Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Doodling in a Copy of Guarini's "Il Pastor Fido"

frontispiece and title page
Battista Guarini, Il Pastor Fido=The Faithful Shepherd: a pastorall / written in Italian by Baptista Gvarini, a knight of Italie ; and now newly translated out of the originall. 
London : Printed by R. Raworth, M DC XLVII [1647].
[12], 223 p. : ill., port. ; 20 cm.
Translated by Richard Fanshawe.

Renaissance Center copy is in later (18th-century?; a signature dated 1660 is partially trimmed) calf (rebacked; inner hinges cracked; all before B2 and 2F2-4 detached; some worm damage to outer margins, which occurred before the current binding); extensive scribblings on several leaves at front and at back, including drawings and names, presumably of owners: John Penrose (title page; dated both 1647 and 1660); Bernard Penrose (2F4v; dated 1704; and on V3v and X4v, undated); Thomas Penrose (front free endpaper; and V1v, dated 1701; and 2F4v, dated 1708); Francis Penrose ((a)2v, undated; and as "Frank Penrose" on M2r, undated); Edward Penrose (F3r and 2F4v; undated); Margarett Penrose, James Lake, and Robert Olivier (all 2F4v, undated); John James Sampson (2E4v; undated). 
Although a number of my posts on early modern manuscript annotation characterize the practice as a serious affair, practiced by diligent scholars or readers deeply invested in their reading material, one can't ignore the frivolous act of doodling as one of the most common forms of book annotation. Children and bored students (both in the early modern and modern periods) frequently doodled in the blank leaves of their books, both as a form of writing practice ("pen trials") and no doubt to alleviate the boredom of tedious classroom lessons.

The subject of this post is the most copiously doodled book in our collection, a 1647 English translation of Guarini's Il Pastor Fido. The play is well known as one of the first tragicomedies ever written and its author's writings on the genre influenced a number of early seventeenth-century English playwrights. Beaumont and Fletcher's plays Philaster and The Faithful Shepherdess are both indebted to Guarini's experimentation with tragicomedy.

But this post isn't about tragicomedy, it's about doodling, copious doodling. This particular copy's title page and frontispiece (in addition to the blank recto of the frontispiece leaf) bear a complex layering of pen trials, drawings, tracings, signatures, and sums, stemming from the ownership of nine different people in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (many of them from the Penrose family).

 Let's begin with the frontispiece leaf:

recto of frontispiece leaf
Perhaps the most obvious items of note on this page are the amateurish drawings, one of which is clearly a tracing of the frontispiece on the other side of the leaf. Probably in imitation of the fairly decent tracing job, a second would-be artist (undoubtedly a child) has added a second rendition of Guarini's face, upon which a third illustrated figure leans. A number of pen trials and other forms of handwriting practice litter the page, including the strange, owl-like forms in the bottom left-hand corner, clearly intended to train writing students in the formation of specific pen strokes. The page also contains (in no particular order) sums, transcriptions of the book's title, an armorial drawing, the initials of Baptista Guarini, and a line from an unidentified text.

Of course the frontispiece itself supplied the image for the tracing, and in its margin another annotator has drawn a couple fairly accurate human heads.

detail of margin on frontispiece leaf: drawings of heads
The title page contains a number of different sorts of doodles, including many items seen on the reverse page (a transcription of the book's title and another armorial drawing, for instance). The amateur drawing also continues with several images of birds and wings, apparently drawn by the same person responsible for the human figure on the reverse side of the leaf. One of the title page annotators has copied "London" from the book's imprint, writing it in both English and Latin. Another has written a number of early capital "block" letters (several "B"s, and "E," and an "H").

title page
There are also plenty of signatures on the title page and elsewhere in the book, identifying a total of nine different owners or readers from various time periods. One of the most interesting ownership marks elects not to use the typical signature for self-identification, but instead the rebus, that strange admixture of words, letters, and images we usually associate with children's literature.

detail of ownership rebus

As part of the witty, playful, and sometimes secretive literary culture of the day, writers could adopt the rebus as a way not only to mask their identities, but also to playfully incorporate text and image into the presentation of their names. If you haven't already figured it out, this rebus reads "T [Pen] [Rose]," or Thomas Penrose, one of the many owners identified elsewhere in the book. The rebus incorporates the Tudor Rose into an interesting amalgam of local (the Penrose family) and national identity, and I suspect its form was passed down through the family for some time. The illustration of the pen drawing the rose, albeit clearly appropriate for someone named "Penrose," is also interesting in light of the many drawings and pen marks displayed in this book, since it depicts the very material processes responsible for the doodling. Along with my earlier post on children's annotation, this example clearly demonstrates a relationship between the book and reader based less on serious intellectual engagement than on casual and playful interaction with a material object.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Commonplacing and Binding Practices in a Sixteenth-Century Estienne Dictionary

This post (as well as several more to come in the near future) corresponds to the Center's rare book exhibit for Fall 2010, "The Living Library: Books and their Owners in Early Modern Europe." The exhibit highlights evidence for different reading and ownership practices in our collection of early printed books, including the prize inscription, the sammelband, provenance, and printed paratexts. If you're in the Amherst, MA area, feel free to stop by and see the exhibit, and if you can't I hope these posts capture the essence of the physical display.

