October 13, 2011 by Maggie Kopp
Illustration by Hablot Knight Brown in J. Sheridan Le Fanu's Ghost Stories and Tales of Mystery, (1851)
Victorians were avid readers of ghost stories. Many novels and short stories of the time period touch on the supernatural, mystical, the Gothic, and the occult. From “A Christmas Carol” to “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” some of the most famous supernatural tales in literature date from the Victorian period.
To get into the Halloween spirit, Special Collections is exhibiting collections of ghost stories by well-known and lesser-known Victorian authors in our reference area, starting October 14, 2011. Highlights include a Rudyard Kipling story collection printed in India, a ghost story written by six authors (including Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, and Elizabeth Gaskell), and the adventures of a ghost-hunting psychic detective.
Looking for more ghost stories? One great resource is the “Guide to Supernatural Fiction” by Everett Bleiler, which can be found in Humanities Reference on level 5 of the library. You can also do a genre/form search in the library catalog for “ghost stories” to find examples of stories and novels across the library’s holdings.
September 28, 2011 by Maggie Kopp
A recent addition to the Edwardian literature collection is a copy of Beatrix Potter’s “The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit” (1906). This little book is one of two Potter tales originally published in a concertina, or accordion, format. Special Collections has a nearly-complete set of first editions of Potter’s 23 tales, as well as other Potter titles like “Peter Rabbit’s Almanac” and “The Fairy Caravan.” Special Collections also has a number of children’s books by other authors which use Potter characters, particularly Peter Rabbit. “Peter Rabbit and his Pa,” published in Akron, Ohio in 1908, is one such title.
“The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit” was acquired with the generous assistance of the Friends of the Harold B. Lee Library.
September 6, 2011 by Maggie Kopp
Books and documents from the Louisa May Alcott Collection will be on display at the Springville Museum of Art as part of the museum’s new exhibit, The Illustrated Life of Louisa May Alcott: Works of Bethanne Anderson. The exhibit features Anderson’s original artwork for the illustrated biography “The Life of Louisa May Alcott” by Yona Zeldis McDonough (2009). This exhibit runs from September 10 to October 14, 2011.
August 18, 2011 by Maggie Kopp
Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations” is one of many famous novels which were published 150 years ago, in 1861. Dickens released the novel serially in his magazine “All the Year Round” beginning in December 1860; the novel finished in the August 1861 issue. London publishers Chapman and Hall then released “Great Expectations” in a three-volume book format. Special Collections contains examples of both printing formats: original copies of “All the Year Round” can be found in the Victorian Collection, while a first edition copy of the three-volume “Great Expectations” is housed in the Vault Collections.
Why collect both the serialized and the book formats of “Great Expectations” and other 19th century novels? Much longer fiction of the 19th century was published in both serial and multi-volume book form, and having both formats available can better help students and scholars interpret how a text was produced, published, and received. Was the text changed between the time it was published serially and in book form? Did serialization and “volumization” affect how the author chose to structure the novel, or how readers experienced and interpreted the text? Did the audience of a novel in a given periodical differ from the audience who read the novel in book form? These questions and others can be addressed by examining the differing early editions of a novel like “Great Expectations.”
August 8, 2011 by Maggie Kopp
First Floor Exhibit: August 05-September 30
An Elementary Education: Children’s Readers
The L. Tom Perry Special Collections Rare Book Collection hosts a variety of books classified under the Library of Congress as books of Theory and Practice of Education (LB). These books mostly range from the mid 1800s to the mid 1900s, but the occasional 18th century author will appear from time to time. Our Rare Book Collection begins with our oldest acquisitions. It includes the thoughts and different systems of individual educators (LB 51-885) as well as educational psychology (LB 1050.9-1091) and instructions for Primary Education (LB 1501-1547). Many of these instructional books are written by international scholars and we have their works published in their native Italian, French, and German –of course, with Latin text here and there.
