Tag Archives: Literature

“Dear Diary…”

Tomorrow, 22 September, is #DearDiaryDay.  Do you keep a daily diary?  Have you ever tried?  Apparently, it can be great for your mental health!  Studies have shown that expressing our thoughts in a written form on a daily basis reduces anxiety and stress.

Photograph of S.M.Rich "in sports coat" taken in 1902 or 1903 [MS 168 AJ217/1 p. 34 (Friday 3 February)]

Photograph of S.M.Rich “in sports coat” taken in 1902 or 1903 [MS 168 AJ217/1 p. 34 (Friday 3 February)]

The Special Collections holds a variety of diaries and journals, some providing exhilarating accounts by Arctic explorers and of expeditions to the Nile.  However, a more everyday – but incredibly charming – record comes from Samuel Morris Rich.  We have in our strongroom an impressive 45 of his diaries dating from 1904 until his death in 1945: we like to think of him as our own twentieth-century Samuel Peyps (without the scandalous bits!).  Samuel was born in 1877 and for 40 years worked as a teacher at the Jews’ Free School in London; he was also heavily involved in the South London Liberal Jewish Synagogue.  He was married to Amy (nee Samuel) and they had two children, Connie and Sidney.

Photograph of Samuel's wife Amy. [MS 168 AJ217/1]

Photograph of Samuel’s wife Amy [MS 168 AJ217/1]

Samuel includes a photograph of  Amy at the beginning of his first volume (1905) and notes:

This portrait of Amy taken in the summer of 1898 makes a fitting frontispiece to the whole series of diaries. The dress & hat she wore on the first occasion I “took her out” – to the Crystal Palace – we met at Kennington Gate.

People have different objectives when starting a daily journal: they can be useful in resolving issues and achieving goals.  One of Samuel’s aims, it seems, was to improve his reading habits.  On New Year’s Eve 1904 he wrote this preface to his diary for the coming year:

I started a journal on Nov 26th of this year which I hope to continue until that day on which I join the great majority. The practice is useful for many reasons chief among which is the check it puts upon the method of spending one’s days.

The next day, 1 January, he expanded on his intentions:

On the last day of every month I will make a list of all books, essays or pamphlets read during the month: this will serve as an excellent check on my reading and I will be able to examine whether I have neglected to ready any good book whatever during the month.

A glance through various volumes indicates that Samuel didn’t stick to this initial intention; despite this lapse, it is hard to be critical of such a diligent diarist.

Photograph of Samuel and Amy Rich, 1901 [MS 168 AJ217/1]

Photograph of Samuel and Amy Rich, 1901 [MS 168 AJ217/1]

Samuel’s diaries provide a fascinating record of everyday life in the first half of the nineteenth century.  The timespan covers several world changing events including two world wars. On 28 July 1914 – the official date for the outbreak of the First World War – he records that he and his wife caught the 160 bus to Reigate and had “a good steak”.  He does, however, include a newspaper clipping which records that war had been declared by Austria-Hungary: he includes several of these during this period. The end of the War, 100 years ago in November this year, is recorded with great relief and celebration.

It is interesting to consider who Samuel was writing for; was it solely for his own benefit? Perhaps he wished to leave a record of his life for his children and grandchildren? His diaries are now packaged in acid-free boxes and stored in our climate-controlled strongroon: what would he made of that?! Could he ever have imagined that his diaries  would one day be preserved indefinately as a public record?

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The dangerous act of reading

6 September is Read a Book day.

The image of women as readers became common in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as literacy rates improved and women began to take part in the literary market. With this, however, came the idea of the danger of reading both in terms of appropriate reading matter and reading as an activity.

Illustration from The Lady's Monthly Museum vol. 8 (1802)

Women reading together from The Lady’s Monthly Museum vol. 8 (1802)

What was permissible for women to read was a matter of intense debate. Indeed, anything might be considered inappropriate since all books could be read subversively. Why books might be inappropriate was based on a range of arguments: that they might corrupt women’s minds and diminish them as women or that women might be unable to cope with emotionally provocative material. The case was also made that reading distracted women from their domestic duties as they learned about the world outside the home: a good and ideal woman should resist the pleasures of reading and take care of her husband and home.

Philosophy and metaphysics were subjects that women were most actively told to avoid, although it was the novel, which was written and read by women in increasing numbers in the late eighteenth and nineteenth century, that caused the most cultural anxiety. As soon as novels came to represent a significant share of the literary market, they became the subject of opposition. One accusation was that they created expectations which could not be fulfilled in life.

How women read books also became a matter of concern. Silent reading was considered dangerous and solitary reading self-indulgent and potentially rebellious. Reading aloud to others was encouraged as a defence against the “seductive” dangers of sentimental novels.

Solitary reading [MS 242 A800]

Solitary reading [MS 242 A800]

Mary Mee was the second wife of the second Viscount Palmerston and mother of the future British Prime Minister, Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston. Described as a lively and charming women and elegant society hostess, she shared with her husband an interest in literary enquiry. The catalogue of books in the Book-room at Broadlands during Lady Palmerston’s time shows the range of material available for her to read, included were not just the works from the Classics, but relating to history and travel, poetry, literature and a range of novels, together with many works in French arrayed along the South End.

Catalogue of the Book-room at Broadlands, 1791 [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR101/26]

Catalogue of the books in the Book-room at Broadlands [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR101/26]

What Lady Palmerston read, which included of history, travel writing and poetry — types of works considered acceptable reading for women — can be seen from her own poetry (“To a lady with Plutach’s works” being one example) and by references in her correspondence.

“I am now going to read Memoires du Comte Joseph Puisaye and when finished attack Barrow’s second volume [relating to his travels in Africa]. Fine time to improve one’s mind.  You will have at last one of the deepest read mother’s that son ever could boast of,” she noted in a letter to her son Henry, 28 May 1804 [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR21/10/28]

And in another letter to Henry, 9 July 1804, she discussed  the multi-volume set of the correspondence of Samuel Richardson published that year: “They are sad .. But interesting to me having … heard so much of most of the characters who are friends and correspondents … and much [is] said of my poor aunt and uncle Godeshall. I wish they had been published in their live, it would have amazed and gratified them.” [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR21/10/42]

Aside from Richardson, the success of whose novel Pamela might be said to mark the start in the growth of novels within the literary market, Broadlands held novels by a number of women authors, including Charlotte Lennox’s The Female Quixote (1752), Frances Sheridan’s Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph (1761), Frances Burney’s Evelina (1778) and Cecilia (1782), Charlotte Turner Smith’s Emmeline (1788), Ethelinde (1789) and Montalbert (1795) and Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho (1796). In Frances Burney was a writer who could produce the comic and satirical energies of Smollett or Henry Fielding. Charlotte Turner Smith has been credited with influencing Jane Austen and particularly Charles Dickens. Sheridan’s novel was one of the most popular of the period and focused on the story of a female rake. Yet while it challenged female characterisation and explored the possibility of free choice, the heroine was ultimately to have her freedom quashed.

