The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts By: Guest Author

Written in the Margent: Frances Wolfreston Revealed

A guest post by Sarah Lindenbaum “And what obscured in this fair volume lies / Find written in the margent of his eyes” (Romeo and Juliet, 1.3.87–88) Recently, two Shakespeare quartos held by the Folger Shakespeare Library were determined to likely be from the library of early modern reader Frances Wolfreston. The books themselves—copy 4 of the fifth quarto of Romeo and Juliet (1637) and a 1636 edition of Venus and Adonis—have been digitized through LUNA and are meticulously cataloged.… Continue Reading

A Pamphlet War in England, 1641-1643

A guest post by Brittney Washington Since my time as the 2017-2018 Nadia Sophie Seiler Rare Materials Resident is quickly approaching an end, I’ve been taking some time to look back on what I’ve learned about the amazing collection here at the Folger Shakespeare Library. My work focused specifically on cataloging printed materials found in the Wing bibliography (known formally as Short title catalogue of books printed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and British America, and of English books printed in other countries, 1641-1700).… Continue Reading

On looking into Chapman’s Homer once again

A guest post by Jessica Wolfe If the name George Chapman rings a bell, it is likely because you once read John Keats’s 1816 sonnet, “On first looking into Chapman’s Homer,” which describes the Romantic poet’s experience of reading Chapman’s translation of Homer for the first time. I have spent the past eight months conducting research for the first full-length biography of Chapman (ca.… Continue Reading

Polyglot Poetics: Transnational Early Modern Literature, part II

A guest post by Nigel Smith I believe I am writing a book about the early modern city as a site of literary activity: the constant factor during the notable and extreme transformations and disruptions that took place between c. 1485 and c. 1700. There are other significant literary arenas to which I pay attention in a forthcoming study, but no one in Europe can rule without the consent of an urban population, and from cities emerge the texts of resistance, difference and revolution that are among my central concerns.… Continue Reading

Hinman, Redux

A Guest Post by Andrew R. Walkling Over this past winter and spring I have been dodging periodic snowstorms across the Mid-Atlantic region, journeying back and forth to Washington for a project that draws upon one meaning of the word from which this blog derives its name: collation. My project—comparing printed “states” of the libretto for an extravagant 1692–93 operatic adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream called The Fairy-Queen—started last year, while I was at Harvard University’s Houghton Library on a Katharine F.… Continue Reading

The itemized life: John Kay’s notebook

Folger X.d.446, the notebook of John Kay, combines accounts and verses. Short-term fellow Laura Kolb argues that Kay’s book is noteworthy not because it combines these things, but because it does so with both care and a kind of inventiveness, even playfulness. Learn more in this post.

The Strange and Practical Beauty of Small-Format Herbals

A guest post by Katarzyna Lecky The Folger Shakespeare Library has a wealth of pre-Linnaean English herbals (printed guides to the medicinal qualities of plants) ranging from gorgeous folios to pocket-sized reference manuals. Although the large-format botanical works boast an undeniable aesthetic appeal with their elaborate frontispieces and pages filled with engraved plates of flora, little herbals are often more compelling for those of us interested in who used them, how, and why.… Continue Reading

Of Counts and Causes: The Emergence of the London Bills of Mortality

A guest post by Dr. Kristin Heitman The Folger’s rare holdings let us glimpse aspects of Renaissance and early modern practices otherwise lost to us. For example, while many European cities and towns had well-documented methods for monitoring the health of their residents, particularly during plague epidemics, significant details of the programs’ inner workings are disclosed only in a series of Folger documents—particularly for the City of London.… Continue Reading

Polyglot Poetics: Transnational Early Modern Literature

A guest post by Dr. Nigel Smith I am writing a transnational history of early modern European literature. Our inherited history of the different early modern vernacular languages and their literatures was fashioned through the lens of the 19th-century and earlier 20th-century nationalism, and this story is one of how each literature descended from the Greek and Roman classics via the Italian Renaissance.… Continue Reading

Books of Offices

A guest post by Nicholas Popper The Folger has fourteen of an odd, unloved sort of manuscript that I’ve taken to calling “Books of Offices,” which exist in over a hundred versions throughout archives in the US and UK. Typically entitled with variations of “A survaye or Booke of Offices aswell of his Majesty’s Courts of Recorde as of his Majesty’s most noble household,” or “A collection of all the offices of England with their fees and allowance in the King’s Gift,” they differ markedly from the well-known humanist descriptions of English governance written by Thomas Smith and William Harrison.… Continue Reading

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