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Experimental Bibliography Plan

3 min read

Making my traditional bibliography for The History of Eliza Warwick, it seemed like a lot of the information expected in such a bibliography has a representative function, or else describes an anomaly. Representative information, that could tell us something about the work as a whole, like the title and publication date, and information about anomalies that you wouldn’t expect given only the representative information, such as ornaments or weird pagination, both make the cut. Some of the information that the highly codified form of the traditional bibliography demands, like pagination and collation, struck me as not particularly useful in representing the novel, instead simply uniting to say, “We are a book with pages.” On the other hand, information about plot and characters had no place in the traditional bibliography. How do you decide what information is representative, and what information is just incidental? Isn’t this distinction kind of arbitrary?

These questions remind me of Barthes’s claim that one can distinguish between details that are symbolic and details that serve no other purpose than to unite with other otherwise meaningless details to create reality effect. As a number of people pointed out in class, the distinction between Flaubert’s pyramid of boxes and his barometer seems arbitrary -- how does Barthes know the barometer isn’t a symbol? How can you tell what is reality effect, and what has a representative or symbolic purpose?

Just as the barometer might conceivably be an ignored symbol, might in fact want to convey a meaning other than “We are the real,” the many pieces of information left out of the traditional bibliography, judged not to be necessary for cataloguing the novel, might also relevant to its categorization. The traditional bibliography includes information about volumes, but not the sub-divisions within volumes. Eliza Warwick, an epistolary novel, is divided into letters, bracketed by salutations, valedictions, and the occasional postscript, but the traditional bibliography doesn’t capture that information. So, my experimental bibliography will.

I’m taking the formal components of the letters that make of Eliza Warwick -- salutations, valedictions, and postscripts -- and superimposing them onto barometers. For each component of the letter, the barometer’s arrow points to one thing: “We are the epistolary novel.” Except, the letters’ openings and signoffs signify more than just reality effect; signoffs like “Your affectionate friend, C. Huntley” also convey information about the main characters and their affect towards one another. My goal is twofold: to convey this information and to suggest that it, like the barometer that is measuring it and classifying it as reality effect, can’t be easily classified as either reality effect or representative, just as people in class felt that Barthes should not be so quick to dismiss Flaubert’s barometer as a symbol.

Exercise 8

1 min read

Because the novel I am using for my experimental bibliography project contains a prologue, and since my project engages with the content of the prologue, I have been thinking recently about prologues in general. Relevant questions about prologues include: what information do they convey? In what types of novels do they appear? What is their relation to the novel as a whole? Do they appear more often in first edition copies or subsequent editions of novels? I am also interested in this research question after talking with Professor Buurma about my project last week and learning that one suggestion for choosing which 18th century novels Penn should digitize is the novels with prologues. Preliminary information about these prologues could be very helpful in making this decision. I think topic modeling could tell us what themes are covered in the prologues. Other questions could deal with comparing resulting topics from metadata of novels with prologues vs. novels without prologues. I could also divide the novels with prologues into subcategories derived from metadata information (such as narrative form, publisher, or author).

Experimental Bibliography

2 min read

For my descriptive bibliography, I chose to do Clara Reeve's The Champion of Virtue. It has a beautiful frontispiece depicting a scene from the novel as well as a quote from Horace on the title page that translates to "Fictions meant to please should approximate the truth."

When considering what is missed by the traditional bibliography, I thought about plot, context, and visual depictions that would give more information than printed words. After a bit of research, I learned that the Champion of Virtue was republished in 1778, one year after its initial publishing, under the name the Old English Baron (which also edited by Samuel Richardson's daughter). This republishing has a preface that essentially outlines what Clara Reeve looked to accomplish in this novel. Both the Champion of Virtue and The Old English Baron are gothic novels based on the outline put out by Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto, which is often attributed as the first gothic novel. Clara Reeve's preface to the Old English Baron tells the reader what her issues were with the gothic novel ideal that Walpole's novel laid out: it wasn't realistic. In Mckeon's terms, the gothic novel should be a mixing of both romance idealism and naive empiricism. The Castle of Otranto's extravagant, supernatural explanations for everything were not believable, making the novel too fictitious to be interesting. Reeve's preface says, "...the Castle of Otranto; a work which, as already has been observed, is an attempt to unite the various merits and graces of the ancient Romance and modern Novel.. Had the story been kept within the utmost verge of probability, the effect had been preserved, without losing the least circumstance that excited or detains the attention."