If Lady Palmerston was to see the idea of free choice for women thwarted in novels, she maintained her own choices in her own life. Writing to her husband on 13 May 1792, after reading a copy of Mary Wollstonecroft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792) she noted “I have been reading the Rights of Women so you must in future expect me to be very tenacious of my rights and priviledges.” [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR11/18/5]

Listing of novels, including Joseph Andrews at north end of Book-room [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR101/26]

Listing of novels, including Joseph Andrews at north end of Book-room [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR101/26]

Amongst the array of the works of male novelists available at Broadlands were those of Tobias Smollett, Daniel Defoe, Laurence Sterne and Henry Fielding. Writing to her friend Emma Godfrey, 14 February 1803, Lady Palmerston extolled the merits of Fielding’s Joseph Andrews:

“I believe you have read a new work called Joseph Andrews. It certainly has not many equals. Surely no writer possessed a clearer knowledge at the human heart, of characters or their various casts, and so uncommon a share of wit and humour so ingeniously brought forward as Fielding, that the reader thinks [he] has some penetration in discerning it, for the author appears to assume no merit for the possession of his talents. His introductory chapters, his reflections are perfect of their kind and I hope if any time has passed since you made Mr Joseph Andrews’s acquaintance that you will immediately renew it.”

[MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR18/5/5/115-18]

And on this Read a Book day we hope that you will be similarly inspired to renew the acquaintance with a book that you have enjoyed reading.

Literature of Ireland: Spotlight on William Butler Yeats

This month we are celebrating all things Irish, and this week we are focusing on Irish literature in the Special Collections with the spotlight on William Butler Yeats’ works in our Rare Books collection.

W.B. Yeats, November 1896, The Celtic Twilights by W.B. Yeats [Rare Book X PR5704]

W.B. Yeats, November 1896

“Years afterwards, when I was ten or twelve years old and in London, I would remember Sligo with tears, and when I began to write, it was there I hoped to find my audience.” [Reveries over Childhood and Youth, by W.B. Yeats, 1916, Page 27, Rare Books PR 5904]

Son of John Butler Yeats and Susan Mary, née Pollexfen, William Butler Yeats was born in Sandymount, County Dublin, on 13 June 1865. The Yeats family consisted of clergymen and lawyers and married into links across Irish Protestants. While William’s mother came from a wealthy family involved in the milling and shipping industry, William’s father had studied law but abandoned it to study at Heatherley’s Art School in London.

Soon after his birth, William and his family moved to the Pollexfen home at Merville, Sligo to stay with extended family. William always thought of Merville as his childhood home and it was the subject of many poems.

Yeats was raised to support the Protestant Ascendancy, at a time when it was experiencing a power-shift. Major land reform was being demanded by the Land League, and Parliament passed laws that enabled most tenant farmers to purchase their lands and lowered the rents of others. This later led to the growth of the Home Rule movement with Charles Stewart Parnell (Leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party), and the Catholics becoming more prominent. These events undoubtedly had a weighty effect on Yeats and his poetry, and his reflections on Irish character.

Poems by W.B. Yeats, 1865-1939 [Rare Book x PR 5902]

Poems by W.B. Yeats (1895) Rare Books PR 5902

Returning to London in 1887 with the rest of his family, Yeats helped to form societies like the Irish Literary Society of London, preaching to his circle the importance of writing poems on your familiar surroundings rather than on landscapes you dream of. Yeats’ poems also had a focus on mythology and occultism, an interest that grew from his time at Erasmus Smith High School in Dublin. This can be seen in The Celtic Twilight, originally published in 1902.

The Celtic Twilight

The poems in The Celtic Twilight explore the strange and elfin realm of fairies, ghosts, and spirits. Yeats starts the book by explaining how he has “desired, like every artist, to create a little world out of the beautiful, pleasant, and significant things of this marred and clumsy world, and to show in a vision something of the face of Ireland to any of my own people who would look where I bid them” (Page I, Rare Books PR 5904).

The title refers to the hours before dawn, when Druids, members of the high-ranking professional class in ancient Celtic cultures, conducted their rituals. Referring to the dreamy and mysterious atmosphere that is often associated with Irish identity and prose, the volume is based on a diary that Yeats kept while rambling through the west country of Ireland. Here is a quote from ‘A Visionary’, the fourth text in The Celtic Twilight.

“The faeries in whom he believes have given him many subjects, notably Thomas of Ercildoune sitting motionless in the twilight while a young and beautiful creature leans softly out of the shadow and whispers in his ear. He had delighted above all in the strong effects of colour: spirits who have upon their heads instead of hair the feathers of peacocks; a phantom reaching from a swirl of flame towards a star; a spirit passing with a globe of iridescent crystal – symbol of the soul – half shut within his hand.” [Page 19]

Reveries over Childhood and Youth

Yeats published Reveries over Childhood and Youth in 1916. In this work he writes about his memories of living in London and Ireland, and moments shared with family members.

“A poignant memory came upon me the other day while I was passing the drinking-fountain near Holland Park, for there I and my sister had spoken together of our longing for Sligo and our hatred of London. I know we were both very close to tears and remember with wonder, for I had never known anyone that cared for such mementoes, that I longed for a sod of earth from some field I knew, something of Sligo to hold in my hand.” [Page 53, Rare Books PR 5904]

Reveries over Childhood and Youth by W.B. Yeats (1916) Rare Books PR 5904

Reveries over Childhood and Youth by W.B. Yeats (1916) Rare Books PR 5904

On the Boiler

“When I was a child and wandering about the Sligo Quays I saw a printed, or was it a painted notice? On such and such a day ‘the great McCoy will speak on the old boiler’.” [On the Boiler, by W.B. Yeats [1939] Page 9, Rare Books PR 5904]

Published during a time when Ireland was fighting an economic war with Britain, and experiencing its first elected president as head of state; Yeats poured his disappointments with Irish society into his work On the Boiler, which includes chapter titles such as ‘Tomorrow’s Revolution’ and ‘Ireland after the Revolution’.

“I was six years in the Irish Senate; I am not ignorant of politics elsewhere, and on other grounds I have some right to speak. I say to those that shall rule here: If ever Ireland again seems molten wax, reverse the process of revolution. Do not try to pour Ireland into any political system. Think first how many able men with public minds the country has, how many it can cope to have in the near future, and mould your system upon those men. It does not matter how you get them, but get them. Republics, Kingdoms, Soviets, Corporate States, Parliaments, are trash, as Hugo said of something else ‘not worth one blade of grass that God gives for the nest of the linnet.’ These men, whether six or six thousand, are the core of Ireland, are Ireland itself.” [Page 13]

Yeats was dissatisfied with the first printed edition, produced in 1938, and all but four copies were destroyed. Following Yeats’ death, in autumn 1939, a second edition was issued by the Cuala Press. The front cover was designed by Yeats’ brother, Jack B. Yeats.

