Friday, March 4, 2011

Customizing Camden I

As some of the period's best-selling works of English history, the printed books of the antiquary William Camden—most notably the multiple editions of Britannia (1586) and Remaines concerning Britaine (1605)—appeared in early modern bookshops with particular abundance, and have consequently survived in a relatively large number of extant copies. The Center owns fifteen copies of Camden's works printed between 1587 and 1751, including six copies of the Britannia and two each of the Remaines and Annales

Today's entry and a continuation next week highlight the numerous manuscript annotations and additions owners left behind to customize their copies of Camden's works. While the body of manuscript content found within these books is miscellaneous at best, by anchoring a study of these unique additions within the context of Camden's printed record certain patterns of use begin to emerge. Below I will discuss our two copies of Camden's Remaines and how readers augmented them with specific manuscript additions. 

William Camden, Remaines concerning Brittaine: but especially England, and the inhabitants thereof: their languages, names, syrnames, allusions, anagrammes, armories, moneys: empresses, apparell, artillerie, wise speeches, proverbs, poesies, epitaphs. London: Printed by A.I. for Symon Waterson, 1629.
[4], 9, 8-346 p. ; 19 cm. STC  4524
Renaissance Center copy is in modern half calf and brown cloth; signature "Ob: Ghossipp" on title page; some ms. annotations, including additional proverbs.

If Britannia contains the most important points of Camden's antiquarian research, the Remaines offers an overflow of information—mainly items of linguistic curiosity—collected during his extensive travels. As Wyman H. Herendeen summarizes, "[w]ith the first historically organized anthology of medieval poetry, a historical and comparative study of the English language, collections of names and their meanings, of (in the words of one of the chapter headings) ‘grave speeches, and wittie apothogemes,' and of epitaphs, it can be seen as a popular spin-off from its more expensive and serious historical mother lode, the Britannia" (ODNB). The Remaines is essentially a vast print miscellany structured around specific forms and genres, and this format may have invited readers to add their own epitaphs, poems, apothegems, proverbs, etc. 

The manuscript notes and additions in this copy (the fourth edition) were apparently written by the "Ob: Ghossipp" who signed the title page, a reader who sought to augment Camden's study of the English language with new apothegms, "wise speeches," and proverbs. In the (unfortunately cropped) marginal notes above, our annotator responds to Camden's discussion of English punning, especially the word "agnominations," which is underlined. A rough reconstruction of these notes reads "Nicknames [...] more [p]roperly [...] Sr John [...] defines [...] Allusion [...] one word [...] another [...] resemblance [...] sound." It seems that the annotator adds a gloss of "agnominations," buttressing Camden's work with personal knowledge. The second note "[..]hen heart, [ol]d fellow, Coward" refers to the underlined word "Niding," which the printed text defines as "base-minded, false-hearted, coward." Both annotations illuminate the philological study of curious English words.

The annotator's most notable textual interventions take the form of additional proverbs and "wise speeches" inscribed in the book's blank spaces. In the first image, our annotator adds an apothegm or "wise speech": "Captain Gamme at the Battell of Agincourt beinge / sent by the K[ing] to discouer the number of the enimies brought / him word there were ynough to be slaine, enow to be taken / prisoners and enow to runne away. Sr W.R." 
The additional proverbs include "agree like harpe and harrow; Dr Abb."; "Goe saith the King, stay saith the tide Sr W:R:"; and "many things fall betwixt the cup and the lipp." "Sr W:R:" is presumably Sir Walter Raleigh.

William Camden, Remaines concerning Britaine. London: Printed by Thomas Harper, for John Waterson, 1636. 
3 p., ℓ., 420, [2] p. :  front., (port.) illus. (coats of arms)  18 cm. STC 4525. 

The next edition of Remaines was published in 1636 by John Waterson, and introduced the engraved image of the author shown here. The title page bears two marks of provenance, the roughly contemporary looking initials "L.J." (or "E.J."), and an early nineteenth-century inscription that reads "Hen: A: Merewether Calne, Wilts[hire] Friday May 30th, 1806 / Nb This was one of my uncle's Books. & given to me by my Brother Francis." 

The front pastedown bears Merewether's (1780-1864) armorial bookplate, along with the inscription "John Wickins 1756" and a manuscript price of "2s." 

On the facing endpaper (probably in John Wickins' hand) is the "Saxon Alphabet," which was probably copied and slightly modified from the "Alphabetum Anglo-Saxiconicum" that accompanied printed copies of the Britannia, as shown below.

Like the annotator of the 1629 Remaines, here a former owner has augmented Camden's collection of verse and sayings with three manuscript epitaphs.

The second epitaph, on "Mr Fenton," was written by Alexander Pope, and also appears in BL Add. MS 28101, f. 115. I have been unable to locate the other two in the Folger-hosted Union First Line Index. 

Stay tuned next week for more "customized Camdens." 

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