My idea is to compare and contrast, mostly quantitatively, the three novels noted above. Popularity rankings, TextWrangler lists, topic modeling, and other quantificational methods could help elucidate the "realistic" nature of each novel as well as showing their reception. My intention is to visualize several of these methods to show how each novel compares in terms of realism and hopefully place the Champion of Virtue in it's historical context as a defining novel in the creation of the gothic novel genre.

Experimental Bibliography

2 min read

As I skimmed Anonymous’s The Indian Adventurer: History of Mr. Vanneck and found what little critical writing I could, I was surprised to learn that it was published just before a “crackdown on sexually graphic material” in 1787 (Malhotra, Ashok, Making British Indian Fictions 152). As such, being the sensational novel about an intensely horny foreigner that it is, it is at times pretty racy. Although some of the content we’ve read has been sexual in nature, it seems to me that the representation of sex acts is more-often-than-not something to be alluded to rather than explicitly stated. The Indian Adventurer, standing in opposition, is at times almost downright nasty. I wondered while I read what this novel would reflect if placed in conversation with a more modern medium.

The narrator, although he begins his story as an almost-successful German surgeon, he ends up flunking out of med school because of too much partying, and joins the Dutch East India Company and gets shipped off to several “oriental” cities: Delhi, Patna, Calcutta, and Cossimbuzzar. As such, he becomes wrapped up in the proto-English imperial project, and although he is sometimes visibly altruistic (he begins offering free health care to the cities’ impoverished citizens), he remains an extension of the corporate colonisation of South Asia. As with the sexual aspects of the work, I wondered what we could glean from juxtaposing the text with a representation of contemporary imperialism.

The final aspect I’d like to investigate is the religious tinge to the work. Although our unnamed narrator finds a humble nobility in the Brahmins of the region (much reminiscent of popular representations of the American Indian), he subtly denigrates their religion as well as Protestantism’s main rival: Catholicism (see Malhotra (it’s really good)). I’d like to explore the oriental approach to religion as well as its attachment to rising nationalistic sentiment. My plan is to put these three thematic topics in conversation with a more modern manifestation of themselves, through a collage of commercials, films, and television.

Time Made

4 min read

I think I'm going to approach this a bit more artistically and a bit less scholarly than may be intended, but I can't help myself.

I was most taken with the topics generated from the prescribed settings (50 topics, 1000 iterations, 20 words per topic):

Space Pirates: strap captain narcissa ship chap board time behaviour morgan surgeon immediately body uncle mate cried expence put told banter thomson

time travel, space ships, best friends, beautiful aliens, and witty remarks from the medic.

The next three all have exceptionally good final three words. I wonder how much the order matters to my understanding of the topics, and how random the order is.

Evening Passion: eyes purpose attention voice tears peace stood silence instantly fixed ground soul night distress place led felt length rose equally

two lovers part in a moonlit garden.

Americans Abroad: peregrine pm pickle lord pipes hero commodore gentleman mrs emilia hatchway love trunnion lieutenant jolter painter company view french behaviour

men in double-breasted suits aboard steamers talk of art and war over lunch.

I'm having a lot of fun with these. They remind me of poems without linebreaks. The NY Times has a running column that makes poems out of missed connections postings on Craigslist, which remind me of this. It makes me really want to write found poetry for my experimental bibliography.

I generated two other lists of topics: one simple, and one complex. Both were disappointing.

10 topics, 100 iterations, 10 words per topic:

pastoral epic: time power pleasure present life nature happiness english country thousand

In fact, the simplicity of the settings has led me to the most complex, or at the very least, abstract topics. I have asked the computer to distill novels to their basest forms for me. If I consider novels an imitation or representation of reality, then I am nearly asking a computer to find the meaning of life. That, of course, did not work out so nicely in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe.

20 topics, 2000 iterations, 15 words, no stopwords:

this took 30 mins for the program to complete.

The most interesting topic this:

an ode to ee cummings: the to of i in a it not that but for be have as my Satisfyingly the opposite of the "simple" results, but otherwise too basic, too superficial.

Of course, I could write about the easily labeled topics: church, or voyages, or one topic that was very obviously Pamela. What's the fun in that? Topic modeling effectively takes something sciencey and relieves it of any obligation to be scientific. We take all these data that have been collected in the most absolutely unbiased process and require that they be nearly arbitrarily (certainly subjectively) named, labeled, and sorted.

