Tag Archives: Commentary

Book submission: The Trojan Woman

Title: The Trojan Woman
Author: Euripides
Publication date: New York, 1915
Library: Millsaps College Library
Call number: PA3975.T8.M8
Submitted by: Students of Millsaps course – What is the Future of the Book?
Description:
This book is another member of the Lehman Engel collection at Millsaps College. The Jackson-born playwright annotated this copy of a Euripides play.

Book submission: The Medea

Title: The Medea
Author: Euridipes
Publication date: New York, 1912
Library: Millsaps College Library
Call number: PA3975.M4.M8
Submitted by: Students of Millsaps course – What is the Future of the Book?
Description:
This book was a part of Lehman Engel Collection at Millsaps College, a library donated to the school by the Jackson-born playwright Lehman Engel. This copy contains lots of annotation about the play from Engel himself.

Book submission: Journal of the Researches into the Natural History and Geology of the Countries Visited during the Voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle

Title: Journal of the Researches into the Natural History and Geology of the Countries Visited during the Voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle
Author: Darwin, Charles
Publication date: New York, 1880
Library: Millsaps College Library
Call number: QH11.D2
Submitted by: Students of Millsaps course – What is the Future of the Book?
Description:
This book contains lots of annotation in the margins of the text.

Book submission: The Reciter : a work particularly adapted to the use of schools, consisting of pieces moral, religious, and sacred in verse and prose

Title: The Reciter : a work particularly adapted to the use of schools, consisting of pieces moral, religious, and sacred in verse and prose
Author: Ward, Edward, A.M.
Publication date: London 1812
Library: Arizona State University
Call number: PR1175.3 .R4x
Submitted by: Kent Linthicum
Description:
This ASU-owned book contains a poem at the back that appears to be a revised or edited version of “David’s Lamentation over Saul and Jonathan” titled by the writer “David’s Funeral Elegy over Saul and Jonathan.” Also, the page where the actual lamentation occurs in the text includes a reader’s note which says “How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war famished!” These might be the work of a student who was using the book.

Book submission: The Earliest Life of Christ Being the Diatessaron of Tatian

Title: The Earliest Life of Christ Being the Diatessaron of Tatian
Author: Tatianus
Publication date: Edinburgh, 1894
Library: Millsaps College Library
Call number: BS2550.T2A3
Submitted by: Students of Millsaps course – What is the Future of the Book?
Description:
Features an ownership tag and some annotation within the text

Book submission: Lucian – Selected Writings

Title: Lucian – Selected Writings
Author: Allinson, Francis Greenleaf
Publication date: Boston, 1905
Library: Millsaps College Library
Call number: PA4230.A3
Submitted by: Students of Millsaps course – What is the Future of the Book?
Description:
This book, we believe, was used as a text for a class on our campus in the early 1900s. It features many latin translations, as well as a great deal of annotation, ostensibly made by the student who used this copy. Other traces of note include a bizarre, white-supremacist quote on the back page, as well as some sketches and doodles drawn on large spaces on some pages.

Book submission: D. Iunii Iuvenalis Satirae

Title: D. Iunii Iuvenalis Satirae
Author: John Delaware Lewis
Publication date: 1882, New York
Library: Van Wylen Library, Hope College
Call number: PA 6446 .A2 1882 v.1
Submitted by: Kellyanne Fitzgerald and Kaitlyn Rustemeyer
Description:
Latin and English book with marginalia from a Hope College student between 1890-1906. Contains an ad from the Holland Sentinel with identifying information that narrowed the year to 1890-1906, as well as a deposit slip from the First State Bank.

Book submission: Mayor of Casterbridge

Title: Mayor of Casterbridge
Author: Thomas Hardy
Publication date: New York: H. Holt, 1886
Library: American Bookbinders Museum
Call number: KR1870.013
Submitted by: Elspeth Olson
Description:
Though it now resides in a special collections library at the American Bookbinders Museum in San Francisco, this began life as a part of the circulating collection of the Petersham Free Library (founded 1879).

Decorative cloth binding. Very Good – Leisure Hours Series No. 191. Bound in the uniform series binding of mustard colored cloth with black stamped diagonal Japanese-influenced design to front cover of a spider with web, an oak leaf and branch, and a small open fan. Spine has title in gilt with black stamping and Henry Holt publisher’s device of owl. Stamping of reeds and cattails continues around to the rear cover. Publisher’s advertisements printed in red to endpapers. Covers have wear, a few small white specks. Library bookplate. 356 pp. Series began in the 1870’s, thus the Japanese design. Series titles are scarce. 50.00

Book submission: My Diaries: Being a Personal Narrative of Events 1888-1914, Part Two

Title: My Diaries: Being a Personal Narrative of Events 1888-1914, Part Two
Author: Blunt, Wilfrid Scawen
Publication date: 1920
Library: Betty Boothroyd Library, The Open University, Milton Keynes
Call number: 941.0810924 BLU
Submitted by: Edmund G. C. King
Description:
Acquired by The Open University Library in 1977 (probably by donation), this copy of Wilfrid Scawen Blunt’s “My Diaries: Part Two” contains nearly 4000 words of verbal marginalia. A flyleaf inscription indicates that the book was bought in March 1920 (soon after publication) and most, if not all, of the annotation seem to date from around that time.

The annotator was the former Independent Labour Party politician John Arthur Fallows (1864-1935). He shows a special interest in what Blunt had to say about the origins of the First World War and the pre-war conduct of the Entente nations. Fallows emerges from the marginalia as a passionate anti-imperialist, whose Marxist politics evidently led him to take an anti-war (if not pacifist) position during the conflict itself.