On the Boiler, by W.B. Yeats, 1916 [Rare book X PR 5904]

On the Boiler, by W.B. Yeats [1939] Rare Books PR 5904

Jonathan Swift and the Temple family

Today marks the 350th birthday of Jonathan Swift (1667–1745), the Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, pamphleteer, poet, and cleric, best remembered as the author of Gulliver’s Travels (1726). Swift was born in Dublin on 30 November 1667 and was the second child of Jonathan Swift (1640–1667), a steward of the King’s Inns, Dublin, and his wife, Abigail Erick (1640–1710). His father died two months before he was born. Unable to support her son, his mother placed him in the care of his uncle, Godwin Swift. He was enrolled at Kilkenny College in 1674, and in 1682 entered Trinity College Dublin. Having received his bachelor’s degree in 1686, Swift continued at Trinity College to study for a master’s. However, Roman Catholic unrest in Ireland following the Glorious Revolution in 1688 forced him to quit his studies and leave for England.
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In England his mother found him a position as secretary to the English statesman and essayist Sir William Temple (1628-1699) at Moor Park in Surrey. During the subsequent decade, Swift assisted Temple in political errands and research for his essays and memoirs. Under Temple’s guidance, and with a rich library at his disposal, it was at Moor Park that Swift developed his skills as a writer. During this time he wrote a number of essays, including A Tale of a Tub and ‘The Battle of the Books’, published together in 1704 and both touching on the debate surrounding Temple’s essays on ancient and modern learning.

It was also during this time that Swift met Esther Johnson, known by her nickname “Stella”, whose mother was in the service of William Temple. Swift took a keen interest in Stella and acted as her tutor and mentor. The two would maintain a close relationship throughout their lives and a debate continues as to whether they were secretly married in 1716. Swift returned to Ireland twice during the decade he worked for Temple. During one of these visits, in 1695, he took the necessary steps to become an ordained priest in the Church of Ireland. After Temple’s death in 1699, Swift completed the task of editing and publishing his memoirs. This, however, resulted in a clash with members of the Temple family, most notably Lady Gifford (Temple’s sister), who argued against Swift’s inclusion of material against Temple’s wishes.

The works of Sir William Temple, bart. edited by Jonathan Swift [Rare Books quarto PR 3729.T2]

The works of Sir William Temple, bart. edited by Jonathan Swift [Rare Books quarto PR 3729.T2]

Sir William Temple had two sisters, Martha (later Lady Gifford) and Mary, and a brother, John. Sir John Temple (1632-1705) was an Irish lawyer and politician and father of Henry Temple, first Viscount Palmerston (1673-1757), who purchased the Broadlands estate in 1736. It is through this link that the Broadlands archives contain a number of items relating to Swift.

The two earliest items date from 1724. The first of these is a letter to Henry Temple, first Viscount Palmerston, from Lewis Roberts, his lawyer in Dublin, dated 6 October 1724. The letters contains a reference to Swift’s speeches against William Wood’s Irish half penny [MS 62 BR140/4/8], delivered from the pulpit of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin where Swift had held the position of dean since 1713. William Wood was an English manufacturer who had been granted a patent to mint copper halfpence for Ireland. The response in Ireland was one of outrage. There was a strong belief that the wishes of the Irish parliament had been bypassed and that the inferior quality of the money would devalue Irish coinage and damage the local economy. Swift was one of the most vocal critics in the campaign against Wood and published several pamphlets containing open letters and poetic broadsides on the subject. The letters, written under the pseudonym M. B. Drapier, were later published collectively as Drapier’s Letters. The opposition to the halfpenny was so strong that it occasionally took on a violent form, with Oliver Ferguson noting that “in Cork a mob prevented a shipment of halfpence from being unloaded, and threatened to burn the ship; and in Dublin Wood was hanged in effigy – an event which Swift celebrated with A Full and True Account of…the Execution of William Wood.”

Among Swift’s poetic broadsides on the subject was ‘Prometheus’, originally published around November 1724. It was retitled ‘Prometheus. On Wood the Patentee’s Irish Half-Pence’ in later collections. A manuscript copy of the poem, dating from 1724, can be found in the Broadlands collection [MS 62 BR3/36].

Prometheus, a Poem by Jonathan Swift [BR3/36]

Prometheus, a Poem by Jonathan Swift [BR3/36]

Another group of items relating to Swift are three letters exchanged between Swift and first Viscount Palmerston from January 1725/6 [MS 62 BR3/63-5]. The two men had known each other since Swift’s time at Moor Park. As with other members of the Temple family, their relationship was strained. Three months earlier, in the fourth of his Drapier’s letters (titled To the Whole People of Ireland), Swift had named Palmerston among the Englishmen who held substantial sinecures paid for out of the Irish treasury.

The short exchange, which can be found among Swift’s published letters, centres on the letting of rooms at Trinity College Dublin to a William Curtis who Swift claims “has been very unjustly and injuriously treated” [MS 62 BR3/63]. Swift is of the understanding that Palmerston had granted the rooms to a John Elwood for life and, as such, Elwood had the right to sublet them to Mr Curtis. In his response, Palmerston informs Swift that the rooms had been granted to Elwood for his personal use, and not for subletting, and that “When he quits, I am att liberty to dispose of the premises again” [MS 62 BR3/64]. In the final letter, Swift acquits Palmerston “of any injury or injustice done to Mr. Curtis”, noting that the “injury and injustice he received were from those who claimed a title to his chambers, took away his key, reviled and threatened to beat him, with a great deal more of the like brutal conduct” [MS 62 BR3/65].

Swift's signature [MS 62 BR3/63]

Swift’s signature [MS 62 BR3/63]

While the matter is ultimately cleared up, the tension in the exchange is palpable. Swift, in his first letter, states that he will refrain from commenting on William Curtis’ character, referencing a Thomas Stauton who he had once recommended to Palmerston but “whom you afterward rejected, expressing your reason for doing so, that I had recommended him.” Concerning the rejection he concedes, with more than a hint of sarcasm, that “these are some of the refinements among you great men, which are above my low understanding” [MS 62 BR3/63]. Palmerston adopts an equally sarcastic tone in the opening of his reply, stating that “I should not give my selfe the trouble to answer your polite letter, were I as unconcerned about character & reputation as some are.” He then proceeds to clarify the conditions under which the rooms had been granted to Mr Eldwood and defend himself concerning his dismissal of Mr Stauton, which was due to “his demand of a large additional salary, more than he had before my time”, noting that “he left the office, and was not turned out” [MS 62 BR3/64].

