Friday, February 25, 2011

William Ringler Annotates Sidney

[Various editions of Sir Philip Sidney's poetry and prose, annotated by William A. Ringler Jr., editor of the landmark Poems of Sir Philip Sidney (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1962), including:

The Complete Poems of Sir Philip Sidney, ed. Alexander B. Grosart (London, 1877)

Astrophel and Stella, ed. A.W. Pollard (London, 1888)

The Last Part of the Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia, Astrophel & Stella and other Poems, The Lady of May, ed. Albert Feuillerat (Cambridge, 1922)

Astrophel and Stella, ed. Mona Wilson (London, 1931)
Astrophel et Stella, ed. Michel Poirier (Paris, 1957)

Not all of our rare books are all that old. Our interesting collection of books annotated by twentieth-century Renaissance scholars—including those donated by Samuel Schoenbaum and the historian J.H. Hexter—are absolutely unique, one-of-a-kind items, many of which reveal the genesis of important scholarly work; for example (and I will probably blog about this one day), we own Samuel Schoenbaum's copiously annotated copy of Alfred Harbage's Annals of English Drama, a book updated by Schoenbaum in a revised edition of 1966.

In today's entry I discuss our most important collection of books annotated by a famous scholar, the editions of Sir Philip Sidney's poetry formerly owned by William A. Ringler, Jr. These books are important not only because the extensive annotations help us understand how Ringler thought and worked, but also because he used these books to prepare and establish the texts of Sidney's poetry for his 1962 edition. For the rest of this entry I will investigate the case of Sidney's famous sonnet sequence Astrophel and Stella, with an eye towards understanding how Ringler used book-annotation to prepare his edition.

According to his textual notes on Astrophel and Stella in the Clarendon Poems (457), Ringler checked six different modern editions in the process of preparing his new text: Grosart (1873), Pollard (1888), Flügel (1889), Feuillerat (1922), Wilson (1930) and Poirier (1957). We own Ringler's annotated copies of all these books save the Flügel. The books contain a range of manuscript annotations, almost all of which are directly related to the textual history of Astrophel and Stella. For some of these Ringler used a system of color-coded annotations (referenced in the image above) to record variant readings in different textual witnesses. The abbreviations seen in these books ("13" "98") are the same he uses in the Poems.

Title Page to Grosart's edition (1877)
Grosart based his text on the 1613 quarto, even though he claims he used the more accurate 1598 in his introduction (Ringler 457). At the bottom of this page, Ringler notes "spelling indicates G really makes 1613 his copy text." The rubricated "red='98" at the top of the page, along with the rubricated corrections, demonstrate Ringler adding variants from the 1598 folio edition of Arcadia, which he describes as "the obvious choice for a copy text" (456). This is one of the more lightly annotated of Ringler's books.

Upper cover, Pollard's edition (1888)
Title Page, Pollard's edition (1888)
A.W. Pollard, on the other hand, produced "the most conservative and also the best of all the earlier editions" (Ringler 457), partially evinced by the copy's minimal amount of manuscript annotation. To aspects of Pollard's introduction, however, Ringler took exception, especially on several points of Sidney's biography. The four "no"s penciled in the margins (see image above) react to various inaccuracies related the Battle of Zutphen (1586), the event at which Sidney was mortally wounded.
Title page, Feuillerat's edition (1922)
MS notes from Ringler's copy of Feuillerat

If Pollard prepared the best text of the "earlier editions," Albert Feuillerat may have produced the worst. Apparently Feuillerat followed his immediate predecessor (Flügel 1889) in making very poor editorial decisions. Ringler summarizes the situation: "Flügel provided an unhappily inaccurate reprint of Q1, which he wrongly assumed represented the earliest state of Sidney's text...In 1922 Feuillerat, unfortunately following Flügel's mistaken notion of the textual relationships, printed a diplomatic transcript of Q1 with appended variant readings from Bt, Q2, 98, and all subsequent folios, but he provided no analysis of the significance of his variants" (457).

