22 Apr 2014

Shakespeare Lecture at Exeter Cathedral

Exeter's Professor Philip Schwyzer will be giving a public lecture tomorrow at Exeter Cathedral.
Prof. Schwyzer (Lecturer in Renaissance Literature and Culture) will be talking about Shakespeare and the folio editions. The lecture is being held with Exeter Cathedral Library & Archives, and the Library’s Second Folio edition will be on display. 

For full details, follow this link to the Cathedral's website.

31 Mar 2014

Recovering 'The First War Poet': new Ivor Gurney documentary

Exeter's Professor Tim Kendall is presenting a new documentary airing on BBC4 this week focusing on the life and work of WWI poet and composer Ivor Gurney. Professor Kendall and Philip Lancaster have been working with the Gurney archive to bring his writing-- both poetic and musical -- to greater public attention.
The documentary sheds vital new light on a forgotten figure who considered himself to be the 'first war poet', overlooked in the history of war writing before now.

Gloucestershire born Gurney studied at the Royal College of Music, fought at the front and suffered mental health problems across his life -- leading to his incarceration in an asylum for 15 years, where he continued to write and compose. Having survived a bullet wound to the shoulder, gas and shell shock, Gurney was committed to the Dartford asylum in 1922, and died of tuberculosis in 1937 at the age of 47, leaving a substantial body of unpublished and unperformed work.

For full details, see the BBC webpages.

19 Sept 2013

A collection of responses to #AskACurator day

The brilliant #AskACurator day was held on Twitter yesterday. Various institutions have collected, blogged, storified their responses, so I have listed them here for your ease! Just click on the links below. Let me know if I've missed any collections @CarrieRSmith and I'll add them to the set!

The Smithsonian 

9/11 Memorial Museum

The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington 

Palazzo Madama

Royal Ontario Museum

Museum of London

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Museo Diocesano

The site Hyperallergic collected a list of interesting questions across the hashtag - "from the very important and serious to the downright hilarious"

See also our post on #AskArchivists Day

13 Sept 2013

‘Sourcing the Archive: new approaches to materialising textile history’ Conference

Thanks to @KathrynHannan who alerted us to what looks like a really interesting conference! Details below.

Pasold Conference, 7-8 November 2013 & 11th January 2014

‘Sourcing the Archive: new approaches to materialising textile history’ 

Registration open.

Keynote speakers:
Professor Carolyn Steedman, University of Warwick
Dr Solveigh Goett, Textile Artist and Researcher
(January speaker tba)
Extra conference date, 11 January 2014

The 2013 Pasold Conference, jointly organised by Goldsmiths Department of History and the Goldsmiths Textile Collection will explore how tacit knowledge of material and affective relationships  can be traced through the words we think with (Lakoff & Johnson 1999, 2003) with a view to asking: how can  our engagement with textile sources extend our knowledge of the past?  What can textiles communicate that other sources cannot? Building on a range of recent events which encourage engagement with the materiality of textiles, textile archives and/or the relationship between textiles and other historical sources the Conference will seek to identify textiles’ unique contribution to the advancement of historical understanding and practices.
The Conference will include an exhibition in the Constance Howard Gallery and a display, and optional handling session, of material from the Goldsmiths’ Textile Collection, ‘an eclectic, international treasure trove of textiles’.
We are delighted to announce that the call for papers produced such an abundance of exciting proposals that we have arranged a second stage of the Conference, with support from Goldsmiths Department of Design, on January 11 2014. ‘Fashioning the Archive: new approaches to materialising textile history’ will build on the November sessions, addressing the same questions but with an emphasis – though not an exclusive focus – on dress-related papers. Details are yet to be finalised, but confirmed speakers are listed with the November programme. There will be a further accompanying exhibition and opportunity to access the Goldsmiths’ Textile Collection. Day rates are available for both stages of the Conference, but there is a January fee waiver for those registering for both November dates.
For all enquiries, please email Vivienne Richmond at: v.richmond(@gold.ac.uk).

