Various finds this past week on the ever-amazing internet, from Dickens to Tolkein, Marie Antoinette to The Devil in the White City, and Robert Louis Stevenson to Gretna Green …. enjoy the reading journey!
A study of the largest private library of Anglophone women’s writing collected in the nineteenth century: https://stainforth.scu.edu/
-Francis John Stainforth (1797-1866), an Anglican clergyman, collected a unique private library during the mid-nineteenth century. His library catalog lists 7,726 editions (8,804 volumes) authored and edited by 3,721 writers, nearly all of whom are women – but alas! No Jane Austen!
An old article on Dickens and his London (my favorite topic): https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/how-charles-dickens-saw-london-13198155/
Also not new – Devoney Looser writes on S&S: “Sense or Sensibility: What if Jane Austen Had to Choose.” This is an excerpt from her introduction to the 2018 Penguin Classics edition of S&S. https://lithub.com/sense-or-sensibility-what-if-jane-austen-had-to-choose/
The best of Edward Gorey’s book jackets:
This is fascinating: Darwin’s children doodles on the manuscript of The Origin of Species: https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/04/06/charles-darwin-children-doodles-origin-of-species/
- Then again, maybe the doodles weren’t from Darwin’s children at all. A gentleman on one of the listservs I subscribe to suggests the drawings are those of the children of Joseph Dalton Hooker https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Dalton_Hooker
- an academic conundrum – and example perhaps of scholars trading assumptions for statements of fact and how that can muddle the truth…
You all know this already, but Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City is being made into a Hulu TV series with Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese as executive producers – will DiCaprio star in one of the roles do you think?? The architect or the evil Doctor?? This book had completely freaked me out when I read it back in 2003 – the story is frightful enough, but Holmes, the serial killer, ended up in Burlington Vermont on the same street where I lived!’- thankfully 100 years before, but still…. I was reading it late at night, read that bit, screamed like a banshee, scared my sleeping husband half to death – neighbors surely thought another murder was taking place… We read this for my book group – one woman could only read the chapters about the fair, completely skipped over the nasty doings – and ok to do really – the story of the fair and its architect is fascinating in itself.
Speaking of nasty – I’ve never been able to take those Victorian hair works of art – totally creeps me out – here’s a great article on them: https://www.messynessychic.com/2018/01/24/the-lost-art-of-victorian-human-hair-shrines/
-Years ago a friend and I visited the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington CT – of course there was a framed Victorian hair art on the wall – it all struck us funny and we started giggling and could not stop – spent the entire tour of the house not so quietly making a scene – I do not think I am allowed back…and all because of that creepy hair…
Well, this just makes me sad: https://abc7chicago.com/rare-books-stolen-from-pennsylvania-bookstore/5137379/
- Let’s hope they find fingerprints they can identify on that perfume bottle!
- The hardest thing for me as a bookstore owner was the theft of books – always done by someone who knew the shop and certainly knew the value of what he/she was sneaking off with – I lost some very valuable titles over the years – in many ways, it finally did me in with having an open shop…
Want to understand purchasing power for any given year, 1270 – 2017? Go to this currency converter at the National Archives [UK]: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/currency-converter/
- Also has short synopses of “Living in the ___-century” – here is the 19th: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/currency-converter/living-in-the-19th-century/
One of the few children’s books I collect is Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses: the Library of Congress has a write-up about the iconic 1895 edition illustrated by Charles Robinson: https://blogs.loc.gov/loc/2019/02/rare-books-a-childs-garden-of-verses/?loclr=earare
- – All of the illustrations are posted here on the pinterest site of the Library of Congress: https://www.pinterest.com/LibraryCongress/a-childs-garden-of-verses/?loclr=blogloc
Cast of the now-filming Sanditon series has been announced: https://www.itv.com/presscentre/press-releases/itv-and-red-planet-pictures-announce-cast-filming-commences-jane-austens-sanditon
A review of Kate Hamill’s Vanity Fair: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/03/theater/vanity-fair-broadway-review-kate-hamill-eric-tucker.html
Valentine’s Day brought out many posts on Romance, etc:
Learn about the Map of Matrimony from the University of St. Andrews Special Collections: https://standrewsrarebooks.wordpress.com/2019/02/14/compass-of-the-heart-following-the-map-of-matrimony-on-st-valentines-day/
- Off to Gretna Green to get married in the 18th century: http://mentalfloss.com/article/530424/gretna-green-18th-century-england-runaway-marriage-history
- All Things Georgian relates the history of the 18th-century wedding cake: https://georgianera.wordpress.com/2019/02/14/eighteenth-century-wedding-cakes/
- Vic at Jane Austen’s World writes on Love, Courtship, and Marriage in the Regency Era: https://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/2019/02/14/love-courtship-and-marriage-in-the-regency-era/
The Art of Book Covers at the Public Domain Review:
The first and last loves of J. M. W. Turner, courtesy of the “Untold Lives” blog:
- Part I: https://blogs.bl.uk/untoldlives/2019/02/jmw-turners-first-and-last-loves-part-1.html
- Part II: https://blogs.bl.uk/untoldlives/2019/02/jmw-turners-first-and-last-loves-part-2.html
With thanks to Philobiblos, I link here to the National Library of New Zealand’s Alexander Turnbull Library now digitized drawings of George Raper’s (1769-1797) birds, animals and flowers: https://tiaki.natlib.govt.nz/#details=ecatalogue.58515
- and read all about it here: https://natlib.govt.nz/blog/posts/a-beautiful-milestone
- all to be added to the Raper Wikipedia page: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:George_Raper
Hobbit lovers, head to the Morgan for their grand exhibit on Tolkien, through May 2019: https://www.themorgan.org/exhibitions/tolkien
And finally, Sotheby’s gives us “The Most Expensive Old Master Female Artist”: https://www.barnebys.com/blog/the-most-expensive-female-old-master-elisabeth-vigee-le-brun/
A painting by Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun, the 18th / 19th century portrait artist mostly noted for her paintings of Marie Antoinette, has reached the highest auction sale price for a female artist – $7.2 million!
[This painting caused quite a stir: Marie Antoinette in a Muslin Dress – alas! she was in muslin, not the proper regal attire suitable for a Queen…]