda Fredericks

Independent Researcher Brenda Fredericks

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Tales from Under Grounds III: Drinking and Gambling

This is the final in a series of three posts, spotlighting the mini-exhibitions of students from USEM 1580: Researching History, Fall 2015.

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Matthew Parker, First-Year Student

Matthew Parker. Photograph by Sanjay Suchak, November 17, 2015.

Matthew Parker. Photograph by Sanjay Suchak, November 17, 2015.

Alcohol and Parties at the University of Virginia

Drinking has been a part of the social scene at the University of Virginia since classes began for students in 1825. Each year new students arrive at the University of Virginia ready to learn, and party. Some believe throughout the history of the University of Virginia that drinking has been a problem and has injured its reputation. However, as shown in one of the newspaper clippings, the students of the University respect their own social culture and do not believe in the University’s infamous “drinking problem.”

Drinking, as shown in this exhibition, has both promoted and hindered the development of the University. The issue of drinking here at U.Va. has caused problems with student conduct, but also has been a persuasive promoter of the University to younger generations. From knowledge of the past, it seems certain drinking will remain a part of the University of Virginia and the current student social environment.

Journal of the Chairman of the Faculty, 1837. (RG-19/1/2.041) University of Virginia Archives The Chairman of the Faculty takes note of an event that occurred on April 4th, 1837, which involves the non-fatal shooting of a University of Virginia student. The report states a heavily intoxicated student shot another fellow student inside his dormitory. The investigation of the event unfolds throughout the following weeks, and the Chairman of the Faculty writes down every aspect of the event as it becomes uncovered. On April 11th, the investigation into the shooting found all available evidence, and the Board of Visitors penalized the students involved.

Journal of the Chairman of the Faculty, 1837. (RG-19/1/2.041)
University of Virginia Archives
The Chairman of the Faculty takes note of an event that occurred on April 4th, 1837, which involves the non-fatal shooting of a University of Virginia student. The report states a heavily intoxicated student shot another fellow student inside his dormitory. The investigation of the event unfolds throughout the following weeks, and the Chairman of the Faculty writes down every aspect of the event as it becomes uncovered. On April 11th, the investigation into the shooting found all available evidence, and the Board of Visitors penalized the students involved. (Photograph by Sanjay Suchak, November 17, 2015)

“Guys Drinking.” Hot Foot Society, 1903. (RG-23/46/1.971) University of Virginia Visual History Collection This photograph shows two University of Virginia students drinking alcohol straight from handles. These students were members of a society at the University of Virginia, formally known as the Hot Foot Society. The Hot Foot Society, which began in 1902, was known for its heavy participation in drinking. After their first suspension in 1908, the Hot Foot Society decided to disband in 1911, following a prank which resulted in the expulsion of four members and one-year suspensions for another four members. In 1913, the society reincarnated itself into the IMP Society, which remains active today.

“Guys Drinking.” Hot Foot Society, 1903. (RG-23/46/1.971)
University of Virginia Visual History Collection
This photograph shows two University of Virginia students drinking alcohol straight from handles. These students were members of a society at the University of Virginia, formally known as the Hot Foot Society. The Hot Foot Society, which began in 1902, was known for its heavy participation in drinking. After their first suspension in 1908, the Hot Foot Society decided to disband in 1911, following a prank which resulted in the expulsion of four members and one-year suspensions for another four members. In 1913, the society reincarnated itself into the IMP Society, which remains active today. (Image by Digital Production Services)

Mark Illingworth. Easters T-shirt Contest Entry, 1982. (RG-23/17/3.881) University of Virginia Archives The logo shown above is one of many entries for the Easters T-shirt Contest in 1982. Easters started as a formal dance in the late 19th century, but slowly transitioned into a massive party at the University of Virginia that reached its prime in the 1970s. During the 1970s, the Easters party took place on the rugby field beside Rugby Road, known as Mad Bowl. Thousands of students would file into the field and drink. All the surrounding fraternities would participate in the party and supply a large amount of the alcohol. Many of the logos for the t-shirt contest contain depictions of alcohol in some fashion. The winning entry, however, did not depict alcohol in the illustration.

Mark Illingworth. Easters T-shirt Contest Entry, 1982. (RG-23/17/3.881)
University of Virginia Archives
The logo shown above is one of many entries for the Easters T-shirt Contest in 1982. Easters started as a formal dance in the late 19th century, but slowly transitioned into a massive party at the University of Virginia that reached its prime in the 1970s. During the 1970s, the Easters party took place on the rugby field beside Rugby Road, known as Mad Bowl. Thousands of students would file into the field and drink. All the surrounding fraternities would participate in the party and supply a large amount of the alcohol. Many of the logos for the t-shirt contest contain depictions of alcohol in some fashion. The winning entry, however, did not depict alcohol in the illustration. (Image by Penny White)

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Grant Gossage, Second-Year Student

Grant Gossage. Photograph by Sanjay Suchak, November 17, 2015.

Grant Gossage. Photograph by Sanjay Suchak, November 17, 2015.