Palmerston concludes his letter with a powerful statement:

“My desire is to be in charity with all men; could I say as much of you, you had sooner inquired into this matter, or if you had any regard to a family you owe so much to; but I fear you hugged the false report to cancel all feelings of gratitude that must ever glow in a generous breast, and to justify what you had declared, that no regard to the family was any restraint to you. These refinements are past my low understanding, and can only be comprehended by you great wits. I always thought in you I had a friend in Ireland, but find myself mistaken. I am sorry for it; my comfort is, it is none of my fault. If you had taken any thing amiss, you might have known the truth from me. I shall always be as ready to ask pardon when I have offended, as to justify myself when I have not.” [MS 62 BR3/64]

Swift opens the final letter with the line “I desire you will give yourself the last trouble I shall ever put you to; I mean of reading this letter.” Then, in addition to acquitting Palmerston, he acknowledges his indebtedness to the Temple family, and defends himself against any misunderstanding, stating: “My lord, if my letter were polite, it was against my intentions, and I desire your pardon for it” [MS 62 BR3/64]. Palmerston has endorsed the letter as “Not answered”. The matter of the rooms at Trinity College was later taken up by third Viscount Palmerston in a letter written in 1813 to his agent, Graves Swan, in which he requests Swan to pursue his claim to the rooms [MS 62 BR146/10/1].

Jonathan Swift held the position of dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin until his death on 19 October 1745, at the age of 77.

Netley and the Gothic

With this year marking the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen and Halloween being almost upon us, we explore the gothic ruins of Netley Abbey – the inspiration for many a literary endeavour…

Lying on the eastern bank of Southampton Water, Netley Abbey is one of the best surviving Cistercian abbeys in England. The abbey was founded in 1238 by Peter des Roches, the Bishop of Winchester, shortly before his death. The following year a colony of monks arrived from nearby Beaulieu Abbey (founded by King John in 1203). Netley was dedicated in 1246 and, following its completion, was home to about 15 monks and 30 lay brothers, officials, and servants. Henry III became a patron in 1251, bringing great wealth to the abbey.

Netley Abbey Overgrown

Netley Abbey Overgrown

The dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII brought monastic life at Netley to an end. Following its seizure in 1536 the buildings were granted to Sir William Paulet, a loyal Tudor politician, who converted them into a mansion. The abbey was used as a country house until the early 18th century, after which it was abandoned. At this time much of the brickwork added by Paulet was removed to be used for building materials. The site then fell into neglect, becoming overgrown with trees and ivy.

In time, the site came to be celebrated as a romantic ruin, eventually becoming a tourist attraction and providing inspiration to writers and artists of the Romantic Movement, including John Constable, Thomas Gray, and Horace Walpole. The latter wrote that “they are not the ruins of Netley, but of Paradise”. It is also believed that Jane Austen drew inspiration from the abbey for her Gothic parody Northanger Abbey.

Visitors at Netley Abbey

Visitors at Netley Abbey

Among the numerous other visitors was Mary, Viscountess Palmerston, who recorded her visit in a letter to her husband, the second Viscount, on 6 August 1788:

On Monday we set off from Southampton at ten in an open boat as there was not wind enough to allow of our making use of the cutter. Our party, the Hatsells, Sloane, Stephen, Maria, Captain Southerby, Mr Ballaird and a Mr and Mrs Barton great friends of the D’Oyleys, and in truth in that consists all their merit, for I have not often seen more disagreeable people. We had a most delightful row to Governor Hornby. I think you have been there and I dare say admire the situation which is in my opinion in point of view superior to anything in this country. We went on board the yatch which lies at anchor in the Hamble River which is certainly a most complete vessel. We then row’d up to Netley where we had a most elegant dinner, Sloane having sent his cook to prepare our repast, and in the cool of the evening we repair’d to the Abby which considering every circumstance of the trees, the emannance of the ivy, the beautiful state and the situation of the ruins please me more than any I ever saw. We drank tea in the abby and came home by land. I return’d to Broadlands that night.
[MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR 11/13/1]

The Cope collection contains a range of material relating to Netley Abbey, including early guidebooks, poems, a novel, and even an opera. Evidence of its popularity can also be found in the wealth of visual material among the collection.

Two of earliest items are poems. The Ruins of Netley Abby: a Poem, in Blank Verse: to which is Prefixed A Short Account of that Monastery, from its First Foundation, Collected from the Best Authority was printed in 1765. This anonymous history and poem was published during the early years of Netley’s fame and creates a vivid image of a haunted Gothic ruin:

Though claps of thunder rock and tottering pile,
And the swift lightning’s oft repeated flash
Glance through the window with its fading fire—
Or if some meteor in the great expanse,
With streaming flame o’erhand the shaggy top,
Casting a glare amid the foliage wild,
That spreads romantic o’er the abby walls—
Though from some dark recess with ghastly stare,
An airy troop of pale cold shiv’ring ghosts
Should lightly skim along the lonesome void,
By the blue vaporing lamp here let him sit,
Or by the twinkling glow-worm’s yellow light,
Behold the hour-glass ebb, and grain by brain
The trickling sand descend; whilst o’er his head
Along the broken structure hoar and rough
The moping scriech-owl, fatal bird of night,
Claps ominous her wings, foreboding death.
[The ruins of Netley Abby : a poem, in blank verse (Rare Books Cope NET 26)]

Netley Abbey, an Elegy by George Keate (1729–97) was first published in 1764, with a second expanded edition appearing in 1769. Keate was a poet, naturalist, antiquary, and artist, best known for his poem The Alps, a Poem which was praised for its “truth of description and vigour of imagination.” In his Netley poem he sets a melancholy mood as he provides topographic descriptions of the abbey alongside moral reflections:

I hail at last these shades, this well-known wood,
That skirts with verdant slope the barren strand,
Where Netley’s ruins, bordering on the flood,
Forlorn in melancholy greatness stand.

How changed, alas! From the revered abode,
Graced by proud majesty in ancient days,
When monks recluse these sacred pavements trod,
And taught the unlettered world its maker’s praise!

Now sunk, deserted, and with weeds o’ergrown,
Yon prostrate walls their harder fate bewail;
Low on the ground their topmost spires are thrown,
Once friendly marks to guide the wandering sail.

[…]

Oh! Trust not, then, the force of radiant eyes,
Those short-lived glories of your sportive band;
Pleased with its stars, through laughing morn arise,
A steadier beam meridian skies demand!

Reflect, ere, victor of each lovely frame,
Time bids the external fleeting grace fade,
’Tis Reason’s base supports the noblest claim,
’Tis sense preserves the conquests Beauty made.
[Netley Abbey, an Elegy (Rare Books Cope NET 26)]

The second edition of the poem increased the number of stanzas from 26 to 50 and can be found reprinted with John Bullar’s Visit to Netley Abbey (discussed further below).