This particular copy of Blunt is notable for the contemporary gossip that Fallows inscribes in the margins as well as his scathing and abusive commentary on Britain’s pre-war political establishment along with the aristocracy and the royal family. Edward VII and Winston Churchill are frequent targets of invective, gossip, and innuendo.

For further details and analysis, see: Edmund G. C. King, “Radicalism in the Margins: The Politics of Reading Wilfrid Scawen Blunt in 1920,” Journal of British Studies 55, no. 3 (July 2016): 501-18 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/jbr.2016.53).

Book submission: The Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare (10 volumes)

Title: The Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare (10 volumes)
Author: Shakespeare, William
Publication date: London, 1879
Library: University of Virginia, Alderman Library
Call number: PR2753 .S6 1879 v.1-10
Submitted by: Maggie Whalen
Description:
In the weeks following our post on the UVA Library Collection’s many literary treasures tied to Albemarle County’s historic Rives family, UVA community members brought to our attention a few other Rives-owned and -annotated volumes worth investigating.

Our next subject: The Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare, a ten-volume set published in London in 1879.

UVA-administered bookplates reveal that the set came to the UVA Library Collection through the books of one Roberta Welford (1873-1956), a women’s rights advocate and suffragist whose papers are preserved in UVA’s Special Collections Library. Personal bookplates indicate that the set was previously owned by Amélie Rives Troubetzkoy (1863-1945), the niece of aforementioned Amélie Louise and Ella, the daughter of Alfred.

In our first post, we discussed at length another tome of Shakespeare owned and annotated by the second, and most famous, Amélie. That text, a hefty volume entitled The Plays of William Shakespeare, was published in London in 1823. It contains two inscriptions by Amélie, one from 1885 and another from 1890, as well as a number of marginal annotations. Two Gentlemen of Verona, Much Ado About Nothing, Taming of the Shrew, and All’s Well That Ends Well are among the plays most thoroughly marked in this previously discussed text.

Considering the substantial overlap in content between these two collections, it’s somewhat surprising that Amélie owned, let alone read and marked, both.

And yet, Amélie’s The Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare is similarly rich with annotations. Of the ten volumes to the set, I was able to examine nine (volume 6 was missing) and found some degree of user modification in each.

Oddly enough, volumes 7 through 10 are the only texts that feature user inscriptions. All read: “Amélie Rives / 1881 / Castle Hill,” indicating that Amélie acquired this set four years prior to her bulkier edition of Plays.

A number of other dates crop up throughout Dramatic Works, particularly on plays’ title pages, revealing that Amélie returned to this text many times throughout her life. She records, for example, that she read Taming of the Shrew “for the first time in this edition the evening of” December 29, 1896; Love’s Labour’s Lost for the “2nd time” on the same night; and “reread” The Tempest on January 23, 1932.

These annotations recall a note Amélie makes in her copy of Plays, in which she records that she read The Tempest, perhaps for the first time, in 1900 at her family’s estate, Castle Hill.

The pages of Amélie’s Dramatic Works are thoroughly underscored and bracketed. Her marginal annotations frequently mention her daily life in Virginia and occasionally reference her own writings.

Annotations in The Tempest. In the first image, she marginally defines “kybe” as a “chilblain.” In the second, she underscores “homely” and writes: “NB Homely used here as we Virginians use it now!!”

Annotations in Love’s Labour’s Lost. In the first image, Amélie emphatically brackets and underscores a footnote about a famous bay horse named Morocco and writes: “NB Splendid subject for a poem or story!!” Second: she underscores “canary” (a popular dance in Shakespeare’s time) and writes in the margins: “NB Can this be the origin of the Negro ‘pull Cary’?” Third: a marginal note: “NB 25th Aug 1895.” Fourth: some dense underscoring.

Annotations in Troilus and Cressida. Amélie underscores “placket” and writes: “Modern American i.e. ‘Skirt.’”

Annotations in King Lear. She responds to Shakespeare’s use of “nuncle” (defined in the footnotes as “a familiar contraction of mine uncle”), and writes in the margins: “And in Virginia we always address old Negros as ‘Uncle’ + ‘Aunt’ — 1892.”

Annotations in the Preliminary Remarks to Macbeth. Amélie underlines and brackets this passage heavily. She writes extensive, barely legible, notes in the margins. At the bottom of the page, she underscores the name of the author and writes of his book of lectures: “Get at once if possible! ’92.”

On the final endpapers of several volumes, Amélie collects her favorite lines, passages, phrases, and ideas.

On the rear endleaf of volume 1, Amélie records the following line from The Tempest: “The red plague rid you for learning me your language. Page 214.”

In the final pages of volume 5, Amélie records a series of “Notes” and corresponding “Page” numbers from The First Part of King Henry IV and King Henry V. One note reads: “The lady Ermengare. (Ermengare is a beautiful name.)” On the next page, Amélie transcribes an exchange between Prince Harry and Pions from The Second Part of King Henry IV. The page, however, is torn.

And for that reason, perhaps, she transcribes the passage again on the book’s front endpaper.

On a rear endpaper in volume 7, she copies the following line from Troilus and Cressida: “‘This I presume will wake him’–Page 198.”

In volume 9, she notes perceived “Repetitions of Shakespeare:” “In Hamlet, ‘Himself the primrose way of dalliance treads.’ In Macbeth, ‘that go the primrose way to the everlasting fire.’”