I've been thinking about applications for topic modeling. Is it practical for telling about large amounts of writing? How could I actually use it in a real situation? Not just by generating lists, I think. But what about connecting the words in the topics to the full information? Could we hyperlink each word to direct back to its appearance(s) in the original text(s)? I'm thinking about something along the model of The Perseus Project. Could we create topic concordances, with links to locations of every instance of the word chosen in the topic? Could we generate statistical metadata, showing frequency, placement, etc? Lastly, could we superscore iterations of topics? Is that already being done by iterating (I don't have a strong enough grip on the actual process)? I'd like to see a super topic model, where only the strongest words remain, only those used over and over and over again, or used from topic to topic to topic. Is that close to my simple settings? What would happen if I asked the program to iterate once, generate one topic, and choose one word? I assume it would choose the most used word in 1760's novels.


I did this and returned with "sir". With 2 topics and two words each, I got "time made" and "sir lady." I'm intrigued by time made. I will leave it on this note.


Experimental Bibliography

2 min read

When choosing a novel for this project, I looked for a piece of literature that is mostly undocumented. After a bit of digging I found a novel called The Fine Lady, which is authored by Sophia Briscoe. Aside from the facsimile I discovered on ECCO, the internet houses very little information on the novel or its author. Most of what I know is that Briscoe was paid 20 guineas for the copyright of the Fine Lady and it is one of only two novels she had written. Beyond that, I'm completely in the dark.

The Fine Lady is written entirely in the epistolary form, and its protagonists consist of Miss Louisa Somerville and Miss Emily Herbert, who exchange a variety of letters throughout the story. Just from skimming sections of the novel, I get the sense that The Fine Lady is incredibly straightforward and melodramatic—perhaps even more melodramatic than some of the earlier novels we’ve read. Given these first impressions, I think it would be interesting “translate” some excerpts from the novel’s letters by creating social media profiles for certain fictional characters and posting from their perspectives (using modern language). Considering that letters have largely been subsumed into online communication, I wonder how a conversation like the one embedded within The Fine Lady would play out with contemporary mediums like Facebook or Twitter. I think it would be a ton of fun to draw similarities between the premodern epistolary form and how we communicate on social media today.

Experimental bibliography

2 min read

The novel I chose for my bibliography project is The Sylph, by Georgiana Cavendish. The Sylph is an epistolary novel about a woman (Julia Grenville) who has married into high society and moved to London. She becomes disillusioned, and she begins receiving letters of advice from someone called "the sylph". I haven't read the book yet (I skimmed some pages), so I looked up what it was about online. With my experimental bibliography, I'd like to represent some aspect of the content of the book. Though the traditional bibliography doesn't completely capture the physicality of a book, it doesn't quite capture the content either, and I think the content is more important. There are a few things here to think about: the advice Julia gets from the Sylph, the Sylph's anonymity (until the end, presumably), the lowered moral standards Julia apparently finds in the new society she enters. Given the anonymity of the sylph, the event of a masquerade in the book, Julia's disillusionment with London society, and the use of trickery and keeping secrets (though I'm not sure how prevalent deception is in the book; I just know it's there), I think it would be nice to create a mask to represent the novel, or perhaps multiple masks if I wanted to represent a different thing with each mask. One idea is to create a mask by using its text, and cover a mask with text from the book--though this might imply that the novel itself is a mask, and I'm not really sure what that means. Another idea is to design multiple masks based off different characters or concepts in the novel. Some characters in the novel actually wore masks, so in a way some masks could be seen as items or props from the novel.


Experimental Descriptive Bibliography

5 min read

Novel: The Wedding Ring, or, History of Miss Sidney. In a series of letters. In three volumes. By Anynymous.

Context: In the preface, the author refers to an obsession with knowing the identity of the author in order to place the story of the novel into context. The author says that readers want to know whether the author “be of dark or fair complexion, mild or choleric disposition” or “married or single.” Readers also want to know the motives of the author and reasons for writing—whether the novel was "written by the importunity of a friend, or whether the author’s natural temper and inclination directed the choice of the subject.” This obsession with authorship to me seems contradictory to the traditional way of thinking about literature—shouldn’t we value the text based on the quality of the writing and the story?

