26 Dec 2011
Martha Kearny follows Dr Paula Byrne, who believes she has come across a portrait of Jane Austen lost to the world for nearly two centuries, engaging with a range of literary scholars alongside art history experts and discussing
our idea of Austen, our desire to know more about her appearance and how this impacts upon her reputation and continued fascination with the author.
As Austen is a writer about whom surprisingly little is known, these kinds of new finds are rather intriguing—as much for the journey they inspire in delving through different kinds of materials in the archiving of literary figures, as for the uphill struggle in establishing (and potentially eventually disregarding) the authenticity of any new additions to a literary history.
I’m watching it now, but it will surely be up on IPlayer asap! The BBC page can be found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b018nz2x
8 Dec 2011
"Dense with ink, a spider web of crossings-out, rewritings and even text-speak, the manuscript of Charles Dickens's much-loved novel Great Expectations – which has been published in facsimile for the first time – offers a unique insight into the mind of the great novelist.
Dickens bound and gave his manuscript of Great Expectations to his friend Chauncy Hare Townshend, who bequeathed it to the Wisbech and Fenland Museum in 1868. Fragile and in its original binding, the 1861 manuscript has been at the museum ever since, available to view on the first Saturday of every month but otherwise kept in a safe. Now the museum has worked with Cambridge University Press to scan and reproduce the manuscript in book format for the first time.
It shows Dickens's terrible handwriting, how his lines sloped down to the right and how he would squeeze a few extra words into the space this left at the bottom of a page, and his notes on the times of the tides, crucial to Magwitch's capture at the end of the book.
[...] the last page of the manuscript reveals part of Dickens's original ending to the novel, in four lines crossed out by the author. Dickens was told to change his sad ending, in which Pip and Estella part forever, by his friend and fellow novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton.
"You can see the beginnings of the original ending," said Wright. "He's boxed it and crossed through it with vertical lines, confirming that a different version of the ending was written. What we don't know, however, is what happened to the remainder of the manuscript with that different ending."
The manuscript also shows the final sentence of the novel to have been, originally, "I saw the shadow of no parting from her but one". When the story was published in 1861 in the periodical All The Year Round, the two final words had been cut."
For the full story see - http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/dec/08/dickens-manuscript-great-expectations?CMP=twt_fd
1 Dec 2011
17 Nov 2011
16 Nov 2011
11 Nov 2011
What she find most noticeable about the poems she discovered is that they aren't the angry war poems one might expect from Sassoon, but rather glorify war at points.
Professor Sheffield argues against the dominant view that First World War poets presented of the war and Dr Moorcroft Wilson argues in counter to this.
8 Nov 2011
The event will feature a talk by the artist Arnold Dreyblatt, entitled ‘From the Archives: Installation and Performance 1990-2011’.
Arnold Dreyblatt (b. New York City, 1953) is an American media artist and composer. He has been based in Berlin, Germany since 1984. In 2007, Dreyblatt was elected to lifetime membership in the German Academy of Art (Akademie der Künste, Berlin). He is Professor for Media Art at the Muthesius Academy of Art and Design in Kiel, Germany.
Dreyblatt's visual work creates complex textual and spatial visualizations for memory. His works, which reflect on such themes as recollection and the archive, include permanent works, digital room projections, dynamic textual objects and muti-layered lenticular text panels. His work been exhibited and staged in galleries, museums and public spaces such as the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum for Contemporary Art, Berlin; The Jewish Museum in New York; the Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Vienna and the Akademie der Künste, Berlin. Permanent public art works are on display at the HL Holocaust Center in Oslo and the Jewish Museum in Berlin. He has received numerous commissions and awards including the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts and the Förderpreis der Akademie der Künste.
Dreyblatt will be speaking about his work from 1990 – 2011. He will take the audience through his processes and include still and moving image documentation.