Finally, in volume 10, she writes: “Othello ‘Goats + Monkeys!’ see page 119.” On the corresponding page, Amélie has written “NB” beside the line: “You are welcome, sir, to Cyprus.–Goats, and monkeys!” At the bottom of the page, she brackets a footnote that explains the “great art” of the line.

Perhaps most intriguing among Amélie’s many annotations are those that speficially reference her writing process. In Plays, Amélie marks a line from All’s Well That Ends Well (“So there’s my riddle, One, that’s dead, is quick”), which corresponds to the title of her most famous novel (The Quick or the Dead?). In Dramatic Works, she reads the story of a legendary horse and notes that it would be a “splendid subject for a poem or story!!” Bearing these instances in mind, the endleaf lists explored above read almost like condensed catalogs of potential literary inspiration.

From Judith Page Rives’s The Living Female Writers of the South, to her daughter’s Oeuvres de Boileau, to her granddaughter’s various collections of Shakespeare’s plays, evidence of the Rives women reading with pencils in hand spans three generations and at least 80 years. Though the Rives women are remembered first and foremost as prolific writers, their active engagement with these texts reveals that they were also ambitious readers. As is demonstrated by this post and the last, the UVA Library Collection is dense with examples of the Rives family’s involvement with literature, both public and personal in nature.

Sources
Boileau Despréaux, Nicolas, and Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve. Oeuvres : Avec Notes Et Imitations Des Auteurs Anciens. Paris: Furne, 1853.
Brown, Alexander, et al. Papers of the Rives, Sears and Rhinelander Families.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2016. Web. 18 Mar. 2016.
Hall, Fitzedward, et al. Letters of the Rives Family. .
“Nicolas Boileau”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Papers of Roberta Wellford, Accession #6090, Special Collections Dept., University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.
Rives Family Papers Compiled by Elizabeth Langhorne, 1839-1990, #10596-d, Albert H. and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.
Rives, James Childs. Reliques of the Rives (Ryves). Lynchburg, Va.: J. P. Bell Co., 1929.
Shakespeare, William, and Samuel Weller Singer. The Dramatic Works. 3rd ed. rev. London: G. Bell, 1879.
Shakespeare, William, et al. The Plays of William Shakespeare. New ed. London: Printed for F. C. and J. Rivington; [etc., etc.], 1823.

For more on Book Traces @ U.Va., visit our blog at https://booktraces.library.virginia.edu .

Book submission: Oeuvres de Boileau

Title: Oeuvres de Boileau
Author: C. A. Sainte-Beuve
Publication date: Paris, 1853
Library: University of Virginia, Alderman Library
Call number: PQ1719.A2 1868a (?)
Submitted by: Maggie Whalen
Description:
In the weeks following our post on the UVA Library Collection’s many literary treasures tied to Albemarle County’s historic Rives family, UVA community members brought to our attention a few other Rives-owned and -annotated volumes worth investigating.

First: an 1853 copy of C. A. Sainte-Beuve’s Oeuvres de Boileau.

A bookplate in Oeuvres de Boileau indicates that this text came to the UVA Library Collection through the books of William Cabell Rives.

The book is of interest to the Book Traces @ UVA project first for its gift inscription. The note, which appears in pencil on the book’s title page, reads: “À Mademoiselle Rives / E M / Adieu!” Below the gift-giver’s initials is a sketch of a crown.

Of further note are the annotations, bracketing, and underscoring of the book’s contents. As its title suggests, Oeuvres de Boileau, or Works of Boileau, contains a number of works by the 17th-century French poet and literary critic Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux. The volume’s contents are organized by genre, among them: satire, epistle, ode, epigram, and poetry.

Though marginalia crops up throughout the thick volume, its most heavily annotated sections are those for which Boileau is best known: his still-studied treatise on the rules of Classical verse L’Art poétique (1674) and his mock-heroic epics Le Lutrin (1666). Nearly every page of these two sections contains marks made by a previous reader: brackets, dots, notes in French, and translations in English.

To which Mademoiselle Rives did this well-marked volume belong? And by whom was it given? A look at the Rives family’s history hints at an answer.

As mentioned in our previous post, William Cabell Rives (1793-1868), a wealthy Albemarle landowner and an influential American politician, served twice as the U.S. Minister to France. In the final year of Rives’s first term, 1829-32, his wife, Judith Page Rives, gave birth to the family’s fourth child and first daughter. She was named Amélie by her godmother, then-Queen of France, Marie-Amélie. Shortly after the birth of Amélie Louise Rives, the Rives family returned to the United States. William Cabell Rives served three terms in the United States Senate before he accepted a reappointment as the Minister to France. He served his second term, 1849-1853, under France’s final monarch: Napoleon III. As in his first term, Rives was accompanied in Paris by his family. Indeed, letters preserved in UVA’s Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library reveal that William’s wife and three youngest children, Alfred (1830-1903), Amélie Louise (1832-1873), and Ella (1834-1892), all resided in France during his tenure as minister.

Bearing this in mind, it seems possible that this book, published in Paris in 1853, the final year of Rives’s term, might have been a parting gift (“Adieu!”) from French Queen Eugénie de Montijo (“E M,” the crown) to one of Rives’s unmarried daughters (“Mademoiselle”), Amélie Louise or Ella.

Based on the limited biographical information available on the two sisters, it seems possible that either might have happily accepted a text on poetic technique. As discussed previously, the Riveses were a family of writers. Both of the girls’ parents, Judith Page and William Cabell Rives, were published authors. Amélie Louise, who would have been 21-years-old in 1853, dabbled in writing, penning but never publishing a number of poems and stories. 19-year-old Ella seems to have been intellectually inclined, too. In an 1851 letter from the girls’ mother to their sister-in-law, Judith describes Ella passing her time in Paris “surrounded with her grammars, dictionaries, [and] maps.”

