UPDATE: commenting problems FIXED!

UPDATE: w00t! I think I’ve now solved the commenting glitch by returning to the hideous pop-out comments as opposed to embedded comments. The important thing is not the beauty of the design but that you can share your wisdom with me! So please do!

You can ignore what follows, except that if you find you are having problems, please email me at the address given below so that I can try to fix it!

I think the blogging powers that be are angry with me for being a once-a-month poster! But whatever the reason, there’s some sort of bug affecting the ability for some of you to sign in and leave comments. § continue reading

the most influential book history tools of the decade

It’s that time of year again. Indeed, it’s that time of decade. That’s right, everywhere you look, top ten lists abound. I’m not sure why we need to list ten of things we find remarkable. But it’s made me start thinking: what would be on my top ten list of notable early modern book history events or tools of the decade?

Right up there at the top would have to be digitization, from EEBO to Google Books to The Shakespeare Quartos Archive. The ability to access facsimiles of works without having to travel thousands of miles, potentially saving time and money and carbon emissions and wear and tear on the books, has fundamentally changed how we conduct and teach early modern books and book history. § continue reading

e-updating

I don’t know where all the time has gone! One minute it was the start of the semester, and now it’s Thanksgiving. I’m particularly sad that I dropped the ball after my last post on e-books. I’d really meant to pick up the conversation but, unsurprisingly now that I look back at it, it was hard to pull my thoughts together.

One of the things that has struck me the most is the weird way in which conversations about e-books tend to rocket between two polar positions: “I love books and e-books are an abomination!” and “I love my e-book and print is dead!” Both seem ridiculous to me in their totalizing insistence–surely the rise of electronic books aren’t going to fully eclipse books. § continue reading

to e-book or not to e-book

There’s been a slew of stories over the last few months about electronic books, primarily of the Kindle variety, but some of them touch on general issues pertaining to the availability, use, and desirability of e-books. I’ve been trying to compose a post in response to them, but I keep getting overwhelmed. What to say in response toa prep school that replaces its library with a cappuccino machine and 18 e-readers? *head-desk* (The School Library Journal has a more articulate response.) What about the summer’s too-perfect-to-be-true news that Amazon deleted copies of Orwell’s works from the Kindles without informing owners? § continue reading

updates and welcomes


I’ve been swamped recently, so just a quick post with some updates and links:

First, thanks to Lorem Ipsum’s suggestion on my last post about the catalogue entry for James’s Essayes of a prentise, the Folger’s record has now been updated! The author is, of course, James I, as that is the standard form of his name, but the note has been clarified to read “By James VI of Scotland and (later) James I of England, whose name (Jacobus Sextus) is given in an acrostic on A1r.” So thanks to Lorem Ipsum and to Deborah Leslie!

As for the binding, which I suggested might be a presentation copy from James to Burghley, my friend Adam points out that Burghley’s library was rebound in the early 18th century, so surviving presentation copies to either Burghley or his son Robert Cecil, are quite rare. § continue reading

essayes of a prentise


Another example of a student project today, this time at the intersection of politics and poetry as well as of England and Scotland: King James’s The Essayes of a prentise, in the divine art of poesie. This book is a collection of poems and translations by James, as well as “A treatise on the airt of Scottis Poesie.” Published in 1584 in Edinburgh, James was then King James VI of Scotland, and net yet King James I of England, a title he didn’t take until 1603, although the book is cataloged by the STC as authored by James I. (The STC record is the source of the Folger’s catalogue entry for the book; there are standardized rules for all cataloging, of course, but it seems to me misleading to think of this work as being by the King of England, rather than an aspirant to that title.)

There are some great things about this book, including the fact that it’s written in a Scots dialect. § continue reading