The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Monthly Archives: April 2013

Two disciplines separated by a common language

I should have seen it coming when the Art History professor and the English professor started talking with each other about “print culture” (names omitted to protect reputations). It soon became clear that one had been talking about the circulation of printed pictures, the other had been talking about the circulation of printed words, and neither wanted to let on that they hadn’t been talking about both all along.… Continue Reading

Mors comoedia. A comedy a hundred years old brought to life again in 1726

Sheer chance is an important factor in research. Some sixteen years ago I was surveying a sammelband held at Antwerp University Library that contained 257 programs documenting theater performances in Jesuit schools in Flanders. 1 And now, just a month ago, one of the many Neo-Latin theater plays in the Folger collections unexpectedly helped me to identify the author of one of the largely anonymous texts.… Continue Reading

First Folios online

Editor’s Note, March 30, 2016: Sarah now is maintaining an up-to-date list of digitized First Folios on her personal site. When you’ve finished reading this post, please head over there to check out the current list. I imagine that you’re all thinking the same thing I’m thinking in the lead-up to April 23rd, Shakespeare’s birthday/deathday: Where can I find a good online facsimile of the First Folio?… Continue Reading

Interleaving history: an illustrated Book of Common Prayer

A guest post by Whitney Anne Trettien In Henry Fielding’s novel Tom Jones, Partridge and his friends go to see a play. As they watch a man light the upper candles of the playhouse, the predictably inane Partridge cries out, “Look, look, madam, the very picture of the man in the end of the common-prayer book before the gunpowder treason service!” The picture Partridge refers to is most likely this— Guy Fawkes —a widely circulated and often reproduced image of Guy Fawkes sneaking toward the House of Lords, matches and lantern in hand.… Continue Reading

Secret histories of books

This month’s crocodile mystery was a bit more challenging than recent ones (perhaps not helped by my cryptic “suitable for April” introduction), but Aaron Pratt guessed the gist of it: the image was a detail of a page printed in black, usually referred to as a mourning page. Here is the full context, with the bit we were looking at taken from the middle of the left-hand page: leaves A3v-A4r of Josua Sylvester’s Lachrymae Lacrymarum (click to enlarge in Luna)… Continue Reading

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: April 2013

Is April the cruellest month? If so, here’s a suitably dark crocodile mystery for you to solve: your April crocodile (click to enlarge) What is this and what might we learn from it? Your speculations are welcome in the comments, and the answer will appear later this week! UPDATE (10 April): Read the comments below for some thoughts that have been bandied about and some clues on what it might be.… Continue Reading

The mysterious “Sem”

World, meet Sem. Sem, meet the World. Looks thrilled, doesn’t he? Well, you’d be a bit jaded, too, if you’d been hanging around the Folger for over 80 years, waiting for someone to finally notice you. Self portrait of the artist known as “Sem” It all began February 15, with a reference question from a colleague in London, “I am currently researching two volumes of drawings by an artist using the monogram SEM,” wrote Marcus Risdell, the curator at the Garrick Club.… Continue Reading