Netley Abbey: a Gothic Story, Richard Warner (Rare Books Cope NET 81 WAR)

Netley Abbey: a Gothic Story, Richard Warner (Rare Books Cope NET 81 WAR)

Richard Warner’s novel Netley Abbey: a Gothic Story was published in two volumes in 1795. Warner (1763–1857) was a clergyman and writer, particularly of books on topographical and antiquarian topics. Netley Abbey, his first publication, recounts the adventures of Edward de Villars, the son of Baron de Villars, a loyal servant of Edward I. The Baron is banished from the court of Edward II after which he and his family relocate to the estate of Sir Hildebrand Warren near Netley Abbey. Edward receives a supernatural warning about sinister events taking place in the area and proceeds to encounter a host of gothic characters, including plotting villains, rescued captives, ghostly apparitions, and a mysterious black knight. The novel is formulaic and contains many of the gothic tropes and plot devices established in The Castle of Otranto. However, it does differ in the fact that, unlike Walpole and Matthew Lewis, Warner employs a real place. Matthew Woodworth notes that “it is the abbey’s architecture – the style of ruined Gothic itself – that is the most threatening character of all, constantly drenched in the menace of full moonlight.” It was the likes of Warner’s work that helped turn Netley into “a pivotal monument of the Georgian Zeitgeist.”

Given the popularity of the site as a tourist destination, guidebooks inevitable followed. A prominent example is John Bullar’s A companion in a visit to Netley Abbey, first published in 1800. Keate’s elegy can be found annexed to the early editions of the guidebook, with an advertisement in the volume noting that: “When first Mr Keate published his elegy entitled Netley Abbey, he prefixed to it a short sketch of the history of the foundation. In the present publication, that account has been considerably enlarged; and such other additions have been made, as to render it a Guide to those who may visit these beautifully situated ruins.” [A companion in a visit to Netley Abbey, John Bullar (Rare Books Cope NET 26)]. Running into nine editions, the guidebook provides topographical details, along with a history of the abbey, a number of vignettes, and a ground plan of the site.

Inside view of Netley Abbey

Inside view of Netley Abbey

The extremes and common tropes of the Gothic tradition made it rich territory for satire. William Pearce’s Netley Abbey: an operatic farce in two acts pokes fun at the fashion for visiting Gothics ruins, as well as the recreation of ruins (in the form of follys) on the lands of the aristocracy. The plot follows the exploits of Oakland, his daughter, Lucy, and his son, Captain Oakland, the latter of who wishes to marry the impoverished Ellen Woodbine. It transpires that Oakland is being defrauded by his agent, Rapine, who is also responsible for the fire that destroyed the Woodbine estate. The tale culminates in the Rapine being exposed and the lovers being united against the backdrop of Netley Abbey. First performed at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, in 1794, Paul Rice notes that the portrayal of the ruins of the abbey on stage in the final scene was “highly evocative and gained much audience approval.”

Netley Abbey, Thomas Ingoldsby (Rare Books Cope quarto NET 26)]

Netley Abbey, Thomas Ingoldsby (Rare Books Cope quarto NET 26)]

Netley Abbey by Thomas Ingoldsby was first published as part of The Ingoldsby legends, or, Mirth and marvels in the 1840s. The name Thomas Ingoldsby was the pseudonym for the Reverend Richard Harris Barham (1788-1845). A writer, as well as a clergyman, he was best known for his series of myths, legends, ghost stories and poems. While his writings were based on traditional legends, Ingoldsby’s versions contain strong elements of satire and parody – with Netley Abbey being no exception:

And yet, fair Netley, as I gaze
Upon that grey and mouldering wall,
The glories of thy palmy days
Its very stones recall!–
They ‘come like shadows, so depart’–
I see thee as thou wert — and art –

Sublime in ruin!– grand in woe!
Lone refuge of the owl and bat;
No voice awakes thine echoes now!
No sound — Good Gracious!– what was that?
Was it the moan,
The parting groan
Of her who died forlorn and alone,
Embedded in mortar, and bricks, and stone?–
Full and clear On my listening ear
It comes–again–near, and more near–
Why ‘zooks! it’s the popping of Ginger Beer!
[Netley Abbey, Thomas Ingoldsby (Rare Books Cope quarto NET 26)]

The 1889 edition in the Cope collection was published posthumously with the poem accompanied by lithographic illustrations by Enest M. Jessop.

During the 20th century, changing attitudes led to the clearing of the vegetation and debris from the abbey ruins. All traces of the later alterations were removed, and the ruins were returned to their pristine state. The abbey is now an English Heritage site and continues to draw a large number of visitors every year. As part of the events for Jane Austen 200 there will be a series of lantern Halloween ghost walks at the abbey from 30 October to 1 November. Further details can be found at: https://www.sarahsiddonsfanclub.org/events/a-mystery-of-a-horrible-nature-lantern-halloween-ghost-walk/

Reading Readers in the Special Collections

In this week’s blog post Jennifer Scott, a PhD candidate in the English Department, examines a unique copy of Oscar Wilde’s The Ballad of Reading Goal held in the Special Collections.

There is something undeniably thrilling about handling an early or rare edition of a much-loved work of literature. An even greater thrill of working with Special Collections, however, sometimes comes from an unexpected discovery. The Hartley Library’s copy of The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde – a copy of the fourth edition of this work from 1898 – was, for me, one of those discoveries, holding between its covers a special collection of its very own.

The book is inscribed ‘R. Bruce Boswell 1898’ and has been treated as a kind of scrapbook. Pasted throughout, on the blank verso sides of the pages alongside the text, as well as on the book’s inside covers, are numerous contemporary newspaper clippings, many of which have been marked and dated in the owner’s hand. The clippings concern Oscar Wilde himself, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, the impending publication of De Profundis in 1905, and debates surrounding penal reform. Boswell’s careful collation of these clippings, as well as his written comments, show a reader forming links between the reports of the press and Wilde’s own poetic description of his prison experience.

Examining Boswell’s pencil markings, which range from ambiguous crosses and question marks to more revealing statements and questions, one gains a sense of a reader who was sceptical of Wilde’s account and of his views – a reader who even had the gall to correct some of Wilde’s most famous lines, changing ‘Each man kills the thing he loves’ to ‘Each man may kill the thing he loves’ and replacing ‘The brave man with a sword’ with ‘The bravo with a sword’!

Yet, one may also discover a reader willing to thoroughly engage with Wilde’s text and open-minded enough to also highlight some consistencies between Wilde’s account and those reported in the papers.

Remarkably, Boswell is not the only reader to have left their mark on this book either. A second reader, identifiable only as E.G.C., has responded to comments by Boswell, showing debates about penal reform, and Wilde’s place within it, to have transcended public spaces such as courtrooms and the House of Commons, and to have also occurred more privately.

This book provides a unique glimpse of some of the ways in which ordinary readers responded to Wilde and his poem following his release from prison in 1897. Despite Wilde’s name being too cloaked in scandal to appear on the ballad until 1899, Boswell’s copy reveals just how open the secret of its authorship was.

The first six editions of The Ballad of Reading Gaol bore only Wilde’s cell number, C.3.3.

The first six editions of The Ballad of Reading Gaol bore only Wilde’s cell number, C.3.3.

Furthermore, it reveals the human complexity of Wilde’s readership, which did not fall, as it is so easy to imagine, into black and white categories of supporters and detractors. The marginalia of R. Bruce Boswell and E.G.C. rather exhibit a developing engagement with this text that was influenced by both public and private debate.