As one can see from the images, Ringler's copy of Feuillerat is the most copiously annotated book from his collection of Astrophel and Stella editions. According to the manuscript note above (last image; taken from page facing the beginning of Astrophel and Stella), "Feuillerat's text is from the Newman quarto (1591) [Q1], the worst possible text of A+S—best basis is 1598 quarto" (I think he means the 1598 folio here, but he could refer to Q3 of A & S, printed [1597-1600]). It is interesting to compare the content and tenor of this MS note to the section quoted above from the 1962 Poems (both of which serve similar evaluative functions); words like "unhappily" and "unfortunately" come off slightly less harsh than the MS "worst possible text."

According to Ringler's color-coded key, the annotations record corrections from Q1 (Feuillerat's copy-text), and variants from Q2, Q3, and "Bt," or, the "Bright Manuscript" (British Library MS Add. 15232). Ringler clearly used his copy of Feuillerat's edition to death, considering the poor state of the binding (see below). 

Mona Wilson's 1930 edition is "based on 98, with 53 emendations from Q1 and Q2" (Ringler 457). Although she wrote a "useful" introduction, Ringler doesn't approve of her "eclectic" method, "her text [being] less close to Sidney's original than Pollard's" (ibid).

This time without using his typical color-coded system, Ringler notes a number of textual variants in his manuscript marginalia.

Finally, our least annotated but perhaps most personal of Ringler's Astrophel and Stella copies is the French edition prepared in 1957 by Michel Poirier, whose gift inscription to Ringler appears on the half-title.

"To Professor William A. Ringler, with all my best wishes for the completion of his own edition of Sidney's poems. Michel Poirier. December 1957"—a pleasant sentiment, from one Sidney editor to another.

The intellectual labor Ringler invested into these manuscript notes translated directly into his most enduring scholarly work,  the monumental Poems of Sir Philip Sidney. This edition offers an admirable model for any serious editor, and to this day—nearly fifty years after its publication—it remains the standard text of Sidney's poems.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Shakespeare Boiled Down (1890)

Shakespeare Boiled Down (Chicago: New Home Sewing Machine Co., c. 1890)
31, [1] p. : ill. ; 20 cm.

Shakespeare sold sewing machines—well, at least in 1890s-era Chicago. Issued by the New Home Sewing Machine Company, this rare piece of printed ephemera presents "Shakespeare Boiled Down," i.e. a collection of short, typically single page plot summaries of his plays. 

 According to the introduction (above), "the intention of this work is to present the reader a clear and concise description of the different plots and characters of all of William Shakespeare's plays." We are told that "great care has been exercised in the wording, so that both young and old can read understandingly." From the introduction it is clear these plot summaries are not intended for first-time readers of the plays, but instead for "those who wish to refresh their memory before witnessing the presentation of any of the plays," i.e. before seeing a theatrical production of Shakespeare. 

The summaries themselves are relatively standard accounts of the plays, yet in some cases key omissions reflect the day's sense of literary decorum and good taste. The summary of Titus Andronicus, for example, fails to mention any of the play's acts of atrocious violence: Lavinia is "seized," heads and hands are not chopped off, and no mention is made of the decapitated-head pastries Titus serves Saturninus and Tamora. When the summary mentions Act Five's grisly banquet, it only refers to Titus's curious chef's garb: "to humor a fad Titus dressed up as a cook." According to the summary, Lucius (here named "Mertius" for some reason—probably a nineteenth-century performance practice) at the end of the play "was crowned king, and lived to commit many acts of charity." Clearly this statement ignores his violent executions of Aaron and Tamora. Aaron, his child, and his affair with Tamora are strikingly absent. 

There are a few cheap woodcut illustrations of scenes, these from Julius Caesar and Taming of the Shrew. The Julius Caesar summary includes Antony's famous speech ("Friends, Romans, Countrymen") in its entirety.

This small and cheaply printed booklet sold for "15 cents," and in some cases—as with the 1893 reprint associated with the World's Fair—it was given away for free. The book was cheaply made, of course, not because the New Home Sewing Machine Company wanted its customers to have an affordable collection of Shakespearean plot summaries, but because they wanted to advertise their products.  

