The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts By: Guest Author

Spanish Book Collection at the Folger

Andres Alvarez-Davila was a Dumbarton-Oaks intern at the Folger Shakespeare Library in 2017-2018. One of Andres’ projects was to determine the scope of the Spanish book collection at Folger, which is, for the most part, only searchable in the card catalog, and therefore can only be discovered by readers onsite. A longer version of Andres’s post as well as a spreadsheet including a list of over a thousand titles with their subject headings will be available shortly in Folgerpedia.… Continue Reading

What is an Aesopian fable in the Renaissance? The case of the Renaissance Catwoman

A guest post by Liza Blake What is an Aesopian fable in the Renaissance? This post is about where our modern Aesopian fables come from, drawing on the Folger Shakespeare Library’s incredibly rich collections of animal fables. For more detail and proper notes, I recommend the recently published volume Arthur Golding’s A Moral Fabletalk and Other Renaissance Fable Translations, which I co-edited with Kathryn Vomero Santos—a copy of which is also held at the Folger.… Continue Reading

Tracing the transmission of medical recipes

A guest post by Elisabeth Chaghafi A lot of early modern recipe books are eclectic compilations that reflect the interests or needs of the people who compiled them. Often they do not even separate between cookery and medical recipes but include a mixture of both. Two examples of such eclectic recipe books in the Folger’s collection are V.a.140 and X.d.469. V.a.140 was compiled in about 1600.… Continue Reading

Minding the Gaps of Early Modern Drama

A Guest Post by Heidi Craig The history of early modern drama and theatre is punctured with gaps, unknowns, and absences. Over half of the estimated 3,000 professional plays performed before the closure of the theatres in 1642 have evaporated without a trace. About 750 plays endure as only fragments, such as a play title or extract, that point to complete scripts otherwise lost; the number of these lost plays and our knowledge of them continues to grow, thanks to the ongoing work of The Lost Plays Database, edited by Roslyn Knutson, David McInnis and Matthew Steggle, and hosted by the Folger.… Continue Reading

Experiments with early modern manuscripts and computer-aided transcription

Guest post by Minyue Dai, Carrie Yang, Reeve Ingle, and Meaghan J. Brown. Hundreds of years ago, scholars might spend hours in a library searching through thousands of pages to find a useful paragraph.Things get much easier when we can work with digitized text. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) systems can automatically recognize text on images—such as printed books, handwritten letters, and photos—and convert it to a readable and editable digital format.… Continue Reading

Dancing Skeletons and Human Hair: Remembrance, Memento Mori, and Material Culture

A guest post by Catherine Elliott Tisdale How do you remember loved ones who have passed away or family members who have scattered across the four winds? Today if we lose someone, we turn to photos, family films, emails, texts, voicemails, screenshots from Skype or Facetime, letters, birthday cards, Facebook profiles (there are currently 30 million active “Remembrance” profiles for the deceased and counting), and of course, the memories and stories we share with one another.… Continue Reading

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