I first wrote about this book in my MA thesis in 2010. I am now studying for a PhD and recently revisited the book for a conference paper, which I delivered at the British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS) Annual conference on 23 August 2017.

Reflections on war

To mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Siegfried Sassoon, this blog will look at a number of collections in the Special Collections reflecting on warfare in the 20th century. These include two poems by the long-time friend of Sassoon, Edmund Blunden.

Edmund Blunden (1896-1974) was the longest serving First World War poet, and saw continuous action in the front line, between 1916-18. According to his friend and fellow poet Siegfried Sassoon, Blunden was the poet of the war “most lastingly obsessed by it”. The period that Blunden served at the front saw some of the most violent and bloody fighting, including the Battle of the Somme and the Third Battle of Ypres. He had very definite views on war writing, insisting that it had to be accurate in detail and  in spirit and he shared with Sassoon a belief that the First World War had been a terrible waste of life.

The Special Collections holds two of Blunden’s poems (MS10): fair copies of ‘Portrait of a colonel’ and ‘The passer-by’. Both were published in Retreat (London, 1928) with the former renamed as ‘On a portrait of a colonel’.

Opening lines of Edmund Blunden's Portrait of a colonel [MS10 A243/2]

Opening lines of Edmund Blunden’s ‘Portrait of a colonel’ [MS10 A243/2]

A more substantial literary collection held at Southampton is MS328, that of Frank Templeton Prince (1912-2003). He is probably best remembered for his collection Soldiers Bathing (1954), the title poem of which is one of the most anthologised poems of the Second World War. His archive collection contains not only notebooks and drafts of poems and prose writing, 1920s-87, but long series of correspondence, including correspondence with Edmund Blunden, 1932-58.

F.T.Prince [MS328 A834/1/11/10]

F.T.Prince [MS328 A834/1/11/10]

The soldier hero has proved to be one of the most durable and powerful ideas of idealised masculinity in western tradition since antiquity. For the poet Martin Bell, however, there was nothing heroic about either soldiering or military service, for him it was a life of crushing boredom. Bell volunteered for the Royal Engineers in 1939, in order, so he claimed, to avoid being called into the infantry. He spent his war service in camp as a hospital orderly both in UK and in the Mediterranean, and later as an instructor. His collection (MS12) of correspondence to Joan Broomfield, who was one of his circle of friends from his days at University College, Southampton, contains scathing comments on army life as well as reflecting his literary progress and including poems he had written. In a letter to Joan Broomfeld, from 1943, he expressed his dislike of army life and the boredom of his duties “we Pavlov’s dogs commended by imperious telephones, we cramp our reluctant flesh into organisation…” [MS12 A767/37]

The collection (MS376) of the poet Judith Lask Grubler provides very different reflections on warfare during the Second World War, drawing as she does a picture from the home front. In her writings, which date from the 1930s onwards, Grubler gives a contemporary account in such war related poems as ‘After the raids’ of the experience of civilians facing bombing raids on London.

This material fits well with a small collection of correspondence of Nora Harvey, a student at University College, Southampton, 1939. She writes of the impact of the war on the University as well as Southampton’s role as a port of embarkation and as a military camp. She noted that: “….Part of the college building is being used for a hospital and ARP depot etc….  The Common is horrid – all roped off, full of soldiers and rest camps. Lorry loads of troops are continually going up and down outside our window, and we can hear troops being drilled at all hours of the day.” [MS310/63 A4028]

Students outside a sandbag protected University College of Southampton, 4 October 1939 [MS310/43 A2038/2]

Students outside a sandbag protected University College of Southampton, 4 October 1939 [MS310/43 A2038/2]

Other papers reflecting on war include: diaries of Revd Michael Adler (MS125); letters and diary of Private Paul Epstein (MS124); correspondence and diaries of Leonard Stein (MS170); correspondence of Fred Salinger, Gallipoli (MS209); and correspondence of Frederick Dudley Samuel (MS336).

Revd Adler was one of a small number of Jewish chaplains attached to the forces in France. He, along with his colleagues worked tirelessly to visit the camps, training areas and hospitals to fulfil their pastoral duties. The four diaries that Adler kept for this period provide a brief record of his activities during his tours of duty rather than an analytical or personal account of his experiences as chaplain. They are detached and sparse in their detail and tone, as befits the type of record they represent, but also perhaps representing the need for detachment in dealing with a traumatic situation.

Private Epstein was a Russian conscript to the Royal Fusiliers (the Jewish Regiment) who served in the Palestine campaign. He suffered greatly from home sickness and this is recorded in his diary and correspondence. His letters describe daily events in great detail and he maintained his diary, even when he had nothing to record. Sometimes he summarises the content of his letters home in his diary. He used his letters as a means to maintain some sense of normality and create a strong link with home. As he noted in a letter to his parents of 16 March 1918: “A line to inform you that I received your second letter last Fri[day] March 13th and the sight of it was worth to me untold wealth…” [MS124 AJ 15/2]

Major Frederick Dudley Samuel [MS336 A2097/1]

Frederick Dudley Samuel [MS336 A2097/1]

Frederick Dudley Samuel, CBE, DSO (1877-1951) served in the South African war of 1901-2 and then with the British Expeditionary Forces in France, 1915-18. His archive consists mainly of correspondence written on an almost daily basis to his fiancée, later his wife, Dorothy, 1909-18. His letters from France depict the grim detail of life at the front line. In a letter of 5 April 1917 he talks of the “frightful waste of men, material and time it all is, all devoted to distruction when it should all be devoted to production”. [MS336 A2097/8/2/31]

Envelope of letter from Fred Samuel to his wife, 1917 [MS336 A2097/8/2/31]

Envelope of the letter from Frederick Samuel to his wife, 5 April 1917 [MS336 A2097/8/2/31]

The collections at Southampton provide a range of material and of experiences of 20th-century warfare and the reflections they contain still speak to us as loudly today as they ever did.

Jane Austen’s Southampton

Jane Austen’s association with Southampton is often overlooked — it does not provide as picturesque a backdrop to her life as Bath or Winchester, nor is it a setting for any of her novels. Nevertheless, Southampton was briefly her home as a schoolgirl and again from October 1806 until early 1809. Although much of the town that she knew no longer exists, glimpses of it can be seen in many of the Cope Collection’s older prints and in contemporary publications such as The Southampton Guide (1806).

It was after the death of Rev. George Austen, that Jane, her mother, her sister Cassandra, and friend Martha Lloyd, moved to Southampton to set up home with her brother Frank and his wife. At first they lived in lodgings, but in March 1807 moved to 2 Castle Square, a house rented by Frank from the Marquis of Lansdowne, the owner of the mock gothic castle nearby.

Tobias Young A near view of Southampton in 1819; taken from the banks of the canal near the tunnel (1819) in Cope, Sir W.H. Views in Hampshire, v.4: illus. 116 [Rare Books Cope ff 91.5]. Castle Square is thought to be the large house with tall chimneys in front of the castle.