At the bottom of this page—from the last of the Shakespearean plot summaries—the reader is told "the NEW HOME advertisement occupies the balance of this book. You have permission to read on if you choose." 


These ads comprise the pamphlet's final four pages, marketing not only the "best sewing machine money can buy" (the company "challenge[s] the world to produce a better $20 dollar machine for 20 dollars ... than you can buy from one of our agents"), but also the "drop cabinet no. 9" and the "folding case no. 19," billed as "the very latest...something entirely new." Apparently New Home offers "the only Sewing Machine with a Perfect Double Feed." In the second-to-last image the ad informs customers that the company will send a copy of "Shakespeare Boiled Down" for the price of a 2 cent stamp. The pamphlet's lower cover (the last image seen here) bears the stamp of "Geo. A. Hicks Agent Mt. Pleasant, Mich," presumably the man charged with distributing these booklets and selling sewing machines. 

The image of Shakespeare "boiled down" is just delightful. 

Here is the complete digital version of the full text, brought to you via Scribd:

Shakespeare Boiled Down                                                            

Friday, February 11, 2011

Copy of Allestree's The Ladies Calling with MS poem "On New years day"

Richard Allestree, The Ladies Calling in two Parts, by the author of the Whole duty of man, &c. Oxford: Printed at the Theater, [1705]
[24], 270, [2] p., [1] leaf of plates : ill. ; 20 cm. (8vo). 

Renaissance Center copy is in contemporary red paneled morocco (frontispiece lacking; water stains to lower inner portion of pages throughout; leaf 2L4 pasted to rear free endpaper); in phase box; engraved bookplate of Elma Palmer (printed in brown) on front pastedown; signature "Anne Fonnereau Her Book Feb 23d 1755/34" in ink on front flyleaf; signature "Phebe Fonnereau" in pencil on verso of front free endpaper; signature (partly erased) "[---?] Oliver" in ink on verso of front free endpaper; price, not clearly associated with any name, "Pret: 0:2:0" on verso of front free endpaper; ms. poem "On New Year’s Day," mounted on front flyleaf.

This item offers a great example of how early modern readers customized their personal copies of books with unique manuscript content. Two ownership inscriptions link the book to female members of the Fonnereau family in the mid-eighteenth century. 

It seems likely that this is the Anne Fonnereau (nèe Banbury, d. 1782)  who married Claudius Fonnereau (d. 1785) in 1728; together they had  thirteen children, including Phebe, who was born on December 29, 1747. Anne and Claudius had a daughter Ann, but since she was born in 1731, I doubt it is she who left the inscription. It is also possible this is Anne Fonnereau, ("my father's wife" in Claudius's words), who he describes as a "Grand Mother" in 1738. This information comes from MS records in a bible related to the Fonnereau family; its contents are transcribed in Joseph Jackson Howard, ed., Miscellanea genealogica et heraldica, Second series, volume 5 (1894), 281-3.

The manuscript poem affixed opposite the title page, entitled "On New years day," seems to suggest the book was presented as a New Year's gift; the genre of the New Year's gift poem was quite commonplace and fashionable at this time, and the book's beautiful red goatskin binding suggests it may be a presentation copy. 

But the content of the poem itself does not focus on the act of giving, nor does its speaker (presumably the gift-giver) mention a gift-recipient.

On New years day

Another year, my soul, is past
This I’ve begun may be my last
Think then O think my soul how soon
Wether, in Morning, Night or, Noon,
The solemn howr of death you hear
That call so awful met with fear
Will seal the sentence from that voice
At which the Righteous will rejoice
With fervent prayer May I receive
The blessings Christ alone can give
Jesus. to Thee I humbly bow
From whom the gift I crave must flow
That Saving Name Which Thou didst take
This Day for Man’s eternal sake
O: Let it be to me in heart
That Life Which Thou can well impart
From this day Make me live to Thee
O Holy blessed Trinity
And never more abuse Thy dove
But fix my heart on things above
Renounce the world & every sin
Have life & holiness Within
For Mercies great [?] on Every day
My grateful Praises constant pay.