Unfortunately, records of the queen’s autograph do not confirm this loosely founded hunch and the book’s provenance remains a mystery.

Sources

Boileau Despréaux, Nicolas, and Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve. Oeuvres : Avec Notes Et Imitations Des Auteurs Anciens. Paris: Furne, 1853.

Brown, Alexander, et al. Papers of the Rives, Sears and Rhinelander Families.

Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2016. Web. 18 Mar. 2016.

Hall, Fitzedward, et al. Letters of the Rives Family. .

“Nicolas Boileau”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.

Papers of Roberta Wellford, Accession #6090, Special Collections Dept., University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.

Rives Family Papers Compiled by Elizabeth Langhorne, 1839-1990, #10596-d, Albert H. and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.

Rives, James Childs. Reliques of the Rives (Ryves). Lynchburg, Va.: J. P. Bell Co., 1929.

Shakespeare, William, and Samuel Weller Singer. The Dramatic Works. 3rd ed. rev. London: G. Bell, 1879.

Shakespeare, William, et al. The Plays of William Shakespeare. New ed. London: Printed for F. C. and J. Rivington; [etc., etc.], 1823.

Book submission: The Living Female Writers of the South

Title: The Living Female Writers of the South
Author: Tardy, Mary
Publication date: Philadelphia, 1872
Library: University of Virginia, Alderman Library
Call number: PS551 .T3 1872
Submitted by: Maggie Whalen
Description:
Book Traces @ UVA recently happened upon this 1872 edition of Mary T. Tardy’s The Living Female Writers of the South in the UVA Library Collection.

A bookplate reveals that the text came to UVA through the books of William Cabell Rives (1793-1868).

As the title suggests, the book contains the biographies of southern female authors alive in the 19th century. Its pages are entirely unmarked, save for a few noteworthy annotations on the three-page biography entitled “Mrs. William C. Rives.”

Above the section’s title, a hand has left the following note: “Lord Byron says, ‘Tis pleasant, sure, to find one’s name in print.’ My surprise was quite equal to my pleasure in finding my name among those of the illustrious ladies who appear here. It is but just to say that this notice was not contributed to the volume by any member of my own family, and that the authorship is a mystery both to them and to me. JPR….” (436).

Judith Page Rives (1802-1882), wife of William C. Rives, describes the surprise and honor she feels at finding her biography in Tardy’s text. The content and tone of the note suggest that it is not entirely self-reflective, but also directed at any reader who might happen upon the book in the future.

In the biography that follows, Rives has made a few corrections to the text. She adjusts the date of France’s July Revolution from 1820 to 1830. She corrects the spelling of her daughter’s name, Amélie (chosen for her by her godmother, the Queen of France), directly in the text and then transcribes it in the margins for clarity. Finally, she changes the title incorrectly attributed to her second book from “Home and Abroad” to “Home and the World.”

Aside from these minor adjustments, Rives does not interfere with the anonymous biographer’s account of her life, suggesting, perhaps, its accuracy. The notice describes Rives as “a faithful mother” of six and a “most useful helpmeet to her husband,” who served twice as United States Minister to France and once as a Senator from Virginia (438). She is further characterized as “a prominent and yet ever beneficent leader in society,” most notably in her native Albemarle County (438). There, she and her family resided in a vast, historic estate called Castle Hill (on the market now for $11.5 million) and mingled with the likes of Madison and Jefferson. Finally, Rives’s biographer describes her as “an author of more than ordinary ability and popularity” (438).

Among Judith Rives’s literary achievements are two books: Souvenirs of a Residence in Europe (1842) and Home and the World (1857). The biography quotes from a review contemporary to the publication of Souvenirs, saying: “This book is distinguished throughout for its moral and elevated tone. Its style, which perhaps in some instances may be rather luxuriant, is generally chaste, fluent, and graceful” (437). According to Jane Censer, author of The Reconstruction of White Southern Womanhood, much of Rives’s work was nonfiction, based on her travels abroad and her life at Castle Hill. Censer also notes that many of the women included in Tardy’s Female Writers of the South came from “well-to-do” Southern families and published a single article, poem, or novel, often with a local printer (214). A number of these women “published so little or in such obscure journals that the modern researcher can find almost none of their printed efforts” (214). Judith Rives is certainly a slight break from the “authors” Censer describes, having published Souvenirs with a Philadelphia publishing house and Home and the World with a publisher based in London. A single copy of Rives’s Tales and Souvenirs of a Residence in Europe (below) is available in the UVA Library circulating collection. Several copies of Souvenirs and Home and the World are held in UVA’s Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

For further examples of volumes owned/annotated by members of the Rives family, see the related post on Amelie Rives Troubetzkoy’s copy of The Plays of William Shakespeare.

For more on Book Traces @ UVA, visit our blog at https://booktraces.library.virginia.edu .

