The John Murray Archive–a collection built by the famous publishing house that includes, among other important papers, Byron’s correspondence–may soon move from London to the National Library of Scotland (at a cost of something close to £33 million). As readers of this blog will know, Byron’s literary executor inherited the poet’s papers and his daughter bequeathed them to the Murrays. (See the story this week in Scotsman.com.) The British Library has expressed support for the move. The Scottish Library has plans to stage for special exhibitions devoted to the works of Lord Byron, Jane Austen, and others. (See as well this article at the BBC 4 site.)
Romantic Circles is pleased to announce the publication of a new volume in its Praxis series, Romantic Libraries, edited by Ina Ferris. It can be found in the Praxis section of Romantic Circles or directly at:
According to Ferris, the essays in Romantic Libraries “respond to a historical bibliophilia that played into forms of early Romantic masculinity to produce a personal and private inflection of library culture. The volume concentrates on men and their books, exploring the intersection of bookishness, male subjectivity, and literary value. Essays by Heather Jackson, Deidre Lynch, and Ina Ferris set out to make more visible than has hitherto been the case in Romantic studies the ways in which the physical book–as affective and interiorized object–became central to both personal and cultural identity-formation during the period.”
Biographer Richard Holmes recently published an article in The Guardian about the death of Shelley–or, rather, the legend of the death. Holmes says for example that
Biography is caught and frozen, so to speak, in the glamorous headlights of Shelley’s death. But if we set that death aside, if we switch off its hypnotic dazzle for a moment, maybe quite different patterns and trajectories can emerge from Shelley’s life.
On January 29, Holmes delivered the innaugural lecture in the National Portrait Gallery’s “Interrupted Lives” lecture series. An accompanying book will be published in the autumn. Inevitably, Holmes spends some time thinking about the boats involved, especially the doomed Don Juan. For another reading of the sailing skills of all those on the boat that day, see “On the Instability of Vessels and Narratives: A Nautical Perspective on the Sinking of the Don Juan” by Joseph Dane, Keats-Shelley Journal 47 (1998), 63-86.
A local news source yesterday remarked on the removal of a tall construction crane in Grasmere, all part of the building of the Wordsworth Trust’s new Jerwood Centre. The library will be closed to scholars for about six months while the project is completed.
Another story reports that Wordsworth’s childhood house in Cockermouth, Cumbria, refurbished by the National Trust, will be reopened to the public in June of this year.
The William Blake Archive is pleased to announce the publication of “Illuminated Printing.” It joins our profusely illustrated Biography, Chronology, and Glossary in the “About Blake” section, off the Table of Contents page. The essay was first published in The Cambridge Companion to William Blake, edited by Morris Eaves, 2003. It is republished here by permission of Cambridge University Press. While the text remains the same, the electronic version has 95 illustrations versus 9 in the printed version. The illustrations demonstrate in detail the stages of both Blake’s relief etching (“illuminated printing”) and conventional intaglio etching according to the six Chambers in the Printing house in Hell, from Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. The comparison of these two methods of etching will help reveal what was borrowed, altered, invented, and radical in Blake’s new mode of graphic production. The illustrations, which are linked to enlargements that have detailed captions, supplement the text but also function autonomously as slide shows on the technical and aesthetic contexts in which illuminated printing was invented, and as tutorials in the production of engravings, etchings, and relief etchings.