But the author is hinting on something that was and remains to be true about literature–text is often inextricable from context. It is not just petty curiosity that drives past and present readers’ obsession with authorship. The identity of the author gives readers clues into how to read the text. In most literature classes, reading a new book often begins with a lecture or on the background information of the time, and a biography of the author.

Thinking about the relationship between text and author is even more interesting when one considers that past and present-day readers will have different reasons for wanting to know the identity. At the time of its publication, concerns over the author were probably related to credibility—was the author really a woman, what class was she, and had she written anything noteworthy before? Today, the identity of this eighteenth-century author would help us place this novel into historical context in order to analyze data and form a thesis about gender and authorship.

The traditional bibliography leaves out the complicated relationship between the author and the text that I have described above. This relationship is addressed directly in the preface, and it extends throughout the reading of the book, because as I mentioned above, the identity of the author often gives us a lens through which we read the novel.

This project is also motivated by my own musings and confusion over the obsession with gender in literature and in life. Professor Buurma mentioned in class that data analysts who are not necessarily lit scholars often use gender as an example of theses we can make about metadata. But this example is often simplistic and also—who cares??? Can’t we look at other things with all this data? Finally, the obsession with author identity/gender past and present makes me wonder— is it necessary to treat gender in such strict binary terms when analyzing literature? What do we lose and what do we gain if we move beyond that binary?

Project Plan: I plan to explore what the bibliography leaves out by exploring possible identities of the author and what we imagine the identity might tell us about the text. I like the idea of exploring these questions in a modern context. I plan to photograph students (maybe specifically student writers?) who identify as female. I want to ask them to dress as if they were trying to disguise themselves, as if they were going out in public and didn’t want to be recognized, celebrity hiding from paparazzi-style. I will ask them to write a letter, because The Wedding Ring is written in epistolary style. I imagine there will be a variety of methods of writing letters—whether it is an email, a letter on paper, a quick post-it note to a friend. I will also ask them to write the letter in a space they feel is most appropriate/natural for them to write this letter.

The collection of photographs will serve as possibilities for the author of “The Wedding Ring.” What can we discern about the possible authors even though they are wearing disguises? What do their clothes and their location for writing say about their identity? Why are they writing on a laptop as opposed to paper? What do we think they are writing?? Can we tell what they’re writing just by this appearance? I think more questions and different ways of interpreting the photos will arise once I have taken the photos.

I like leaving aspects of this project to the discretion of the students (how to dress, how they want to write the letter, where to write the letter, with whom they will write, etc.), because to me this seems more experimental, which is fun, and it represents the lack of control from both the author and the readers in the writing and reading of a novel.

I’m not sure in what format yet would be most appropriate for displaying these photos. I could make a collage, where the photos can be viewed close together, or a photo essay, which is more conducive for close scrutiny of each individual photo as well as comparison. I also need to think about whether these photos should be displayed online or if I should print them—what is at stake with materiality, especially when considering bibliography, which strives to convey the materiality/physicality of a book through formatted description?


Thinking about getting a tattoo?

2 min read

While doing my traditional descriptive bibliography assignment for Wollstonecraft’s “Mary, A Fiction,” the thing that struck me the most about this novel was its structural and paratextual simplicity, which contrasts sharply with its controversial and empowering textual contents. The Sparknotes version of the novel goes something like:

Mary is a sort of wallflower type daughter figure until her brother dies and leaves all of her lukewarm family’s inheritance in her name. Her mother suddenly starts paying attention to her/forces her to marry someone random and she has to oblige. Almost immediately afterwards he leaves for the continent and Mary develops deep personal relationships with Ann and Henry, who eventually both die from consumption. Charles comes back and they live mediocre-ly ever after.

So, despite being something of a proto-queer/feminist novel, the paratextual aspects of the copy I looked at on ECCO is shockingly simple. It is printed in one volume, the title is just three words, and title page itself is quite bare. There are no bells and whistles, no fanfare declaring this to be a noteworthy or game-changing novel. To be honest, that sort of bothered me, and I want to convey those aspects of the novel in my experimental bibliography.

In order to catalogue the novel’s close relationship specifically to gender, sexuality, and the body, I would like to literally fuse the paratext to physical bodies and present these fusions as a photo series. Naturally the first thing that comes to mind is tattoos, and I wouldn’t ask anyone to tattoo an eighteenth-century novel’s title page on themselves unless they really wanted to. I was thinking of using similar but non-permanent methods to fuse text to bodies, like temporary tattoos, other sources of ink, or maybe even something completely different. By fusing text to bodies, I would like to explore how the human and the literary interact on a very physical level, and frame the series of images in a way that conveys the cultural and social implications of this novel in a way that the paratext currently fails to do.