The talk is free, but booking is essential, and can be made here: http://www.arnolddreyblattlecture.eventbrite.com/
6 Nov 2011
Reading the above article I noticed this paragraph:
"If they could have done anything differently, I ask, what would they change? "We'd archive," says Hack, immediately. "There were these Jake and Dinos Chapman sculptures that they made for one of our events. They all got trashed, of course. No one knew to give a shit. And when Radiohead debuted OK Computer for us nobody thought to record it – there were no smartphones then, nobody took cameras into clubs. Everything felt very … temporary.""
27 Oct 2011
"The text is written in silver and gold, with gilt initials and line endings composed of chartreuse panels enlivened with yellow filigree. Gold foliage on a monochromatic blue background makes up the borders. The miniatures are executed in a restricted palette of blue, old rose, and light flesh tones, with dashes of green, gray, and white. The solid black background is utilized to great advantage, especially by means of gold highlighting."
Unfortunately the very thing which makes the manuscript so unusual is difficult to preserve:
"The black of its vellum—the very thing that makes the codex so striking—is also the cause of some serious flaking. The carbon used in the black renders the surface of the vellum smooth and shiny—a handsome but less than ideal supporting surface for some of the pigments. The Morgan's Black Hours is awaiting conservation treatment. In the meantime, we are pleased to offer a virtual facsimile."
Manucript - http://www.themorgan.org/collections/works/BlackHours/manuscript.asp
20 Oct 2011
11 Oct 2011
The blog post is a summary of the issues discusses at 'Library Camp UK'.
Here is - the blog post
3 Oct 2011
This kind of argument draws on the idea of the perfect, completed text as was intended by the author-god of that textual world. This calls into question the place of archival materials in scholarship at all, if Peter Stanford is unsure about making unpublished 'completed texts' available, then it would follow that the use of manuscript drafts (especially of a work with a final published version) is entirely put of the question. Giving the shade of the author final control over what they intended to be published must also exclude volumes of letters and journals being published. And so on.
As an example of poor literary executors Stanford uses Max Brod, who is responsible for the crime of not destroying Kafka's manuscripts. This is perhaps a poor choice of example as Stanford does acknowledge that Brod's actions mean that we have texts that are "now regarded as classics of 20th-century literature". He finds, however, that preserving a literary heritage is secondary to the "thrill" of rooting through papers and the money to which this can lead.
The legal tangles aside, Stanford's article betrays interesting sentimental attachment to the idea of the perfect, published text intended by its author. The stability of this idea is is being constantly challenged by the use of draft material in scholarship. Whilst there certainly is money to be made in lost works and archives, these works are important to scholarship despite, or even because of, their unfinished nature.
27 Sep 2011
The 1923 silent feature titled The White Shadow was found in a garden shed after being lost for some 80 years. The film represents the earliest known feature from the infamous British director of such film history classics as Vertigo, Psycho and early features Sabotage and The Lodger.
The print was found in a garden shed in Hastings, part of a collection assembled by film fanatic Jack Murtagh. Peter Jackson's Park Road studio worked on the degraded reels, making a new print to enable the film to be screened at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Samuel Goldwyn Theatre last week.
The Telegraph’s coverage of the find can be found here.
The website records the initial discovery of the scrolls:
"The first seven Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by chance in 1947 by Bedouin of the Ta'amra tribe, in a cave (later given the name "Cave 1") near Khirbet Qumran on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea. Three of the scrolls were immediately purchased by archaeologist Eliezer Lipa Sukenik on behalf of the Hebrew University; the others were bought by the Metropolitan of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem, Mar Athanasius Samuel. In 1948 Samuel smuggled the four scrolls in his possession to the United States; it was only in 1954 that Sukenik's son, Yigael Yadin, also an archaeologist, was able to return them to Israel, and they were ultimately entrusted to the Shrine of the Book Foundation. They have been on display in the Shrine of the Book at The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, since 1965.