Sources
“The Cabell Family.” Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. University of Virginia Library, n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.
Censer, Jane Turner. The Reconstruction of White Southern Womanhood, 1865-1895. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 2003. Google Books. Google. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.
Hatch, Peter J. “The Garden and Its People.” “A Rich Spot of Earth”: Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden at Monticello. N.p.: Yale UP, 2012. 33. Google Books. Google. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.
Lay, K. Edward. “The Georgian Period.” The Architecture of Jefferson Country: Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Virginia. Charlottesville: U of Virginia, 2000. 60-61. Google Books. Google. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.
Lucey, Donna M. “Patron’s Choice: Sex, Celebrity and Scandal in the Amélie Rives Chanler Troubetzkoy Papers.” Notes from Under Grounds. University of Virginia Library: Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections, 23 Aug. 2013. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.
Prose, Francine. “Lifestyles of the Rich and Infamous”. The Washington Post. Web. 30 Jul, 2006.
Rives, Amélie. Barbara Dering. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott company, 1893.
Shakespeare, William, et al. The Plays of William Shakespeare. New ed. London: Printed for F. C. and J. Rivington; [etc., etc.], 1823.
Tardy, Mary T. The Living Female Writers of the South. Philadelphia: Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger, 1872.
Varon, Elizabeth R. “We Mean to Be Counted”: White Women and Politics in Antebellum Virginia. N.p.: U of North Carolina, 2000. Google Books. Google. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.
Weeks, Lyman Horace. “George Lockhart Rives.” Prominent Families of New York. New York: Historical, 1897. 478. Google Books. Google. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.

Book submission: Southern writers: biographical and critical studies, Sidney Lanier

Title: Southern writers: biographical and critical studies, Sidney Lanier
Author: Baskervill, William Malone
Publication date: Nashville, Tenn.; 1897
Library: Williston Memorial Library, Mount Holyoke College
Call number: 83YE L272yb
Submitted by: Rachael Smith
Description:
Gift inscription on the cover reads: “Ellen Burroughs” — In most grateful acknowledgement from M. D. L. Easter, 1897.

“Ellen Burroughs” was a pen name used by poet and Wellesley English professor Sophie Jewett. Her collection “The Pilgrim, and Other Poems” was published in 1896 and included this poem, titled “Sidney Lanier”:

The Southwind brought a voice; was it of bird?
Or faint-blown reed? or string that quivered long?
A haunting voice that woke into a song
Sweet as a child’s low laugh, or lover’s word.
We listened idly till it grew and stirred
With throbbing chords of joy, of love, of wrong;
A mighty music, resonant and strong;
Our hearts beat higher for that voice far-heard.
The Southwind brought a shadow, purple-dim,

It swept across the warm smile of the sun;
A sudden shiver passed on field and wave;
The grasses grieved along the river’s brim.
We knew the voice was silent, the song done;
We knew the shadow smote across a grave.

M. D. L. are the initials of Sidney Lanier’s wife, Mary Day Lanier. She edited and published collections of his poetry and letters following his death in 1842. In this book, she has corrected two sections of her husband’s poetry that were misprinted, and made a note in the margin where a quote “was taken from one of my own letters.”

Book submission: The plays of William Shakespeare

Title: The plays of William Shakespeare
Author: Shakespeare, William
Publication date: London, 1823
Library: University of Virginia, Alderman Library
Call number: PR2752 .S8 1823
Submitted by: Maggie Whalen
Description:
Judith Rives was not the only writer in her family. In the later years of his life, her husband, William Cabell Rives, wrote biographies of John Hampden and James Madison, both of which are available in the UVA Library circulating collection. Their daughter, Amélie Louise Rives Sigourney (1832-1873) also dabbled in writing, penning but never publishing a number of poems and stories before her death.

The most notable writer among the Riveses, though, was surely Judith’s granddaughter and Amélie Rives Sigourney’s niece, Amélie Rives Troubetzkoy (1863-1945). Goddaughter of Robert E. Lee and eventual heiress of the Castle Hill estate, Amélie ran in the same circles of Albemarle society as her grandmother had. Unlike her grandmother, though, Amélie’s celebrity was not only local, but national. Amélie’s fame was due in large part to her first novel, The Quick or the Dead? (1888), which was an immediate sensation. The book, which dared to depict women as sexually aware, was “reviled by critics and clergymen across the country,” but nonetheless sold 300,000 copies (Lucey). Amélie proceeded to publish at least 24 volumes of fiction, a number of uncollected poems, and a play. According to Censer, Amélie was part of a small group of southern female authors who in their works “presented southern women who were intellectually astute and domestically skilled. Their heroines neither sought nor enjoyed belledom but instead searched for fulfilling, useful lives” (8). Amélie, in particular, experimented with gender conventions and on occasion confronted the more difficult topics of race and class (Censer 8).

The UVA Library Collection contains a number of books associated with Amélie Rives Troubetzkoy, including those written by her and others owned by her. This copy of Barbara Dering, Amélie’s 1893 sequel to The Quick or the Dead?, is thoroughly marked, featuring the inscriptions of at least two distinct owners and marginalia throughout.

The circulating collection also contains a thick copy of Shakespeare’s plays, formerly owned and heavily annotated by Amélie Rives Troubetzkoy herself.

Amélie inscribed the volume with her name multiple times. The first example appears on the front endpaper and reads: “Amélie L. Rives / Castle – Hill / 15th of March – 1885.” At the time of this initial inscription, Amélie was just 22-years-old, still three years from publishing The Quick or the Dead?.

A second inscription appears on the title page of The Tempest. Here, Amélie has inscribed her name twice, first with her maiden name, “Rives,” and a second time with her married name, “Troubetzkoy.” The names are accompanied by a date: “18th June 1900.” At the time of this inscription, Amélie was 37-years-old and had published a number of novels. Though she had married the noble but impoverished Pierre Troubetzkoy four years prior to this inscription, Amélie continued to publish her literary works under her maiden name, perhaps explaining the double signature.