Rather, the poem is intensely personal and devotional in nature, seemingly written by an older person who feels closer to death with each passing year ("This I've begun may be my last"). The images evoke a close personal and spiritual relationship between the speaker and Christ that is built upon prayer, meditation, and divine blessings.

I am fairly certain the poem is in the hand of Anne Fonnereau, who left her inscription on an endpaper, although the subject matter of the poem suggests the poet may be the "Grand Mother" Anne Fonnereau, who would have been an old woman at this time. 

I have been unable to identify the Elma Palmer whose wreath-and-ribbon style bookplate is displayed on the book's front pastedown. I suspect that the manuscript price (pret: 0-2-0, or 2 shillings) found on one of the endpapers refers to the book's second-hand value.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hollar etchings for Ashmole's book on the Order of the Garter

title page

Bookplate of Clements R. Markham, with notes

Elias Ashmole, The Institution, laws & ceremonies of the most noble Order of the Garter. London, 1672

Renaissance Center copy is in modern half brown morocco and brown cloth; license-to-print and errata leaves wanting (supplied in facsimile); errata list also supplied in ms.; armorial bookplate of Clements R. Markham on front pastedown; mounted on front pastedown is a ms. note (perhaps extracted from a list of bequests?): "Fellowes. To Lilian Mrs. Fellowes daughter of my dear old messmate and friend Sir Vesey Hamilton. 1. Ashmoles Knights of the Garter [i.e. this work; followed by two other titles, both by W.H. St. John Hope]"; the note is likely by Markham, as both Hamilton and Markham served in HMS Assistance (DNB); laid in is a small sheet headed: "Some errors in the engraved coats-of-arms [at p. 708 ff.] noted by Reginald Courtenay in Feb. 1928.

Thus far I have used these blog entries to write about items absolutely unique to the Renaissance Center's collection, that is, books with manuscript material, identifiable provenance, or one-of-a-kind bindings. But today's entry centers on a printed book, one that is not unique to our collection, yet one that because of its remarkable qualities nevertheless deserves our attention. Its illustrations particularly deserve our attention (and reproduction through digital imagery), for they are some of the most beautiful plates ever produced by the etcher Winceslaus Hollar.

The book is Elias Ashmole's The Institution, laws & ceremonies of the most noble Order of the Garter, an impressive folio volume that describes its subject in over seven-hundred pages of carefully prepared antiquarian detail. Elias Ashmole was known variously as an astrologer, alchemist, and antiquarian, and in this latter capacity helped catalog the curiosity cabinet owned by the Tradescant family of Lambeth, a collection that would form the cornerstone of Oxford University's Ashmolean Museum. A staunch Royalist, Ashmole conceived of The Institution in the 1650s, a time when he feared that the long-standing and prestigious Order of the Garter (the founding of which is most commonly attributed to King Edward III) would slip into oblivion. The Order the Garter is Britain's most exclusive chivalric order, the members consisting solely of the monarch, Prince of Wales, and no more than twenty-four other noblemen. Ashmole intended his book as a "formulary" for the various practices and customs associated with the Order, and he hoped the extensive antiquarian and heraldic research he poured into the book would preserve those customs for posterity. 

If the idea for the book began in the 1650s as a way to sustain Royalist and elite English culture in the absence of monarchical government, the book's post-Restoration publication in 1672 coincided with a reestablishment of the king's power and the Order itself, that "quintessentially Royalist cult" as Michael Hunt describes it (DNB). It may come as no surprise, then, that the book begins with a full-page engraving of Charles II  (signed by William Sherman).

To round out the Institution's information about the Order's customs and ceremonies, the etcher Winceslaus Hollar was commissioned to create dozens of illustrative plates. These etchings are  beautifully executed and amazingly detailed in their depiction of various buildings, material objects, and ceremonies related to the Order of the Garter. Even the book's historiated initials are beautifully illustrated, as seen in the images below (depicting St. George and the dragon, a symbol vital to the Order's iconography). 