Over the next few years, from 1949 to 1956, additional fragments of some 950 different scrolls were discovered in ten nearby caves, both by Bedouins and by a joint archaeological expedition of the École Biblique et Archéologique Française and the Rockefeller Museum, under the direction of Professor Father Roland de Vaux. The richest yield, from Cave 4, just opposite the site of Qumran, consisted of some 15,000 fragments. The last cave, Cave 11, was discovered in 1956, and the scrolls found there were in a reasonable state of preservation. Since then, only a few small scraps of parchment have been found in the Judean Desert (though not in the close vicinity of Qumran)."
As the Official Google Blog explains, the digitization allows you to click on the Hebrew text and see an English translation (see below) and that:
19 Sep 2011
For a limited time Alice's Adventures Underground - Lewis Carroll's notebook is available free!
Sample of page from Blake's notebook
Sample Page from Lewis Carroll's notebook
30 Aug 2011
The British Film Institute have recently completed a new Master Film Store at a cost of £12m, built to house more than 45,000 cans of British film and preserve a national cinematic legacy. The facility in Warwickshire employs state of the art technology to ensure the longevity of its fragile treasures. Old film stock is notoriously difficult to store safely, likely to disintegrate entirely under the wrong conditions or combust due the highly flammable nature of the nitrate stock of much early film. The expansive new facilities of the Master Film Store offer a safer environment for these fragile materials.
The new facility presents an alternative to archival digitization projects, which, whilst helping to retain the content of older materials on the point of deterioration, is both an expensive and time consuming process, limiting the selection of films to be restored. As an alternative to the long-practiced approach of format conversion, the new facility presents a more cost-effective method, allowing the original material to be accessed safely.
The preservation project seeks to protect national film heritage in the manner of other decorative arts, raising awareness of Britain’s role in the development of global film culture and forming part of a £25m strategy for Screen Heritage UK (SHUK). The strategy represents the largest award ever given to an archival project. SHUK will allow people to search online catalogues of national and regional archives and access a number of films online. The project will launch early next month; further details of the SHUK strategy can be found here.
An interesting little film of BFI Head of Collections and Information, Ruth Kelly, showing BBC News around the old starage facility can also be found here. Kelly shows the old and new facilities, and offers examples of deteriorated film and the problems faced in storage and control.
23 Aug 2011
A full article on the archive and some of its bizarre (and frankly extremely off-putting sounding) entries can be found here News.scotsman.com. The archivists spearheading the project make the point that it’s not so much the recipes they’ve searched for as the stories these recipes tell—one such illuminating example is a rice pudding recipe written in code in a letter from a Scottish soldier in India in 1808. The recipe is used as a practice exercise for his encryption skills. Not exactly poetry, but interesting nonetheless! Plus, who doesn’t like rice pudding.
The SCA website can be found here, with an awareness campaign for the Edible collection.
I’ll end with a ‘delicious’ sounding example from the collection for the baking of Locust Bread, taken from the archive of Mount Stuart in Bute, which was brought back to the island by the 4th Marquess of Bute following a trip to Tangiers…get baking.
KHUBZ EL JARADE
The best way to catch locusts is to repair to the nearest wall, the higher the better. Here, if the season be propitious, numbers of these insects will be found flying with such force against the wall that many will fall senseless to the ground.
Of those that fall, pick up the females - they are somewhat larger and rather lighter in colour. Pull off the head as the head is pulled off a shrimp. Then squeeze the body and there will exude the eggs, like dark and diminutive caviare, to the amount of nearly a teaspoonful from each animal. When half a kilo of this spawn has been obtained in a small basin, mix with half a kilo of flour and bake into small loaves.
Be careful not to let an opportunity pass to make this dish, as these little beasts make their visitation to the North of Morocco, at least, every nine years only. The last swarm occurred in Tangier in AD 1947.
14 Aug 2011
10 Aug 2011
Despite negative commentary from scholars and historians on the handling of these materials (outlined in greater detail in this Telegraph online article), an archives spokesman said missing files amounted to 0.01 per cent of the collection. There is also an ongoing programme in place to search for lost items.
Many missing items relate to key moments in British history. Here’s hoping it’s an unfortunate but temporary misplacement...