Many passages of the plays that follow are bracketed, check-marked, and underscored.

Amélie has also left several notes throughout the volume. In The Gentleman of Verona, for instance, Amélie stars and brackets several lines of text at the end of Scene I and writes at the bottom of the page: “Same idea exposed several times in Tempest by Gonzalez.”

Later, in Much Ado About Nothing, she notes: “In Shakespeare’s time ‘ache’ was pronounced ‘H’ – AR.”

In the margins of Taming of the Shrew, she seems to make a wry joke about husbands, marking the line: “A husband! a devil!” and writing at the bottom of the page: “The book opened here of itself just as I had said laughingly ‘O gin I had a husband!’” According to the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of “gin,” this exclamation might translate roughly to “If only I had a husband.”

Perhaps the most intriguing of Amélie’s annotations appears in All’s Well That Ends Well. Here, Amélie marks an “X” beside the line: “So there’s my riddle, One, that’s dead, is quick,” and writes below: “The book also opened here just as I was trying to find another title as good as The Quick or the Dead. 23 Nov. 1888.” In this moment, we witness an intimate memorialization: Amélie marks in her copy of Shakespeare’s plays the phrase that inspired the title of her most famous literary work, published just half a year prior in April 1888.

From Judith Rives’s humble response upon finding her name in Female Writers of the South to her granddaughter Amélie Rives’s remarks and reminiscences upon Shakespeare, it is clear that the UVA Library Collection contains an array of Rives family literary treasures, not only those printed by press but also those marked by hand.

For further examples of volumes owned/annotated by members of the Rives family, see the related post on Judith Paige Rives’s copy of The Living Female Writers of the South.

For more on Book Traces @ UVA, visit our blog at https://booktraces.library.virginia.edu .

Sources
“The Cabell Family.” Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. University of Virginia Library, n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.
Censer, Jane Turner. The Reconstruction of White Southern Womanhood, 1865-1895. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 2003. Google Books. Google. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.
Hatch, Peter J. “The Garden and Its People.” “A Rich Spot of Earth”: Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden at Monticello. N.p.: Yale UP, 2012. 33. Google Books. Google. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.
Lay, K. Edward. “The Georgian Period.” The Architecture of Jefferson Country: Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Virginia. Charlottesville: U of Virginia, 2000. 60-61. Google Books. Google. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.
Lucey, Donna M. “Patron’s Choice: Sex, Celebrity and Scandal in the Amélie Rives Chanler Troubetzkoy Papers.” Notes from Under Grounds. University of Virginia Library: Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections, 23 Aug. 2013. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.
Prose, Francine. “Lifestyles of the Rich and Infamous”. The Washington Post. Web. 30 Jul, 2006.
Rives, Amélie. Barbara Dering. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott company, 1893.
Shakespeare, William, et al. The Plays of William Shakespeare. New ed. London: Printed for F. C. and J. Rivington; [etc., etc.], 1823.
Tardy, Mary T. The Living Female Writers of the South. Philadelphia: Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger, 1872.
Varon, Elizabeth R. “We Mean to Be Counted”: White Women and Politics in Antebellum Virginia. N.p.: U of North Carolina, 2000. Google Books. Google. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.
Weeks, Lyman Horace. “George Lockhart Rives.” Prominent Families of New York. New York: Historical, 1897. 478. Google Books. Google. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.

Book submission: Poems

Title: Poems
Author: Alexander Smith
Publication date: Boston, 1853
Library: University of Virginia, Alderman Library
Call number: PR5453 .S5 1853
Submitted by: Maggie Whalen
Description:
Book Traces @ UVA recently found this 1853 copy of Alexander Smith’s Poems in the UVA Library Collection.

Flipping through the book’s pages, one immediately notices the abundance of notes scrawled in its margins. Indeed, more pages than not include some evidence of a previous reader’s interaction with the text.

Smith’s Poems contains four titled lyrics: “A Life-Drama,” “An Evening at Home,” “Lady Barbara,” and “To —,” as well as several untitled sonnets. First, longest, and most heavily annotated is the 150-page play “A Life-Drama.”

An initial example of marginalia pops up on the first page of this first poem. Above its title, the reader has written in pencil: “Beautiful, Absurd, and Trashy Stuff.” Below, the same hand has extended the play’s title: “A Life-Drama, or The Moon & Stars” (5).

In the pages that follow, the same reader develops in the margins his own system of notes. He scrutinizes and satirizes Smith’s poetry, making verbal and nonverbal annotations of the text, additions and amendments to the text, and citations of literary allusions made within the text.

All of this causes a present-day reader to wonder: Who wrote these ridiculing comments? And, what was his beef with Alexander Smith?

Conveniently, the book’s title page features the inscriptions of two former owners. First is “W. Meredith,” who seems to have inscribed his name on September 2, 1853 in Philadelphia. The precise year of signing is unclear, as the final digit has been blotted out and corrected. Beneath is “Fred. W. M. Holliday,” accompanied by the date “July ’76.”

A handwriting expert I am not, but the highly legible, looping quality of the penmanship in the book’s marginalia resembles much more closely the signature of W. Meredith than that of Fred. W. M. Holliday.