Experimental Bibliographic Description Plan

1 min read

I am doing a descriptive bibliography of “Munster Village” by Lady Mary Walker. I find this novel to be quite progressive for its era, focusing on a utopian city in which there is emphasis on intellectual equality for both genders. Although some themes (such as kindness and virtue) are common features of many 18 century novels, the novel focuses on such attributes to both men and women, instead of emphasizing on virtue for women and intelligence for men. As bibliographies fulfill the role of providing a stronger context for the novel, I would like to base my experimental part of the descriptive bibliography to creating two visual images of such a utopian society: one that is 18th century and one that is 21st century.

Ideas on Accurately Describing a Novel

3 min read

For the experimental part of our bibliography project, I’d like to explore the complex nature of the epistolary form that is simply missing from the traditional bibliography. When I read Louisa Wharton (it's ok, it was only Daisy Miller-length), the first thing I noticed was that the largest part of the title page, what I assumed was some sort of table of contents, actually misrepresented the plot, placing some details before others and even omitting significant portions entirely. These seem to me to be real flaws in the part of the title page that is supposed to give the reader a general sense of the story. I also couldn’t find any mention back to this "table of contents" in the short novel itself; the letters were numbered far beyond 12, and I had a hard time cleanly fitting the contents of these letters within the numbered sections of the table of contents.

There is a complex structure of the text as letters within letters that has not been presented in the traditional bibliography; to address this, I will be making a sort of outline in order to better represent the structure of the text in the novel. I’d like to fix the title page, in a sense, by creating a new table of contents with a more accurate representation of when events occurred and which letters correspond to which milestones. This would probably be a piece of paper that accompanies my corresponding idea of recreating each letter that is sent/mentioned in the short novel by making envelopes within envelopes to mimic the “story within a story” aspect of much of the text. This will be a physical representation of the subplots that are included in the main series of letters to Fidelia Friendly, stories that are either glossed over incorrectly on the title page or not even mentioned. The final product will be a packet of envelopes/letters -- each envelope will contain a “letter” that is a brief description of the main plot points that occur in that section -- that will accompany my more realistic and precise reworking of the table of contents. This will allow a viewer (reader?) to get a better sense of what type of story they are dealing with. I think this imaginative bibliography will also allow me to explore the differences between the physical text and its digital facsimile, in which it's very difficult to flip back and forth to get a sense of each the length of each letter and section of letters.

(In order to include more elements of the traditional bibliography, I might also add a note on the pagination of the events mentioned in each letter, but I’m not sure if this is actually necessary or advisable.)

Descriptive Bibliography Ideas...

2 min read

Something that I’ve noticed that traditional bibliography does not describe about novels is the significance of the actual text itself. Of course, a bibliography is not a plot summary. With that being said, these bibliographies seem to me to give undue weight to the minutiae of the physicality of the book while devoting one small section of one line to the biggest chunk of pages: the text! This representation seems to me not only surprisingly lopsided, but perhaps even misleading since the same system of writing page number-page number is used for all the sections of the book, almost giving the appearance that sections which vastly disparate page counts actually take up the same amount of space, since the way that the traditional bibliography sets them up gives essentially equal space to aspects like the title page or a random blank page with a seal on it as it does to the 242-page text, not to mention the huge amount of space that the rest of the details of the book’s physical features occupy throughout the rest of the bibliography. I would like to do a project that corrects this imbalance and more accurately represents the relative significance and size of each of the features of the book described in the descriptive bibliography. I’m thinking of either re-creating the title page or the bibliography itself with the text changed to capture this misleading representation. For instance, I would try to do something where the “text” portion is in a really big, bold font while the blank page with the seal is in really small font. I would like to represent this more tangibly, for instance by comparing the sizes of stacks of paper between the 242 page text and the 10 page preface, but I have yet to come up with a physical representation that is both insightful and eco-friendly. If one of these plans doesn’t work out, I will probably make a movie poster. This would not only capture the actual relative importance of the text itself compared to the other aspects of the traditional bibliography, but it would also give more weight to other aspects of the book that the descriptive bibliography does not accurately represent, such as the author, the title of the book, and various elements of the title page used to draw the reader’s attention.

Tiny crafts + GIFs + soundtrack for "Pupil of Pleasure"

4 min read

In my experimental bibliography, I hope to materialize and thematize some of the concerns I have had throughout the semester about the seemingly intractable conceptual problems of creating digital facsimiles and representations of books. I want my project to create an affective reaction in the viewer or user of the project, who will feel the same intense desire I feel to touch the physical books bibliographic data and digital facsimiles attempt to capture; I want to touch on the inaccessibility to the uninitiated of bibliographic data; and I want my work to function in the space created by bibliographic data which is both deeply machine-oriented and deeply humanistic.

I asked Nora Battelle, who worked on the END this summer, about her experience with the bibliographic data she collected, since I felt my project was missing something. She explained to me that all of the data is extremely personalized and that everyone’s cataloguing records look different, as our traditional descriptive bibliographies in this class vary in style. Though the records were all the same in terms of all being machine-readable and all going to serve the same purpose, Battelle explained, each cataloguer has their own style and the types of things each cataloguer chose to notate were different. Though the aim of collecting the data is to capture all of the information about the book, that is simply not possible and cataloguers will all record very different things. Battelle also mentioned that each cataloguer is so distinctive that database users can tell that certain entries were written by the same person. Though it is a database, a collection of digital information that can be read by a computer, it is also discursive and personal and irrepressibly human. That is incredibly exciting to me and something I hope my project will reflect.

My ideal and first-draft conception of the project, then, is as follows: I will create a small (fits in one hand) representation of each category of bibliographic data the traditional descriptive bibliography collects — format, title page, notes, etc. (I imagine these like little sculptures, with, for instance, the format representation a sculpture of a sheet of paper folded a certain number of times). I will then film someone’s hand playing with each small sculpture. I imagine that watching these short videos (hopefully GIFs?), the viewer will want to touch the objects, much as I strongly desire to hold, gaze upon, and flip through the real physical objects represented by digital facsimiles in the ECCO. I also hope that presenting these small sculptures of each category without any context will make the viewer feel slightly alienated or without an understanding of the categories, in order to recreate the feeling of inaccessibility I get when looking at traditional descriptive bibliographic data. A separate set of audio files, which ideally would be only playable once the viewer has watched the GIFs, or which would run out of order and at random throughout the viewer’s watching of the GIFs, would have people describing — first using the traditional bibliographic descriptive language and then speaking in personal and discursive ways — the book. This will capture the essential humanity and personalization of bibliographic description.

I am very unsure of my ability to technically make all of these things happen, since I am very bad at crafting, especially on a very small scale and I have zero knowledge of filmmaking or editing. But, if i figured out a way to make all of these things happen, it could be extremely cool. My final project might not end up materializing all of this, but I will definitely try and make use of my friends with artistic and digital skills, if that’s allowed.


Book Cube

2 min read

Staring at my desk looking for inspiration for the experimental bibliography project, my eyes landed on a photo cube my mom gave me at the beginning of freshman year. The concept is simple: it’s a normal six-sided cube, with each face of the cube featuring a different photograph. Each side of the cube represents a part of my life: there’s a picture of me with my mom; with my dad; with friends at prom; playing baseball; as a young kid; and with my high school cross-country team.

The idea that occurred to me then was the equivalent, but for a book. Each side could represent a part of the traditional bibliography. I’m not sure exactly how to divide it up, but I think it would have a side dedicated to the title, to the subtitle, to the city of publication, to the year of publication, and maybe two sides for two different notes (epistolary form, half pages, and illegible scribbles on the title page are possibilities). Of course, the representations of these aspects of the book wouldn’t be just words on the sides—they would be some kind of artistic interpretation of them. Ideas I’ve had so far include an old style photograph that I would stage and edit for the title, a drawing (though it’s definitely not my strong suit) for the city of publication (Big Ben or something of that sort), etc. I’ll have to think a bit more about the specifics, but I think it could be pretty cool. It ostensibly gives the same information as the traditional bibliography, but in a totally different way—it’s a physical manifestation of the information, and the physicality of the book is a big part of what you miss with a traditional bibliography.


Hark, a Sylph

1 min read

I'd like to try my hand at a Kate Beaton-esque sequential art work.