Tobias Young ‘A near view of Southampton in 1819; taken from the banks of the canal near the tunnel’ (1819) in Cope, Sir W.H. Views in Hampshire, v.4: illus. 116 [Rare Books Cope ff 91.5]. Castle Square is thought to be the large house with tall chimneys in front of the castle.

Jane described preparations for the move in letters written to Cassandra, who was visiting their brother in Kent. She appeared especially pleased with the garden, in which the town wall formed a terrace overlooking the river. Her remark that “We hear that we are envied our House by many people and that the Garden is the best in the town” is confirmed in the contemporary guidebook by Sir Henry Englefield, who described the view from the gardens in Castle Square as “commanding an enchanting view of the bay, from the town to the village of Millbrook, and the river beyond it quite to Redbridge”.

T.H. Skelton All Saints Church (Southampton, 1811) [Rare Books Cope c SOU 26 pr.832]

T.H. Skelton ‘All Saints Church’ (Southampton, 1811) [Rare Books Cope c SOU 26 pr.832]

Something of the life led by the Austen family in Southampton can be seen in later letters to Cassandra. They attended All Saints Church, the comparatively new church at the corner of the High Street and East Street, visited the market near the Audit House and no doubt the pastry-cook Mr Webb, whose house was badly damaged by a fire which Jane Austen witnessed. Dealings with silk dyers were mentioned, spruce beer was brewed and books read each evening, much time was also spent receiving and paying calls.

Southampton in 1806 in The Southampton Atlas (Southampton, 1907) [Cope ff SOU 90.5]

Southampton in 1806 in The Southampton Atlas (Southampton, 1907) [Cope ff SOU 90.5]

The streets of Southampton must have become very familiar to Jane Austen. A “regular walk” took in Bellevue, the large house towards the northern end of London Road and the Austens also enjoyed the pleasant walk through the suburb of Above Bar to the Polygon. A certain amount of stamina was needed to visit the Lances of Chessel House, Bitterne, which involved walking to the ferry to cross the Itchen, continuing to the house which was in the vicinity of Chessel Avenue and returning home via the new Northam Bridge. After such a walk in Dec 1808, Jane described herself and Martha Lloyd as “scarcely at all fatigued”.

T. Younge A view of the New Bridge at Northam (c.1797) [Rare Book Cope c SOU 43 pr.845]

T. Younge ‘A view of the New Bridge at Northam’ (c.1797) [Rare Book Cope c SOU 43 pr.845]

There were occasional visits to the theatre, apparently not well thought of – “Martha ought to see the inside of the Theatre once while she lives in Southampton & I think she will hardly wish to take a second view” and also to the Ball. Only attendances at those held at the Dolphin during the winter months are recorded, Jane attending one in December 1808 and also the Queen’s Birthday Assembly Ball in January 1809.

The Southampton Guide (Southampton, 1806) [Rare Books Cope SOU 03.5 1806]

The Southampton Guide (Southampton, 1806) [Rare Books Cope SOU 03.5 1806]

The Austens hosted a number of family visits during their years in Southampton. A visit in September 1807 by Edward Austen Knight, his wife Elizabeth and children William and Fanny was recorded by Fanny, then aged fourteen. On Sunday, after going to Church there was a walk to the Polygon, Monday included a visit to the theatre and Tuesday brought a boat trip to Hythe. On Wednesday everyone except Mrs Austen senior took a boat to Netley Abbey and according to Fanny, they ate some biscuits which they had taken, and returned quite delighted. Later the same day she and her Aunt Jane walked in the High Street till late. On the final day, all except Aunt Jane went on a drive through the New Forest to Lyndhurst and Lymington.

John Hassell Netley Abbey (London, 1807) [Rare Books Cope c NET 26 pr.669]

John Hassell ‘Netley Abbey’ (London, 1807) [Rare Books Cope c NET 26 pr.669]

Jane Austen’s letters record little of her views on Southampton itself, but some of the residents did not escape her judgement. Of Mrs Lance of Chessel House she wrote, “they live in a handsome style and are rich, and she seemed to like to be rich”, of a Mrs Bertie, “Mrs Bertie lives in the Polygon, & was out when we returned her visit – which are her two virtues” and of the Marchioness of Lansdowne and Mr Husket, the painter employed by the Marquis, “I suppose when the Walls want no touching up, he is employed about My Lady’s face”.

In recent years, Jane Austen has been reclaimed as a famous former resident of Southampton, there is now a Jane Austen Heritage Trail and her remark on the “stinking fish of Southampton” has not only been forgiven but also adopted as the name of the festival with which the City is marking the 200th anniversary of her death.

Bibliography

Austen, Jane Jane Austen’s Letters ed. Deidre Le Faye 4th ed. (Oxford, 2011)

Englefield, Henry A Walk through Southampton 2nd ed. (Southampton, 1805)

Le Faye, Deidre A Chronology of Jane Austen and her Family (Cambridge, 2006)

International Children’s Book Day

To mark International Children’s Book Day which is celebrated on Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday on April 2nd, we take a look at some of the children’s books in Special Collections.

Although children’s literature is not a focus of the collections at Southampton, examples of children’s books, both educational and recreational can be found amongst the Rare Books. There are schoolbooks belonging to Henry Robinson Hartley, to whom the University owes its existence, books of instruction in farm life in the Perkins Agricultural Library and in the Salisbury Collection, examples of ‘botanical dialogues’, which take the form of a series of questions and answers. In Maria Edgeworth’s Dialogues on Botany for the Use of Young Persons (London, 1819) the children, Fanny, Emma and Cecil “were so much interested in the structure and growth of vegetables that they seldom let a day pass without soliciting some instruction from their Aunt”.  There are also books on history and geography, and in Letters Written from London (London, 1807) the young visitor’s description of the street traders, their wares and their cries gives an insight into daily life in the capital.

Letters Written from London (London, 1807) Rare Books DA 678

Letters Written from London (London, 1807) Rare Books DA 678

As well as the educational books, there are also examples of the picture books or ‘toy books’ printed by Edmund Evans (1826-1905), the leading woodblock colour printer in London. Although early nineteenth-century children’s books often included illustrations, these were usually black and white engravings or woodblock prints, and if coloured, the quality was generally poor. Colourful picture books, recognisable to children of today, appeared only after the mechanization of printing and advances in colour printing techniques. These changes, coinciding with a growing market for well-produced children’s books amongst the middle and upper classes meant that picture books became a profitable line for many publishers.

Evans had perfected the technique of reproducing the colours of original illustrations by using as many as sixteen woodblocks and eight to twelve colours for a single illustration. In his toy books fewer blocks and colours were used, but the results were a vast improvement on existing coloured illustrations. Having printed a series of toy books for Routledge in the mid-1860s, Evans went on to set up his own business, commissioning illustrations from Walter Crane (1845-1915), Randolph Caldecott (1846-1886) and Kate Greenaway (1846-1901), now regarded as amongst the greatest children’s illustrators of the Victorian period.