12 Sept 2013

Archives and White Gloves Myth

After The Great British Bake off featured The John Rylands Library of the University of Manchester, the inevitable tweets about white gloves appeared:

The answer is, no! The standard Google images of people handling manuscripts don't help either

So, I was pleased to see the University of Reading's clear, informative post on the subject - here

And the National Archives blog post - here

You can also watch a video from the British Library on how best to handle manuscripts without white gloves - here

Fran Baker, one of our contributors to The Boundaries of the Literary Archive collection works at The John Ryland's Library. Fran's chapter discusses Dickens' editorial influence on the manuscripts of Elizabeth Gaskell which can be found at the library. Fran's posts for the John Ryland's Library blog can be found - here

10 Sept 2013

Emily Dickinson's Music Book Digitised

Emily Dickinson's music book has been digitised by Harvard and can be accessed - here

The full brilliant post by the Houghton Library Blog on the history of music books and this one in particular can be found - here

"Music books or “binders’ volumes” were extremely popular during the years 1830-1870. These personal collections of bound published sheet-music titles were assembled by young women primarily during their adolescent years, when musical training and accomplishment was sought after as a reflection of cultural refinement and gentility.

The average binder’s volume contains 35 to 45 pieces of music. At just over 100 pieces, Emily Dickinson’s music book is uncommonly large. The book’s content tells us a great deal about her musical interests. Most binders from the period contain a majority of vocal music and only some instrumental numbers. In contrast, eighty percent of the Dickinson book is devoted to instrumental music, indicating Emily’s keen engagement in the piano repertoire of her day.

While the music book contains a majority of popular waltzes, marches, quicksteps, theme and variations, and instrumental operatic arrangements, many of considerable difficulty, there are also notable groupings of traditional Irish and Scottish dance tunes and ballads, political songs, and in particular, minstrel music which are rare in binders’ volumes."

Emily Dickinson's Electronic archive can be found - here

A call for papers for on Emily Dickinson’s Reading Culture - here

Poetry Foundation's page on Emily Dickinson - here

“Hope” is the thing with feathers - (314)

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.

28 Aug 2013

New publication: The Boundaries of the Literary Archive

Carrie and I are very pleased to say that our edited collection The Boundaries of the Literary Archive is now in print and available to purchase!

The book can be found here on the Ashgate website, and here on Amazon.

The flyer for the book with full details can found below.

Lantern Archive Opens 800,000 Pages of Digital Content

A great new resource for anyone in the film and media history field -- the Lantern Archive, a new digital repository  for media history resources -- has gone live as part of the Media History Digital Library.

This new searchable archive gives access to some 800,000 pages of content that span film, television and broadcasting history, encompassing a vast number of film periodicals and magazines (if you're interested in knowing more about how these were used by audiences in the silent period, take a look at my chapter on 'Letter Writing, Cinemagoing and Archive Ephemera' in myself and Carrie's new edited collection The Boundaries of the Literary Archive -- out now!).

The project represents a collaboration with the University of Wisconsin, whose collections of film periodicals are now text-searchable online -- a huge benefit to any researcher who has had experience of trawling page-by-page through these materials on microfiche looking for that elusive mention on one particular film or one particular star... even better, you can download images and texts.

Check it out, and enjoy the bizarre, the entertaining and the beautiful from film publishing up to the 1970s.

20 Aug 2013

TS Eliot poem hand set by Virginia Woolf fetches £4,500 at auction

Hogarth Press edition of TS Eliot's The Waste Land. Photograph: Bonhams
A first edition of The Waste Land published by Woolf's Hogarth Press has been sold to St Andrew's University. Read the article - here

'A rare UK first edition of T.S. Eliot's poem The Waste Land, hand-set by Virginia Woolf – who "had difficulty with the typography" – has been bought at auction by the University of St Andrews for £4,500 after being donated to Oxfam.'

Sales such as these can draw attention to interesting aspects of the poem itself. For example, Lydia Wilkinson, books specialist at auction house Bonhams, notes that:

"Woolf had difficulty with the typography because of the way Eliot would write, the rhythm and space used in his poems, and she had a bit of trouble getting the typeface right." 

This type of detail, considering the already acknowledged influence that The Waste Land' had on texts such as Mrs. Dalloway, can cause us to reconsider the "rhythm and space" in Woolf's novels.

See more Eliot related content on this blog - here
And more on Woolf - here