Front hinge
Rear hinge

Upper cover

Lower Cover
Robert Estienne, Dictionarium nominum propriorum uirorum, mulierum, populorum, idolorum, urbium, fluuiorum, montium, caeterorumq[ue] locorum, quae passim apud melioris notae auctores leguntur : liber longè auctior, quàm is qui elucidarius poëticus uulgò inscribitur, ad intelligendos poëtas, oratores, ac historiographos non solùm utilis, uerùm etiam necessarius à multis quibus antea scatebat, uicijs repurgatus. [Cologne: Printed by Walter Fabritius, 1558]. 8vo. Contemporary blind-stamped full calf binding.

The scholar and printer Robert Estienne (1503-1559; Latin surname "Stephanus") prepared a number of important books during his career, including the Dictionarium latinogallicum (1552) and Dictionarium seu linguae latinae thesaurus (1531), in addition to landmark editions of the Hebrew Bible and Greek New Testament. This copy of his “Dictionary of Proper Names” (we also own a 1575 edition) survives fully intact in a remarkable contemporary binding; an early owner, almost certainly from England, bound the dictionary in modestly decorated calf leather, using two old manuscript scraps for the book’s endpapers.

Recto of front MS endpaper
Verse of front MS endpaper

Recto of rear MS endpaper
Verso of rear MS endpaper
Although the texts represented in the vellum scraps have yet to be identified, we can be relatively certain about their languages, scripts, and approximate dates (front endpaper: Latin, bastarda anglicana, c. xiii-xiv sec; rear endpaper: English and Latin, fifteenth-century English secretary hand). As is common with early books surviving in contemporary bindings, the dictionary’s endpapers bear ownership inscriptions, pen trials, and manuscript notes from several different owners.

Inscriptions on front endpaper
 The latest to leave a mark was “C. Aston 1847.” A “Francis Fisher” (writing in a late sixteenth or early seventeenth-century secretary hand) signs the book three different times, once with the Latin motto tu decus omne tuis (“you the sole glory of your kindred”). His relation Robert Fisher signed the book with a Latin inscription in the 1650s.

Title page inscriptions
Title page signatures record the names of “Ro: Gaton” and (in a sixteenth-century secretary hand) William Brabin (probably the earliest owner); according to the note, Brabin purchased the book for 2s 3d.

MS miscellany of commonplaces on endpaper, in the hand of William Brabin
He used the endpapers as a manuscript miscellany, recording Latin commonplaces from Plato, Erasmus (from Adagia III.ii.36), Ovid (Tristia IV.x.3-4), and Marc Antony, in addition to a recipe (containing urine and eggs) and the proverb tempura mutantur et nos mutamur ab illis (“times change and we change with them”). Here is a transcription (with some translations) of a few of the notes:


plato de xenocrate dixit venere dicendi carebat. idem de Iamblico dicatus. 


Kesos [in Greek] d[?]cn pictus cestus.2: cingulum veneris, efficax ad illectamentum gratiarum et Amorum, quo illa dicitur martem conciliare: Erasmus cestum habet veneris: [Adagia III.ii.36] /


Ovides de se Pelignae gentis gloria dicar ego / Sulmo [Sulmona] est metropolis pelignorum vnde ovidius Sulmo mihi patria est gelidis vberrimus vndis millia qui novies distat ab vrbe decens. [Ovid, Tristia IV.x.3-4: “Sulmo’s my native place, rich in icy streams, and ninety miles distant from the City.”]

Marcus Antony:

Marcus Antonius / Huius viri illud inprimis admirabile dicitur, quod in otio Luxuriosissimus in negotio Laboriosissimus fuit [listed as a commonplace in Calepinus Dictionarium, 1576]         

Last item:

tempura mutantur et nos mutamur ab illis [Times change and we change with them: possibly Lothair I of the Holy Roman Empire (795-855)]

another commonplace [duplication of Ovid passage], with pen trials
The owners used another rear endpaper chiefly for handwriting practice, as evinced by the scribbled red stars, numerous strokes for majuscule “E,” and the words “De Anima” in an amateurish italic hand. The Center also owns several books printed by the Estienne family, including Robert’s fourth edition of the vulgate Gospels (1545), Polydore Vergil’s De inuentoribus rerum (1529), and an edition of Erasmus’s Adagia (1558), in addition to his son Henry’s editions of Plato’s Opera omnia (1578) and Maximus of Tyre’s Dissertationes (1557).

Estienne printer's device, from Erasmus Adagia (1558)
Here is the "Scribd" digitized document of these images:

Estienne Dictionarium 1558