The majority of our collection comprises children’s readers. These refer to the textbooks of this 19th–20th century era for elementary or public school education (LB 1555-1602). These readers encompass several special branches of an elementary education. We are lucky to have such a variety of Arithmetic, Geography, History, English Language & Grammar, Literature, Nature, Readers, Science and Spelling textbooks available in the Rare Book Collection to view our progress as nation and a world when we see how much has changed and what we have learned in just the past 100 years. It is also refreshing to search these readers to find new ways to educate from our old teachers.
Come and visit the L. Tom Perry Special Collections First Floor Exhibit to get a taste of different lessons from each subject.
Library of Congress Classification Information:
Class L – Education
Subclass LB – Theory and Practice of Education
LB 51-885 – Systems of Individual educators and writers
LB 1050.9-1091 – Educational psychology
LB 1501-1547 – Primary education
LB 1555-1602 – Elementary or public school education
LB 2335.95-2337 – Endowments, trusts, etc.
LB 3011-3095 – School Management and discipline;
– Educational tests, measurements, evaluations and examinations
July 29, 2011 by Kristi Young
Popular Utah author Annette Lyon has donated her papers to Perry Special Collections. The author of many historical and contemporary novels, Lyon’s recent book Band of Sisters was a Whitney 2010 award winner.
Her papers contain correspondence, publicity materials, notes that led to novels and copies of Band of Sisters and a grammar guide entitled Their, There, They’re. Lyons materials are MSS 7929 and will be available for research soon.
July 21, 2011 by Maggie Kopp
William Makepeace Thackeray and Charles Dickens were two of the most eminent Victorian novelists of their generation. They knew each other well, mixing in the same circles, but they were also literary rivals whose differing personalities and viewpoints eventually led to a bitter feud.
Both Dickens and Thackeray began their careers as journalists, but Dickens was first to achieve literary fame, with publication of The Pickwick Papers in 1836-37. Other bestsellers followed, and Dickens became a darling of critics and the public. Thackeray did not earn his literary fame until a decade later, with Vanity Fair, published in 1847-48. Thackeray’s next novel, Pendennis, was issued at the same time as Dickens’s David Copperfield, and critics began to draw comparisons between the two authors. Though Dickens sold more novels, Thackeray was equal in popularity with the critics, and Thackeray became Dickens’s chief rival in the market for fiction. Dr. John Brown, a mutual friend of both novelists, remarked that Dickens “could not abide the brother so near the throne.” Although Dickens and Thackeray were always cordial, their relationship grew strained over minor literary disputes. Partisan friends and associates fanned the flames until the relationship between Dickens and Thackeray erupted into a bitter feud in 1858.
In 1858, Dickens separated from his wife Kate, and Dickens was very sensitive to public and private opinion over his actions. He was very upset when Thackeray repeated information he had heard about Dickens’s affair with actress Ellen Ternan. One of Dickens’s protégés, a young journalist named Edmund Yates, was motivated by Dickens’s bad feelings to anonymously publish a slanderous attack on Thackeray for Dickens’s magazine Household Words. Thackeray would have ignored this insult, but it was brought to his attention that the author was Yates, who was an acquaintance and a fellow member of a social club called the Garrick Club. As a gentleman, he felt the need to defend his honor and responded to Yates, demanding an apology. Yates showed the letter to Dickens, who helped Yates write an unrepentant reply.
Thackeray was also incensed that Yates had been writing newspaper articles about some of the literary discussions he had been involved in while in the privacy of the Garrick club. He eventually brought a complaint to the committee of the Garrick Club, which moved to revoke Yates’s membership. Dickens tried to intervene behind the scenes, but Yates lost the dispute. Yates continued to attack Thackeray in pamphlets and journal articles through 1858-59; when Dickens realized that his own reputation was being hurt because so many people assumed that he was encouraging and perhaps financially underwriting Yates, he finally convinced Yates to let the matter drop. This breach in Thackeray and Dickens’s friendship would last until shortly before Thackeray died in 1863.
July 8, 2011 by Maggie Kopp
As Special Collections celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of William Makepeace Thackeray, this blog turns to highlight authors who have been influenced by Thackeray’s writing. The first to be highlighted is Charlotte Brontë.
