The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts Categorized: Books

Under Cover: Forged Bindings on Display at the Folger

Our latest exhibition, Form and Function: the Genius of the Book, provides visitors with a true visual feast. Offering a wide array of different types of bindings from the Folger collections, exhibition attendees will learn about the techniques and materials historically used to cover books and make them functional objects. I’m fascinated by the internal structure of the sewing, but am forced to admit that my favorite part of this exhibition is the decoration on the covers.… 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

Engraved to Sell

Printed ephemera can be exciting, especially when it reveals information that can be found nowhere else. When it is also a very rare piece with only a couple of extant copies recorded, and its design is intriguing, the discovery is even more interesting. I was thus thrilled when, following a tip from a colleague, I found in the Folger stacks this small seventeenth-century engraved print containing information on where in London one could subscribe to John Ogilby’s English Atlas.… 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

Early modern head lice remedies; or, dealing with pediculosis, Renaissance-style

With assistance by Beth DeBold This post is dedicated to all those parents and caregivers who have gotten the dreaded phone call while at work: “your child has lice.” You have to drop everything and retrieve your child from school, promising not to return until all traces of nits and bugs have been eradicated. And then the fun begins: two weeks of nightly combing sessions to make sure they NEVER come back, even though you know they will (my tools of choice are a ribbed comb called the “LiceMeister” and an electric zapper called the “Robicomb”).… 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

Sonnets by Shakespeare…’s spirit?

As the common saying goes, only death and taxes are certain. However, consider the uncertainties that can accompany any tax season: missing W-2s, e-file services incompatible with your browser, shifting standards, mathematical errors…… Continue Reading

Cracks in Etched Plates

Originally, I was going to do a crocodile post about the binding of this architecture book by Jacques Androuet du Cerceau: But after I thought about it, it seemed more appropriate to talk about the prints in the book. Andrea Cawelti guessed right: the wavy lines on this image correspond to cracks in the plate, which retained ink and printed. Other prints in this book show the same type of defects: As well as some corresponding to cracks at the edge of the plate: Several prints also show plate scratches: and a certain ink smudginess: In addition to these blemishes, several plates have one-sided beveled edges: and one print shows a plate corner missing: Clearly something was wrong with the set of plates used for this book.… Continue Reading

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