The Baby’s Opera (London, 1877) Rare Books PZ 8.3 CRA

The Baby’s Opera (London, 1877) Rare Books PZ 8.3 CRA

Crane’s The Baby’s Opera (1877) was something of a deluxe toy book. It included the music as well as the words of nursery songs and demonstrated Crane’s approach to book illustration as a decorative art, encompassing the book as a whole, rather than focussing individual illustrations. A member of the Arts and Crafts Movement, he was influenced by his study of Japanese colour prints, emulating their sharp outlines and flat or very deep perspective in his own work.

The Baby’s Opera (London, 1877) Rare Books PZ 8.3 CRA

The Baby’s Opera (London, 1877) Rare Books PZ 8.3 CRA

Randolph Caldecott had already contributed illustrations to a range of publications, including Punch and the Illustrated London News before he was engaged by Evans in 1878 to illustrate two picture books each Christmas, an arrangement which continued until his early death in 1886. The books featured nursery rhymes or fairy tales and in Sing a Song for Sixpence (1880) Caldecott’s detailed yet vigorous drawings, show the appeal of his work to children. Caldecott also illustrated a number Juliana Horatia Ewing’s books for Evans, these being published by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

Sing a Song for Sixpence (London, 1880) Rare Books PZ 8.3 CAL

Sing a Song for Sixpence (London, 1880) Rare Books PZ 8.3 CAL

In 1879 Evans engraved and printed Kate Greenaway‘s collection of poetry and drawings Under the Window, after which she rarely entrusted her work to anyone else. In Little Ann and Other Poems (1883) Greenaway illustrated the poems of the early nineteenth-century poet Jane Taylor, the children being dressed in her characteristic interpretation of the fashions of the early nineteenth century. Such was her popularity that Liberty’s of London introduced a line of children’s clothes, based on her drawings.

Little Ann and Other Poems (London, 1883) Rare Books PZ 8.3 TAY

Little Ann and Other Poems (London, 1883) Rare Books PZ 8.3 TAY

The picture books in Special Collections have come from a variety of sources, some having been donated and others having been part of the Library of La Sainte Union College of Education. As well as the original nineteenth-century publications, there are modern facsimiles of early children’s books in a selection of titles acquired for the School of Education from the Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books at Toronto Public Library. More recent publications of classic children’s books can be found in the Children’s Fiction Collection on the open shelves of the Hartley Library.

Researching the life of Pamela Frankau

This week’s blog post looks at two literary figures who are the subject of a recently catalogued collection in Special Collections.

Pamela Frankau
Pamela Frankau was born on 3 January 1908. She was the younger of two daughters of the novelist Gilbert Frankau (1884-1952) and his first wife Dorothea Frances Drummond Black. After Gilbert left the family in 1919, Pamela and her sister, Ursula, were sent as boarders to Burgess Hill School for Girls in Sussex. While initially keen to pursue the stage, her gift for writing soon took over.

Photograph of Pamela Frankau [MS 412 A4104/3/1/3]

Photograph of Pamela Frankau [MS 412 A4104/3/1/3]

Pamela’s paternal grandmother, Julia Frankau (1859-1916), was also a successful novelist, writing under the name ‘Frank Danby’. According to Pamela’s cousin Diana Raymond, it was through her grandmother that she inherited a strong Jewish literary inheritance. Pamela published her first novel, Marriage of Harlequin (1927), at the age of nineteen at which time she was recognised as the “talented daughter of a famous father”. Over the years, however, her success would match that of her father and by the time she was thirty she had already written twenty novels.

In 1931 she met the poet Humbert Wolfe, with whom she had a long term relationship which lasted until his death in 1940. In the years following Wolfe’s death she spent much of her time in the States and didn’t publish another novel for almost a decade. It was during this time that she converted to Roman Catholicism. She married Marshall Dill (1916–2000), an American naval intelligence officer, in 1945 but the marriage foundered, and ended in divorce in 1951. She also had a number of intimate relationships with women throughout her life, including theatre director Margaret Webster, which began in the mid-1950s.

In 1949, she published her most successful novel, The Willow Cabin, which was partially based on her relationship with Wolfe. While many of her novels received high acclaim during her lifetime, A Wreath for the Enemy, first published in 1954, remains arguably her most enduring work. It tells the story of a young couple whose paths cross one summer on the French Riviera. However, Diana Raymond notes that Pamela’s favourite of her own works was The Bridge, published in 1957, which examines the imperatives of the Roman Catholic faith.

After a long struggle with cancer, Pamela Frankau died on 8 June 1967, at the age of fifty-nine.

Diana Raymond
Diana Raymond was Pamela’s cousin and the two women had a strong personal relationship. Born on 25 April 1916, Diana started writing at the age of sixteen. While her first novel, ‘The Lovely Travellers’, was turned down by publishers, Pamela encouraged her to continue writing. Her second novel, The Door Stood Open, was published when she was nineteen. During her long career, she wrote more than twenty novels, as well as an autobiography and the play John Keats Lived Here.

Photograph of Diana Raymond [MS 412 A4104/2/1/4]

Photograph of Diana Raymond [MS 412 A4104/2/1/4]

In 1940 she married the novelist Ernest Raymond. While initially overshowed by his reputation, over time she developed her own distinct voice with her obituary in the Independent describing her novels as being “infused with wit and metaphysics”. Her novels include Are You Travelling Alone, a political novel published in 1969; The Dark Journey, a haunting romance published in 1978; and her most popular novel, Lily’s Daughter, a social satire published in 1988. The latter novel tells the story of a young woman’s coming of age in 1930s England and contains many biographical elements.

After Pamela’s death in 1967, Diana completed and provided an introduction to her final novel Colonel Blessington, a thriller, published in 1968. Diana also provided the introduction for a reissue of Pamela’s novel The Winged Horse and, in 1988, was commissioned to write a biography titled ‘Pamela Frankau: A Life’. However, as her research progressed Pamela’s popularity was on the wane and the project was eventually abandoned.

The collection
The material in MS 412 primarily relates to Diana Raymond’s research for her biography of Pamela Frankau. In addition to research notes, the collection contains a range of correspondence. This includes correspondence between Diana and Timothy D’Arch Smith, the son of Pamela’s older sister Ursula. Timothy is a bibliographer, author and antiquarian bookseller. After her death, he became Pamela’s literary executor and was a strong supporter of Diana’s research. There is also a selection of earlier correspondence between Pamela, Diana and others, primarily concerning the publication of Pamela’s novels.

The collection also contains a number of works by Pamela Frankau. These include scripts for Ask Me No More, The Duchess and the Smugs, Time to be Going and To The Moment of Triumph. Stories include ‘The Giant-Killer’, ‘Shakes the Stars’, and ‘Marriage of Minds’, alongside a number of pieces written by Pamela’s sister Ursula, including ‘The Clausewitz Report’, an unfinished novel.

Other collections relating to Pamela Frankau can be found at the BBC Written Archives Centre, Boston College, and the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin.