Happy Days! Stanley E. Gontarski Beckett Library now available in EPB

happy days

S.E. Gontarski: Beckett’s Happy Days: A Manuscript Study (Colombus, OH, 1977) Shelfmark: OLS L-10-771

As Beckett scholars and enthusiasts gather at Trinity College Dublin for the 2014 Samuel Beckett Summer School, the Department of Early Printed Books and Special Collections is delighted to make another significant collection of Beckett holdings available to researchers – the Stanley E. Gontarski Beckett Library.

This working library of the renowned Beckett scholar was part of a major acquisition of Samuel Beckett papers and manuscripts purchased from Professor Gontarski in March of this year. It comprises a comprehensive collection of critical works on Beckett, and includes internationally published scholarship not previously held in Trinity Library. There are also examples of Beckett works in a variety of languages – Polish, Hebrew, Japanese and more – and some inscribed first editions of his original works.

The Stanley E. Gontarski Beckett Library is a fine addition to the Beckett holdings in EPB and complements the Con Leventhal Collection which was catalogued earlier this year. The availability of these collections strengthens Trinity College Library’s position as a leading academic destination for Beckett research and enhances the College’s teaching capacity in Beckett studies.

For anyone with an interest in Beckett’s works, the Beckett Summer School has organised a public programme of events on the 13th and 14th of August. These talks and performances aim to give audiences a rare insight into the life and works of Samuel Beckett.

Ireland’s dead enigma: Francis Ledwidge

To coincide with the visit of the World War I Road Show to Trinity College on Saturday 12 July, there are new exhibits in the Berkeley Library foyer and the Ussher Orientation Space.

The Berkeley display case contains two holdings related to the war poet Francis Ledwidge. Born into a poor, rural family in Slane, Co. Meath, Ledwidge had to leave school at the end of the primary cycle to help earn money for his family – his father having died when he was five years old. From the age of thirteen he worked as a farm labourer and began to write poetry. His writing came to the attention of Lord Dunsany, who gave him great encouragement and wrote an introduction to each of his three volumes of poetry including Last songs which is now on display. Described as ‘our dead enigma’ by Seamus Heaney, Ledwidge held strong nationalist views with the events of the Easter Rising having affected him greatly. He fought with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and was killed at Flanders on 31st July 1917. In Two songs and Una Bawn, Ledwidge describes the way he felt when called to fight in the War.

The second exhibit shows the entry for Francis Ledwidge in Ireland’s memorial records 1914-1918. In July 1919, the Irish National War Memorial Trust was set up to establish a permanent memorial to the Irishmen killed in the First World War. A national fund-raising campaign generated donations of £42,000, of which about £5,000 was spent on collecting the records of those who had died and publishing their names in a monumental eight-volume work. The volumes were printed by Maunsell & Roberts in Dublin in a limited edition of one hundred copies, and the stained-glass artist Harry Clarke was commissioned to design decorative borders for each page, which are repeated throughout the volumes.

Ireland's memorial records

Ireland’s memorial records 1914-1918, Dublin: 1923

The World War I theme continues with a display of Irish fiction by Collection Management in the Orientation Space. Works on show by Sebastian Barry, Frank McGuinness and others, encompass the political climate of the time and the emotions of guilt and duty felt by the protagonist and their families. Equally illustrated by the authors are stories of friendships, love, lost ones and disjointed families against the backdrop of the continental and home divide.

 

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“Blast” at 100

 

“Blast” 1, 1914. Shelfmark: OLS X-2-126 no. 1

The avant garde journal Blast was first published on 2 July 1914, on the eve of the First World War. It marked the emergence of Vorticism, a modernist British art movement which paralleled other European art movements such as Futurism in Italy and Expressionism in Germany. Edited by Wyndham Lewis, who also wrote much of the text and provided illustrations as well, the two issues of this short-lived periodical encompassed the different areas of painting, design, sculpture, poetry, prose and drama, as well as reproducing the text of the Vorticist ‘Manifesto’ in its first issue. The second and last issue was entitled ‘War number’ and appeared on 15 July 1915. As exemplified by the bright, puce cover and bold typography of issue 1, Blast was experimental in both content and visual design and can be seen as a predecessor to later ventures in modernist print and visual culture. Apart from Lewis himself, contributors to Blast included the writers Ezra Pound, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, T.S. Eliot and Ford Madox Ford as well as illustrators such as Helen Saunders, Jacob Epstein, Frederick Etchells and C.R.W. Nevinson.

"Blast" 2, 'War number', 1915. Shelfmark: OLS X-2-126 no. 2

“Blast” 2, ‘War number’, 1915. Shelfmark: OLS X-2-126 no. 2

The Italian Futurist journal "Lacerba", 15 July 1914. Shelfmark: PER 80-413

The Italian Futurist journal “Lacerba”, 15 July 1914. Shelfmark: PER 80-413

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Department of Early Printed Books and the School of English are marking the centenary of Blast with a small exhibition in the Long Room, coinciding with a one-day symposium, “BLAST at 100” which takes place in the Trinity Long Room Hub on 2 July. An online version of the exhibition is also available on the Library website.

22.aa.8.17_0005

C.R.W. Nevinson: The roads of France (London, 1918?). Shelfmark: 22.aa.8 no. 17

The Bookplate Society Tour of Dublin 2014

Originating in Germany and usually placed inside the front cover, a bookplate is a printed label used to indicate ownership of a title. Specimens can range from simple printed names to elaborate heraldic engravings and as such can attract enthusiasts for their workmanship, rarity or perhaps just the connection with a famous former owner.

The Department was pleased to host thirteen members of The Bookplate Society on their recent visit to Dublin. Initially greeted by Anne-Marie Diffley who guided them through the Long Room, members then viewed a selection of bookplates from our holdings in the Henry Jones Room.

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A highlight of the display was a scrapbook of Trinity prize bookplates compiled by Thomas Sadleir (1882-1957), former assistant librarian at the King’s Inns library. Trinity introduced these bookplates on volumes given as prizes in 1732. Other examples on show to our visitors included the bookplates of Dermot Robert Wyndham Bourke (1851–1927), John Kells Ingram (1823-1927), Oliver St John Gogarty (1878–1957) and Count Daniel Charles O’Connell (1745–1833), uncle of political leader Daniel O’Connell (1775-1847).

Gilbert Nicholson of Balrath Bookplate

Gilbert Nicholson of Balrath Bookplate

Bookplates can amass their own individual history such as that of Gilbert Nicholson of Balrath, Co. Meath (1620-1709) which was inserted in Horace’s Works published after his death in 1737. The design of the plate may be attributed to William Jackson (fl. 1698-1714), and the bookplate is dated 1669 to commemorate the year in which Nicholson acquired the Balrath property. Its provenance doesn’t end there as it further extends into the 19th century with the addition of John Armytage Nicholson’s (1798-1872) signature.

For our readers keen to learn more about bookplates, we have a selection of printed resources on open access available for consultation in our reading room.

The First Polyglot Bible – now on display

Ximénes' coat of arms

Ximénes’ coat of arms

The Complutensian Polyglot Bible (Shelfmark: D.cc.12-17) was produced at the university in Alcalá de Henares, called in Latin Complutum, meaning ‘place where two rivers meet’. It is also known as the Spanish Polyglot or Ximénes’ Polyglot as the university was founded by Cardinal Francisco Jiménez (or Ximénes) de Cisneros and the work was financed and supervised by him. The title page of each volume bears his coat of arms.

This was the first complete Bible in more than one language and was compiled and edited by an international team of religious scholars using Hebrew and Greek manuscript sources, some of which were lent by the Pope.The first four volumes contain the Old Testament in Hebrew, Latin and Greek, with Aramaic at the foot of the pages of the Pentateuch; the fifth volume contains the New Testament in Latin and Greek and the final volume contains Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic vocabulary and notes on grammar and pronunciation.

Colophon of New Testament

Colophon of New Testament

2014 is the 500th anniversary of the printing of the New Testament volume, but the decision was made not to publish until all six volumes were finished. Work is thought to have begun in 1502 and taken fifteen years, but publication was delayed until 1520. Allegedly this is because Johann Froben, a noted Basel printer and publisher, wanted to beat Ximénes. He persuaded Desiderius Erasmus, the foremost scholar of his age, to produce a Greek New Testament which was published in 1516 with a four-year moratorium on any other version.

Six hundred sets were published, of which probably fewer than two hundred survive. TCD’s copy, which is kept in the Long Room, is in very good condition, with the binding and clasps of all six volumes intact. The TCD Library minutes for Dec. 9 1805 record that the set was bought in London for 50 guineas. It had previously belonged to Johann Andreas Danz (1654-1727), Professor of Oriental Languages and later of Theology at the University of Jena in Germany, a Lutheran theologian who was considered the greatest Hebrew scholar of his age. His signature is on the title page of the New Testament volume.

Currently displayed in the foyer of the Berkeley Library is an opening in the first volume showing the Papal Bull of Leo X, dated 22 March 1520, sanctioning the work; a note to the reader and the opening verses of Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament. Also visible are the attractive paste decoration on the edges of the text block and the clasps which hold the volume closed.

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- Helen McGinley

Gearing up for the Giro d’Italia – BLU display case goes pink!

New Irish jaunting car

A new Irish jaunting car … London, [1819]

To coincide with the Giro d’Italia visiting Ireland for the first time, there is a new cycling-themed exhibit of books now on show in the BLU display case. Included are two hand-coloured caricatures from the Robinson Collection depicting early images of the precursor to the bicycle – the Dandy’s Hobby or Velocipede. Popular for a short period up to 1820, the images clearly show how impractical the contraption was for everyday use. Its attractiveness to upper-class gentlemen can be attributed to Denis Johnson (c.1760-1833) who pioneered the hobby horse and ran cycling schools in London to instruct owners in its use.

A family party

A family party, taking an airing, Dublin, [1819]

The 19th century saw further progression in the development of the bike with both tri- and bi-cycling gaining popularity. Organisations such as the Cyclists’ Touring Club and the Irish Cycling Association were formed to promote cycling both as a sport and as a leisurely pursuit. The financial cost and the practicalities of storing the cycle put ownership out of reach of the mass-market. However, with the aid of improvements in design and increased investment in road surfaces cycling soon gained universal popularity, thus making it an affordable and enjoyable mode of transport. In 1897 Edward Glover, a member of the Irish Council of Civil Engineers noted:

[The bicycle] has circled the whole earth, invaded the classes and the masses, and it is hard to say where it is going to stop … [It] is going to have a big future, unless, we suppose, flying machines, or some other things like them, in the womb of the future, are to arise and evict it.

Trike3

The ‘Rucker’ Tri-cycle (1884)

It is fitting that the race for the Maglia Rosa (Pink Jersey) begins in Belfast, home of John Boyd Dunlop, who in 1887 is credited with inventing the air-filled tube. The advantage over solid tyres was immense, leading Dunlop to patent his invention in 1888.Dunlop2 It made its sporting debut on May 18th 1889 at Queen’s College Sports Belfast with rider William Hume winning all four races. Dunlop’s patent was, however, successfully challenged in 1890. By then Dublin businessman and keen cyclist William H. du Cros had already taken full control of the invention, securing other patents and establishing The Pneumatic Tyre and Booth’s Cycle Agency and later The Dunlop Rubber Company.

Finally, to the cyclists we say ‘In bocca al lupo a tutti!’

Canvas-bound Irish schoolbook

Aside

The Department of Early Printed Books has recently acquired a rare example of a canvas binding, covering the 6th edition of a mathematics textbook, “A treatise on mensuration” (Dublin, 1845), first printed in 1836 at the behest of the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland and widely used in Irish primary schools during the mid-19th century. Canvas was used as a covering material on books from the late 1760s to the early 19th century, as a sturdy alternative to sheepskin on heavily-used publications such as schoolbooks. Its use diminished with the introduction of cloth as a binding material in the 1830s, so that it is unusual to find a book bound in canvas after 1840.

20278 Canvas Binding

This school textbook complements the volumes in the Pollard School-book Collection, which may be consulted in the Early Printed Books Reading-Room.