Unfortunately, the first inscription does not provide sufficient information to definitively identify W. Meredith. A number of men bearing some variation of the name “William Meredith” were alive during the 1850s. As far as I could tell, none could be linked directly to the book’s other owner, Governor Frederick William Mackey Holliday. However, there is considerable evidence suggesting that the book belonged at one point to either William Morris Meredith (1799-1873) or his son William Keppele Meredith (1838-1903), both of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

William Morris Meredith, the elder, was a prominent Philadelphia lawyer. He also served as United States Secretary of the Treasury between 1824 and 1828. The Meredith Family Papers are preserved at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Among them are some of his personal writings, including an assortment of original poetry and three of his diaries. The second of these diaries opens with an entry written on the eve of his twentieth birthday, at which point he had been practicing law for some time. He reflects: “Eighteen months have elapsed since I commenced the practice of my Profession. My profits have been small and the sincere disgust which I have always entertained for the Law has rather increased than diminished during that period. But after mature consideration, I can discover no other pursuit in which I could engage with any prospect of success. My inclinations urge me to a literary life, but that yields no expectations of an immediate support, and I feel it my duty to relieve my father as quickly as possible from so heavy and useless an encumbrance as myself.”

William Morris’s love of literature is made evident also by the presence of his original verse, most of which was probably written before his legal career began. Notes on the Meredith Family Papers indicate that most of William Morris’s poems consist of “light and witty commentary on women and courting.”

William Keppele Meredith, son of the former, attended Princeton between 1851 and 1853. Plagued from childhood with cataracts and a speech impediment, William Keppele took a leave of absence from Princeton in 1852 and left school permanently in 1853. He returned to Philadelphia and spent most of his life as a “man of leisure,” save for a brief stint as a Union General’s secretary during the war. Meredith went on to become a published writer of both essays and poems. The Meredith Family Papers contains several of William’s original poems, in which he discusses “patriotism, love, adultery, religion, and philosophy.”

It seems entirely possible that either of the Merediths might have at one point owned, and annotated, this volume of Alexander Smith’s Poems. The two shared a love of literature and an affinity for writing verse. If the book was indeed signed in September 1853, 54-year-old William Morris would have been practicing law in Philadelphia and 17-year-old William Keppele would have just returned to Philadelphia from Princeton. Without access to the family’s records kept in Philadelphia or the ability to conduct a handwriting analysis, conclusions are quite difficult to draw.

Information on the book’s second owner is decidedly more distinct. Governor Frederick W. M. Holliday (1828-1899), a Virginia native, graduated Yale University in 1847. Less than a year later, he acquired degrees in philosophy, political economy, and law from the University of Virginia in 1848. Holliday proceeded to open his own law practice in Frederick County, where he was elected the Commonwealth’s Attorney for three consecutive terms beginning in 1851. An avid secessionist, he served as a captain in the Confederate Army, and was later promoted to major and lieutenant colonel. He was forced to resign his commission after he was wounded in battle and his arm was amputated. Following the war, Holliday returned to law and was elected governor of Virginia in 1878. At the end of his governorship, he retired and devoted the remainder of his life to traveling. It was Governor Holliday who ultimately donated this edition of Poems to the UVA Library Collection.

The question of connection between the Merediths and Governor Holliday might be answered by their common involvement in the practice of law or participation in the Civil War. It is also possible that the men were unknown to each other and happened upon the book independently.

Regardless of the note-taker’s identity, this volume stands out for its profusion of readerly commentary, much of which is pointed, funny, and smart. History reveals that this reader was not alone in ridiculing Alexander Smith’s Poems.

When Poems debuted in 1853, Smith was initially praised as the next great British lyricist. Following the book’s publication, Putnam’s Monthly Magazine, an American literary journal, proclaimed that “A Life-Drama” had just “received a more universal and flattering welcome than was ever before awarded to an English poet” (LaPorte 421). Shortly thereafter, though, praise turned to criticism, which consisted of vicious attacks and accusations of plagiarism. Most damning was literary critic W.E. Aytoun’s 1854 review of Poems, in which labeled Smith a Spasmodic. The Spasmodics, a group of mid-19th century poets, closely imitated the Romantics and were criticized for their excessive use of natural imagery and obscure allusions. Smith resisted the title and spent the remainder of his life trying to shake his association with the group. Later in 1854, an anonymous author published a parody of Smith’s “A Life-Drama” entitled The Firmilian: A Tragedy, causing further damage to his reputation. Smith ultimately turned to writing essays, for which he received less attention but better critical reception.

Looking more closely at the notes made in this copy of Poems, and more specifically those made on “A Life-Drama,” it becomes clear that this volume is engaged in a larger historical conversation about Alexander Smith.

In “A Life-Drama,” a poet named Walter falls deeply in love with an unnamed lady. After meeting in an Italian forest, the two engage in extensive flirtation. To Walter’s dismay, though, his beloved is doomed to marry an old, wealthy man. Time passes and Walter overcomes his heartbreak, ultimately falling in love with another woman, Violet.

Some of the reader’s comments on the play come as brief quips: “Nonsense” (23), “Absurdity” (24), “What stuff and nonsense!” (35), “You sentimental old hypocrite!” (77), “Every idea in this Poem is repeated five times at least” (82), “Ain’t they a pair of wiseacres!” (86), “Unnatural” (131), and “Disgusting Affectation” (131).

The few positive comments that do appear resonate as sarcastic given the generally disgruntled tenor of the reader’s commentary. Beside several lines of bracketed verse in Scene II, for example, he writes: “Beautiful, by God!” (19) Another bracketed passage in the same scene is accompanied by the note: “Love is sometimes said to be incomprehensible” (13).

