Just a few things of interest from the past few weeks, internet-surfing taking a back seat to Life… a few exhibitions, a bit about Bunnies, Shakespeare’s wife and her “second best bed.,” a few new books of note, the Bluestockings, a ton of reading from Women’s History month, and Jane Austen and drinking…
“Fans Unfolded” – an exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum through January 2020: https://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/calendar/whatson/fans-unfolded-conserving-lennox-boyd-collection
You can download several projects from the Colonial Williamsburg website – here you can make your own paper carnation, based on the artificial flower making of Elizabeth Gardner Armston: https://colonialwilliamsburg.com/learn/trend-and-tradition-magazine/trend-and-tradition-downloads
See this at the Folger’s Collation blog – “Uncancelling the Cancelled” – a fascinating look at deciphering former owner names in books…https://collation.folger.edu/2019/04/uncancelling-the-cancelled/
10 Poems about wives at Interesting Literature: https://interestingliterature.com/2019/04/03/10-of-the-best-poems-about-wives/
Here’s my favorite, about Shakespeare’s wife Anne Hathaway:
“Anne Hathaway” – by Carol Ann Duffy
‘Item I gyve unto my wief my second best bed…’ (from Shakespeare’s will)
The bed we loved in was a spinning world
of forests, castles, torchlight, cliff-tops, seas
where he would dive for pearls. My lover’s words
were shooting stars which fell to earth as kisses
on these lips; my body now a softer rhyme
to his, now echo, assonance; his touch
a verb dancing in the centre of a noun.
Some nights I dreamed he’d written me, the bed
a page beneath his writer’s hands. Romance
and drama played by touch, by scent, by taste.
In the other bed, the best, our guests dozed on,
dribbling their prose. My living laughing love –
I hold him in the casket of my widow’s head
as he held me upon that next best bed.
by Carol Ann Duffy – From New Selected Poems 1984-2004 (Picador, 2004). Originally published in The World’s Wife (Macmillan, 1999). http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poem/anne-hathaway/
Some interesting news in the world of Calvin Coolidge: an eyewitness account to his swearing in as President in the early morning of August 3, 1923 in Plymouth, VT, this account from Coolidge’s chauffeur Joseph M. McInerney. His memoir “As I Remember” was recently acquired by the Vermont Historical Society’s Leahy Library: you can read the full document of 11 pages online here:
Margaret Atwood’s harrowing The Handmaid’s Tale has just been released as a graphic novel, illustrated by Renee Nault: https://lithub.com/read-from-the-graphic-novelization-of-the-handmaids-tale/
From the Washington Post’s “In Sight” blog, a look at one person’s take on living in Jane Austen’s time: https://www.washingtonpost.com/photography/2019/04/05/this-photographer-hung-out-with-some-jane-austen-mega-fans-heres-what-she-saw/?utm_term=.9ba3787cfaf3
(scroll down below the comments to see the photographs)
For Women’s History Month, the 31 daily posts on women involved in bibliography – historical printers, librarians, cataloguers, and archivists – that were posted on the twitter and facebook pages of the Women in Book History Bibliography website, are all now available on the website: “Why It Matters: Teaching Women Bibliographers” by Kate Ozment. Scroll down to read all 31 profiles – fascinating!
A JSTOR essay about the Bluestockings: https://daily.jstor.org/the-bluestockings/
And more here on Richard Samuel’s painting of the “Muses in the Temple of Apollo” (1778) which depicted some of the famous Bluestockings of the time in ancient garb. https://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/exhibitions/2008/brilliant-women/celebrating-modern-muses
Spring is here, so enjoy this from Open Culture: Bunnies gone bad, medieval-style: http://www.openculture.com/2019/03/killer-rabbits-in-medieval-manuscripts-why-so-many-drawings-in-the-margins-depict-bunnies-going-bad.html
Re: Branwell Bronte: this from Publishers Weekly: https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/book-deals/article/79768-book-deals-week-of-april-15-2019.html
PW is first to report that, five days after receiving the manuscript, Atria’s Daniella Wexler preempted a debut historical novel,
Brontë’s Mistress by Finola Austin, based on the true, heretofore untold story of Lydia Robinson and her affair with Branwell Brontë. According to the publisher, “the novel gives voice to the courageous, flawed, complex woman slandered in Elizabeth Gaskell’s The Life of Charlotte Brontë as the ‘wicked’ elder seductress who corrupted the young Brontë brother, driving him to an early grave and bringing on the downfall of the entire Brontë family.” Danielle Egan-Miller at Browne & Miller negotiated the deal for world English and audio rights.
Austen biographer Claire Harman has a new book out: Murder by the Book: The Crime That Shocked Dickens’s London “the fascinating, little-known story of a Victorian-era murder that rocked literary London, leading Charles Dickens, William Thackeray, and Queen Victoria herself to wonder: Can a novel kill?” (how about Ulysses??)
The American Antiquarian Society has digitized over 200 letters of Abigail Adams: http://americanantiquarian.org/abigailadams/
And finally some items about Jane Austen:
Professor Janine Barchas has an article on the LARB Blog – her new book, The Lost Books of Jane Austen, will be out in Ocotober: http://blog.lareviewofbooks.org/essays/marie-kondos-contributions-reception-history-jane-austen/
A new book out which every Jane Austen book club should have!
Gin Austen: 50 Cocktails to Celebrate the Novels of Jane Austen, Colleen Mullaney shares drink recipes inspired by the novels and characters of Jane Austen. Mullaney also digs into the history of drinks that were popular during Austen’s time, like flips, juleps, toddies, shrubs and sours, and gives tips on methods to prepare them and what vessels to serve them in.
“In Austen’s 1814 novel Mansfield Park, Fanny Price outgrows her childlike timidness and becomes a modest, morally just, beautiful young woman. After enduring the rudeness of her aunt Norris, the demands of her aunt Bertram and the disdain of her cousins, she finally finds love with the dashing [?!!!] son of Sir Thomas of Mansfield Park. After all of that, who would not have need of something light and refreshing?
Host your next book club gathering with a fun drinking game and a pitcher of Fanny’s Folly, a cocktail inspired by Fanny Price.
Here’s how to play: After reading the same novel, all players should watch a movie version of the story and drink as follows:
- A character comes galloping up or goes rushing off on horseback: 1 sip
- A mention of marriage: 1 sip
- A display of haughty independence: 2 sips
- A declaration of love: 2 sips
- A display of marriageable skills (foreign languages, playing the piano or harp, singing, dancing or embroidery): 2 sips
- A proposal of marriage: finish your drink
- Any player exclaims, “That’s not how it happened in the book!”: finish your drink and refill everyone else’s
Reprinted with permission from Gin Austen © 2019 Colleen Mullaney – You can buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/Gin-Austen-Cocktails-Celebrate-Novels/dp/1454933127
A friend of mine tells me that her son-in-law is playing the Jane Austen role-playing game “Good Society” – you can too – here is the information: https://storybrewersroleplaying.com/good-society/
How come nobody looks Happy??
And finally, break open your piggy bank for this first edition of Sense & Sensibility:
Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility anonymously issued as “By a Lady” in 1811, was her first published novel. Presented as a triple-decker in an edition of about a thousand copies, the three volumes offered are in olive drab half calf. From the Estate of Frances “Peggy” Brooks, it is a sound set, and quite scarce in a period binding (est. $30,000-40,000). At Doyle’s April 17, 2019 (tomorrow!!): https://doyle.com/auctions/19bp01-rare-books-autographs-maps/rare-books-autographs-maps
What’s on your computer screen this week??