Hollar was well known for his etchings of buildings and churches, especially his ability to represent even the minutest of architectural details. The following images of St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle—some of which appear in the book as folding plates—will give you a sense for Hollar's skill in this regard.

These images are also interesting because they depict a newly restored St. George's Chapel, a building which had suffered much damage at the hand of Parliamentary armies during the Civil War.  While these images depict a empty space others outline the various processions and ceremonies the Order would perform within such spaces. The fourth image's depiction of wall tapestries in St. George's Hall is truly stunning in its detail.

detail of previous image

Many of Hollar's plates illustrate the variety of material objects—most of them ornately decorated—that the Order of the Garter used in its elaborate ceremonies. The first image depicts objects worn by all Order members, such as the garter, collar, hood, surcoat, and feathered cap, as well as the "sovereign's mantle" worn only by the monarch.

This next image shows "the ancient habits and ensigns assigned to the Officers of the Order" juxtaposed against "the present habits, ensigns, and badges" of those same officers. The following images depict other badges worn by members of the Order.

Two other objects associated with the Order's ceremonies include the "bag of the seal of the Garter" and the "book of the seal of the Garter," both of which are shown below.

Finally, the book's plates also depict scenes related to European monarchs and their "investiture" into the Order of the Garter, as part of a chapter on "the investiture of strangers." The plate below shows "the manner of sitting at dinner" performed by Maximilian II (of the Holy Roman Empire) and King Ferdinand II of Spain during their feasts of investiture. 

Probably my favorite image in the whole book also comes from this chapter. During the investiture of Charles XI of Sweden in 1668 (at Stockholm), his court put on an elaborate fireworks display to celebrate the conferment of this signal honor. Etchings of fireworks are simply beautiful, and this plate is no exception. There is something about the contrast between the light of fire and darkness of night that I find so striking in these images. As such, this delicate composition between light and dark is easily lost in poor photographic reproductions; the EEBO image of William Marshall's brilliant engraving of Egyptian fireworks in George Sandys' A Relation of  Journey (1615) is a prime example. Here are Hollar's etchings of the Swedish fireworks:


To accompany the etching we have Ashmole's detailed description, which outlines the elaborate fire- and water-works shown in the image:

"The Fire-works above mentioned, which the King of Sweden caused to be prepared, to close the Solemnity of his Investiture, and manifest to the world his great satisfaction in the honor received, were ordered in the following manner. In the middle of the work was erected a great Pillar 52 foot high, on the top of which was placed a gilt Crown; 18 foot below the Crown were the initial Letters of the Soveraign's and King of Swedens Christian Names, set breast to breast: and below at the Foot were placed several Military Colours, both of Horse and Foot, filled with Fire-works. This Pillar stood in the middle of four antique Trophies, filled with Fire, and upon each side of the Pillar, 40 foot distance from it, was placed St. George on Horseback, having the Dragon under his Feet, of 24 foot in length, and 28 in heighth, and on each side of St. George two Pyramids of 36 foot high. In several places of the Work were set great Wind-Pipes, filled with Water, for playing of Water-Balls, and round the Work about 2000 Musket-Pipes, 60 together in a Frame, with 72 Chests in and about the Work, full of Rackets 12 foot high, besides 28 Chests with Swarmers in the Earth, 2 foot high; and above 1000 Pattroles fired by Degrees, which flying high threw from them all sorts of Figures of Fire. Lastly, at each corner a Fire Murser, which threw up all sorts of pleasant Fire-Balls, and in their breaking presented several figures" (423-4).

Hollar etched another image of fireworks based on a display he saw in Hemissem, Belgium, which you can see at the University of Toronto's spectacular digital collection of Hollar etchings. 

I hope that the images I've provided above do justice to this beautiful book, yet I still encourage you to see it in person if you can, for it is truly a remarkable piece of craftsmanship, not only in its marshaling of a vast body of antiquarian knowledge, but also in its composition as a material book.