Thackeray was one of Charlotte Brontë’s biggest literary heroes. Smith, Elder and Co., the publisher of Charlotte’s first novel Jane Eyre, sent a pre-publication copy of the book to Thackeray. He enthusiastically told them that the novel “interested me so much that I have lost (or won if you like) a whole day in reading it….Give my respects and thanks to the author – whose novel is the first English one … that I’ve been able to read for many a day.” Charlotte was flattered: “One good word from such a man is worth pages of praise from ordinary judges.”
Moved by Thackeray’s favorable comments about Jane Eyre, Brontë dedicated the second edition of her novel to her hero. Unfortunately this caused embarrassment for Thackeray, since unbeknownst to Charlotte, he had a mentally ill wife who he was unable to divorce and who had been placed in an institution – an unfortunate parallel to the character Mr. Rochester. The dedication also caused speculation that “Currer Bell” had been a governess to Thackeray’s two daughters, since the character Jane was a governess. Charlotte was herself embarrassed when she learned that her dedication had spread gossip about Thackeray rather than being complimentary, and when she finally met him at a dinner party given by her publisher in late 1849, she was too nervous to eat or speak.
Thackeray actually held a dinner party of women authors in Charlotte’s honor in the summer of 1850, but her painful shyness and self-consciousness about her appearance made the party a spectacular failure. Charlotte ignored the other guests, who were critical of her looks and her lack of conversation, and Thackeray reportedly sneaked off to his club partway through the evening.
Charlotte Brontë initially admired Thackeray for his novels’ attacks on the foibles and weaknesses of English society and human nature, but on acquaintance, she found him worldly, skeptical, and too fond of mixing with the gentry which he satirized in his works. In 1852, she told her publisher, “Mr. Thackeray is easy and indolent and very seldom cares to do his best” at writing. Despite their uneasy literary acquaintance, Thackeray posthumously published Charlotte’s fragment “Emma” in his Cornhill Magazine (March 1860) with a personal tribute to her — a portion of this article is reproduced above.
June 21, 2011 by Maggie Kopp
Another literary anniversary being celebrated in Special Collections is the 200th anniversary of the birth of British novelist William Makepeace Thackeray. Thackeray was born in India on July 18, 1811, the son of a high-ranking official in the British East India Company.
Thackeray made his career as a writer of satirical novels about British society, including “The Newcomes,” “Pendennis,” and his most famous work, “Vanity Fair.” These novels, along with original artwork and manuscript letters, are currently on display in Special Collections to honor this great Victorian novelist. The exhibit is open during Special Collections’ normal operating hours and will be on display during the months of June and July.
June 10, 2011 by Maggie Kopp
2011 is an excellent year for literary anniversaries. One to mark in the month of June is the 200th birthday of American novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe, best known for “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” on 14 June. Stowe was the daughter of a minister and her family was very active in education and social and religious causes. All seven of her brothers became ministers; her oldest sister was an educator and reformer and another sister was a founder of the National Woman’s Suffrage Association.
Harriet began to write at an early age. She received a formal education at Hartford Female Seminary, founded by her sister Catherine, studying subjects typically reserved for males like the classics and mathematics. At 21, she moved to Cincinnati, where her father was president of Lane Theological Seminary. Here she met and married Calvin Stowe, a theology professor. Her writing career began before she married; Harriet authored a number of children’s textbooks, short stories, and journal articles.
The Stowes were abolitionists, and “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was written partly in response to the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. The novel was published serially in the abolitionist newspaper “The National Era,” and ran for 40 weeks starting June 5, 1851. “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was published in book form in March 1852 and sold some 300,000 copies in its first year in print. The sentimental novel moved many readers and won acclaim from the abolitionists, but Stowe was heavily criticized by Southern readers and supporters of slavery. In adding fuel to the debate over slavery, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was highly influential in the decade before the Civil War and eventually became an international best-seller. According to legend, Abraham Lincoln greeted Stowe in 1862 with the comment, “so you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.” The success of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” brought the Stowes financial comfort and afforded Harriet the opportunity to write for pleasure. She authored novels for adults and children as well as poems and stories until her death in 1896. Special Collections owns a number of first and rare editions of Stowe’s works, including American, British, and Spanish editions of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” – even an edition for British travelers printed in Italy!