Category Archives: Books as artifacts
Special Collections receives Seventeenth–Century Gradual
Special Collections has received an early seventeenth-century gradual, the music and words for all the Masses of the Roman Catholic liturgical year, through the thoughtful generosity of Dr. Catherine A. Colquitt. The gradual is probably of Iberian origin as it uses a five-line rather than a four-line staff for the chant notation. Although not medieval, the volume was produced using the same methods and materials that would have been used to produce the same document in the Middle Ages: vellum, gold illumination, hand written words and notation. Although it appears that many of the versals, or initial letters, and illustrations have been printed using wooden blocks and then later highlighted in color by hand.
At the request of the donor, the volume is to be known as the Mixson-Colquitt Gradual, was given in memory of Dr. Colquitt’s partents, Betsy and Landon Colquitt, who were for many years members of the faculty of TCU; and in honor of Linda and Keith Mixson.
Thank you, Dr. Colquitt, for this magnificent gift.
“We must not fall into the terrible trap of thinking that because certain printed or manuscript materials have been photostated or photocopied or microfilmed, or digitized that we are relieved of our responsibility for preserving the original.”
Terry Belanger retired founding director of Rare Book School, University of Virginia
Special Collections has acquired three new additions to its collection of nineteenth-century British novels originally published in weekly or monthly parts. This form of serialization was re-popularized in the nineteenth century among authors, publishers, and the public by the very great success of Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers published by Chapman and Hall in London in 1836-1837. Special Collections holds thirty novels in parts by such authors as Dickens, Surtees, Thackeray, Lever, and Trollope. The recent additions are all by Anthony Trollope. Trollope published forty-seven novels, 8 of which were originally published in parts. Special Collections now holds 5 of these.
Orley Farm, published by Chapman and Hall in twenty monthly parts from March 1861 through October 1862, was the first of Trollope’s novels to be published in parts. It contains forty full-page plates by the Pre-Raphaelilte artist John Everett Millais. The pages of advertisements are particularly fine in this set, still including the cambric frilling sample with its ad in part six. Trollope declared in his autobiography that the plot of this novel was “probably the best I have ever made.”
The Vicar of Bullhampton, considered one of the scarcest of Trollope’s parts issues, was originally published in 1869-70 by Bradbury Evans and Company in eleven monthly parts. In all, there are 33 illustrations (22 plates and 11 vignettes in the text) by Henry Woods. According to Michael Sadleir in his Anthony Trollope: a commentary, the novel was “ostensibly . . . written in defence of the ‘fallen woman,’ [and] has a quaintly solemn preface in which the author apologizes to his public for venturing on ground so delicate. But the book itself fails admirably to fulfill its proclaimed intentions. It is as characteristically Trollopian in plot and staging as the preface in its self-conscious propagandism is uncharacteristic. A vigorous story of village life, The Vicar of Bullhampton presents a delightful parson, several charming ladies, a gruff farmer, a pompous marquis and some aggressive nonconformity.”
Detail of the cover of the Vicar of Bullhampton
The publication of the parts of the novel The Prime Minister published in 1876 by Chapman and Hall is a bit unusual in that the novel was issued in both the expected paper wrappers but also bound in cloth. Special Collections has acquired a set of the cloth-bound issue. Sadleir, in his in bibliography of Trollope’s works, suggests that perhaps the novel was offered in cloth-bound parts to give the lending libraries of the day (Mudie’s, W. H. Smith, the short-lived Library Company, and the like) a sturdier product, better able to withstand repeated lending and readings. The paper parts were often “read to death” requiring the library to replace them. This, the next to last of the Palliser novels, was issued in 8 monthly parts.
These, and the other Victorian novels originally published in serial form, may be seen any time Special Collections is open.
“In cultures possessing fluent scripts, paper, and printing, books have acquired a stable material form. Those quiet, reliable, portable, legible objects are the benchmark incarnation of the book for most of us now, yet we know that, to be real, a book must be more than a physical object. What makes the tangible form of a book rewarding is that it stands for an intangible reality alive in the heart and mind.”
Robert Bringhurst, Canadian poet, typographer, and author