Other notes are more long-winded. In Scene I, for example, Walter declares: “Bare, bald and tawdry, as a fingered moth / Is my poor life; but with one smile thou canst / Clothe me with kingdoms” (6). In the margins above, the reader reacts:

‘As a finger’d moth!’ A man who would finger a moth, is fit for nothing but camphor [moth repellant]. Mr. Smith says that a moth is both ‘bare and tawdry:’…. Does fingering a moth make it more bald, or more tawdry? In short, I will be very much obliged to anybody who will explain to me the meaning of that line. If Mr. Smith is so very much like a moth, he had better keep clear of camphor, and his friends had better take the necessary precautions about their clothes. (6-7)

Unfortunately, the edges of many pages were trimmed during the volume’s re-binding, so some notes, including the one transcribed above, are abbreviated.

In Scene III, Walter speaks of “gentle pagans…whose red blood ran / Healthy and cool as milk,” to which the reader responds: “Milk, in its natural state, is warm fortunately for the physical comfort of these ‘gentle pagans’” (39).

In Scene V, Walter declares: “My heart is weak as a great globe, all sea,” provoking the reader to write in large, angry letters: “I should like to pitch this fool into the Atlantic to convince him that his heart is a little weaker than the great globe, all sea” (74).

In Scene VI, Walter recites following lines: “I gaz’d till my heart grew wild, / To fold her in my warm caresses, / Clasp her showers of golden tresses” (77). In the margins, the reader reacts to this sensuous description: “Old Bishop Onderdonk would have taken her by storm, in a coach full of people” (77). The reader here makes reference to the contemporary controversy surrounding Bishop Benjamin Treadwell Onderdonk (1791-1861). In 1844, multiple female parishioners, including the wife of one of his fellow clergymen, accused the Episcopal Bishop of New York of sexual misconduct. The scandal remained in contention for over a decade.

In Scene VII, Walter gazes out over the sea and remarks: “The bridegroom sea / Is toying with the shore, his wedded bride, / And in the fulness of his marriage joy, / He decorates her tawny brow with shells” (90). The reader underscores “bridegroom sea,” “the shore,” and “bride,” and then responds in a marginal note: “John and Polly have been married 40 years. To call John a bridegroom, or Polly a bride, would be apt to provoke a smile from the most rigid practicer of decorum. I therefore feel myself the less criminal in having actually laughed at the idea of bridegrooming and briding the Sea and the Shore, that have been married (man and wife) for thousands of years” (90).

In other moments, the reader identifies Smith’s literary allusions, calling to mind contempoary accusations that he had plagiarized portions of Poems. William Shakespeare, Thomas Moore, and Fanny Kemble are each cited several times.

The majority of the reader’s notes, however, take the form of original verse, extending and satirizing Smith’s poetry. For example, upon waking from a nap in Scene II, Walter says: “Fair lady, in my dream / Methought I was a weak and lonely bird,” at which point the reader interjects: “Caught napping by a much superior bird, / That was a bird indeed!” (15)

Later in the same scene, as Walter speaks to his unnamed love interest he says: “His words set me on fire; I cried aloud” (25). The reader repeats this line in his note and then continues:
‘I’ll be that Poet—that immortal mind!’
He grasp’d my hand,—I look’d upon his face,—
A thought struck all the blood into his cheeks,
Like a strong buffet. His great flashing eyes
Burn’d on my own. He said, ‘Your name is Smith.’
Why am I cursed with that damning name?
Why am I not Jones, —Milligan, —McShinn,
Pips, —anything but Smith! (25)

Throughout the entire play, the reader continues to interject, adopting the Smith’s style even as he mocks the poet and his characters. In these moments, the reader’s actions echo, or perhaps foreshadow, the anonymous author’s 1854 parody of “A Life-Drama,” The Firmilian: A Tragedy. Included below are a few further examples, which I have abstained from transcribing for the sake of space.

A final instance worth mentioning explicitly appears on the poem’s final page. Smith’s Walter delivers the final words of the play to Violet, his second lover. The reader extends Walter’s speech, and also allows Violet a response:
Yes, Walter! I will sleep upon thy breast,
As yonder moon sleeps on the quiet river.
The stars, and he in the moon, are looking at us,
So come away, for I’m afraid of blushing. (160)

In a final jab, the reader grants Walter the last line. Ever the romantic, he replies to his love: “You look more pale than ever” (160).

Comments like these appear also in the margins of the volume’s subsequent, shorter poems.

So rich in user intervention, so shrouded in mystery, and so embedded in the literary critical context of its time is this copy of Alexander Smith’s Poems that extensive additional research could be conducted on its history.

For more on Book Traces @ UVA, visit our blog at https://booktraces.library.virginia.edu .

Sources
“Benjamin Treadwell Onderdonk.” House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College. Dickinson College, n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.
“Camphor, n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, December 2015. Web. 9 December 2015.
Executive letter books of Governor Frederick M. W. Holliday, 1878-1881. Accession 33431, State government records collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.
“Introduction” Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism Ed. Denise Evans and Mary L. Onorato. Vol. 59. Gale Cengage, 1997. 5 Dec, 2015.
LaPorte, Charles, and Jason R. Rudy. “Editorial Introduction: Spasmodic Poetry and Poetics”. Victorian Poetry 42.4 (2004): 421–428. Web.
“Poems by Alexander Smith.” Bizarre: For Fireside and Wayside. Vol. 3. N.p.: Church, 1853. 121-23. Google Books. Web. 9 Dec. 2015.
Series 7, William Morris Meredith: William Meredith, Meredith Family Papers (Collection 1509), The Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
Smith, Alexander. Poems. Boston: Ticknor, Reed, and Fields, 1853. Print.