Mrs. John King Van Renssalaer. The Devil’s Picture Book: A History of Playing Cards. New York, Dodd, Mead and Company, ca. 1890. (Z5481.V35 1890) Gift of the Stone family A storied history of playing cards presented in this book by Van Renssalaer created an aura around the act of gambling in the 19th century and beyond. The devil’s picture book depicts 18th century French, English, American, and German playing cards as artful possessions of the aristocracy. Students at the University of Virginia in the 19th century were mainly southern gentry. They wore over-the-top clothing until the uniform law. They fought to preserve their honor. They drank and chased women to impress. They gambled to reveal their wealth and to take power from others. The young men venerated the noble past of gambling that the images and text in this book exhibit. (Image by Penny White)

Mrs. John King Van Renssalaer. The Devil’s Picture Book: A History of Playing Cards. New York, Dodd, Mead and Company, ca. 1890. (Z5481.V35 1890)
Gift of the Stone family
A storied history of playing cards presented in this book by Van Renssalaer created an aura around the act of gambling in the 19th century and beyond. The devil’s picture book depicts 18th century French, English, American, and German playing cards as artful possessions of the aristocracy. Students at the University of Virginia in the 19th century were mainly southern gentry. They wore over-the-top clothing until the uniform law. They fought to preserve their honor. They drank and chased women to impress. They gambled to reveal their wealth and to take power from others. The young men venerated the noble past of gambling that the images and text in this book exhibit. (Image by Penny White)

Fauntleroy playing cards 29, Cincinnati, U.S. Playing Card Company, ca. 1890-1912 (PS1214. L554 1886) These miniature Fauntleroy 29 playing cards provide the closest example of those that students at the University of Virginia, such as William Saulsbury, would have used to gamble in locked Lawn rooms around the late-19th to early-20th century. The cards immediately draw the eyes of a viewer as the focal point of this exhibition. They are in a single word, classy. Stars and figurines adorn the bold suits on the one side, while red prints of socialites cover the other. Today, computers and cellphones offer a way for people to gamble virtually across miles of space. When these Fauntleroy cards were in circulation, Saulsbury and other university students gathered around a table, stared each other in the face, and went about taking money.

Fauntleroy playing cards 29, Cincinnati, U.S. Playing Card Company, ca. 1890-1912 (PS1214. L554 1886), (Foreground).
These miniature Fauntleroy 29 playing cards provide the closest example of those that students at the University of Virginia, such as William Saulsbury, would have used to gamble in locked Lawn rooms around the late-19th to early-20th century. The cards immediately draw the eyes of a viewer as the focal point of this exhibition. They are in a single word, classy. Stars and figurines adorn the bold suits on the one side, while red prints of socialites cover the other. Today, computers and cellphones offer a way for people to gamble virtually across miles of space. When these Fauntleroy cards were in circulation, Saulsbury and other university students gathered around a table, stared each other in the face, and went about taking money. (Photograph by Sanjay Suchak, November 17, 2015)

M.L. Weems. God’s revenge against gambling: Exemplified in the miserable lives and untimely deaths of a number of persons of both sexes, who had sacrificed their health, wealth, and honour, at gaming tables. Philadelphia, ca. 1822. (A1822.W43) Around 1822, the former rector of Mount Vernon Parish, M.L. Weems wrote about the deaths of more than six individuals, which he believed was the result of gambling. His book condemns an immoral generation of gamblers as sinners before God and criminals in society. Showing a measure of empathy, Weems seeks to dissuade innocent, young people, including his son for whom he addresses the book, from falling for this temptation at gaming tables. Past the frontispiece, which depicts a deformed man on bended knee cursing cards and dice, Weems writes, “I conjure my boy to shun the gambler’s accursed trade; for its, ‘way is the way to hell, going down in the chambers of death.” (Image by Petrina Jackson)

M.L. Weems. God’s revenge against gambling: Exemplified in the miserable lives and untimely deaths of a number of persons of both sexes, who had sacrificed their health, wealth, and honour, at gaming tables. Philadelphia, ca. 1822. (A1822.W43)
Around 1822, the former rector of Mount Vernon Parish, M.L. Weems wrote about the deaths of more than six individuals, which he believed was the result of gambling. His book condemns an immoral generation of gamblers as sinners before God and criminals in society. Showing a measure of empathy, Weems seeks to dissuade innocent, young people, including his son for whom he addresses the book, from falling for this temptation at gaming tables. Past the frontispiece, which depicts a deformed man on bended knee cursing cards and dice, Weems writes, “I conjure my boy to shun the gambler’s accursed trade; for its, ‘way is the way to hell, going down in the chambers of death.” (Image by Penny White)

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On View Now: Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution

We’re pleased to announce the opening of our latest mini-exhibition,  “Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution: The American Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1970,” which runs through the end of February and is part of the University’s 2016 community MLK Day celebration, “The Call to Higher Ground.” The exhibition is curated by our own Ervin Jordan, research archivist.

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Jordan writes, “The American Civil Rights Movement (1954-1970) intensely transformed American society and inspired similar movements worldwide. Its nonviolent protests and civil resistance for equal citizenship under the law enhanced African-Americans’ self-dignity and collective commitment in the face of white supremacist terrorism. Others too, were allies, martyrs and beneficiaries of this undertaking to fulfill the promises America had made on paper since 1776.”

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The exhibit’s 24 items on display comprise letters, newsletters, photographs, poetry and reports; special items of interest include:

  • A 1960 NAACP voting rights comic book
  • Alex Haley’s 1963 interview of Malcolm X
  • A 1969 Black Panther Party coloring book
  • A 1976 Julian Bond for President bumper sticker
  • An inscribed copy of Coretta Scott King’s published memoirs

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One of the exhibition’s three display cases features the life and career of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., charismatic leader of the Civil Rights Movement and “a drum major for justice and peace” in his letters and publications.

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Please stop by for a visit!

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