For example:

I'd like to inject a little humor into the description/bibliography of a novel, and I'd like to make it less stuffy by turning it into a sketchy comic. I'm a little worried that I won't be as funny as Kate Beaton, and I'm also worried that I won't accurately represent my novel, The Sylph, because I haven't actually read it. What I can tell about it, though, is that it is a story of a pretty naive girl just married into high society who receives mysterious and helpful letters from a woman who signs herself only as "The Sylph." I think I can do something with that, especially in light of the previous epistolary novels we've read, perhaps using satirical pastiche elements of Northanger Abbey as a guide.

Like many of Beaton's comics, I plan to draw four strips, each 3 cels long.

Experimental Description Idea

1 min read

For my experimental description, I'm thinking of drawing out the title page of the novel I chose, Disinterested Love, and surrounding it with the other parts of the bibliography not included on the title page. I will then explain the significance of each aspect of the title page and bibliography, trying to give the viewer a sense of how this novel fits into the era and how the printing and distribution of novels worked at the time.


Descriptive Bibliography

2 min read

Croft, Herbert, Sir.Love and madness. A story too true in a series of letters between parties, whose names would perhaps be mentioned, were they less known, or less lamented. A new edition. London, 1850.

LOVE AND MADNESS.|A|Story too True|in a|SERIES of LETTERS|Between Parties, whose Names would|perhaps be mentioned were they less|known, or less lamented:|[horizontal line]|Governor. "Who did the bloody deed?|Oroonoro. "The deed was mine,|"Bloody I know it is, and I expect|"Your laws should tell me so. Thus, self condemmed,|"I do resign myself into your hands,|"The hands of Justice."|OROONORO.|[horizontal line]|A New Edition.|[horizontal line|LONDON.|Printed for G.KEARSlY, at No.46,near Serjeants Inn,|Fleet Street; and R.FAULDER,in New Bond Street.|[line]1780.[line]|


2mo. Vol.1. B6-Z6. Aa6-Cc6r. i-viii. 1-298.


advertisement. half title. title. (no A signature?) i-viii contents. preface. dedication/poem. B1-Cc6v text.


Sourced from the British Library. Digital facsimile retrieved through Eighteenth Century Collections Online. Gale Document Number: CW3314147238. Only signatures 1-3 for each letter appear (B1-B3 signatures present, next 6 pages are blank, and then C starts, and so on). Advertisements and picture of the author precede the title page. Illegible cursive handwriting on the title page.

Descriptive Bibliography: Eliza Warwick

2 min read

Traditional Bibliographic Description

Anonymous. The History of Eliza Warwick. Dublin: S. Price, W. Whitestone, R. Fitzsimmons, D. Chamberlaine, J. Sheppard, [and 17 others], 1778.

THE | HISTORY | OF | ELIZA WARWICK. | IN TWO VOLUMES. | --Vaulting Ambition, that o’erleaps itself, | And falls on t’other side.”-- | VOL. I | [2 x 30 mm ornament] | DUBLIN. | Printed for S. PRICE, W. WHITESTONE, R FITZ- | SIMMONS, D. CHAMBERLAINE, J. SHEPPARD, W. | SLEATER, T. WILKINSON, B. CORCORAN, R. | CROSS, J. HOEY, J. POTTS, J. WILLIAMS, W. | COLLES, G. BURNET, E. CROSS, R. MONCRIEFFE, | J. JENKIN, T. WALKER, T. Mc. DONELL, J. EX- | SHAW, J. BEATY, and J. MAGEE, 1778.


12mo. Vol I. B-L12 M8, 261 leaves, pp. v, vi-vii, 3-256. Vol II. A-I12 L6, 249 leaves, pp. 5, 6-251.


Vol. I: 1r half-title, 1v title, v, vi-vii dedication, B1 small title (not sure what the term is for the title-page-esque title and ornaments that sits over the text), B1-p. 256 (not sure how to mark this since the page is not signed) text. Vol II: 1r half-title, 1v title, A3 small title, A3-p. 251 (again, not sure how to mark this since the page is not signed) text.


Vol. I: p. 208 seal, p. 256: seal. Vol. II: p. 239 ornament.

What's Wrong With the Letter J?

I noticed that the signatures don't make use of the letter J, skipping straight from the I to the K signature. I did some googling and found this article which says, "Early modern books typically use a 23-letter alphabet, treating I/J as one letter, U/V as one letter, and omitting W." However, in the text of Eliza Warwick, I and J are printed as distinct letters. Perhaps the I/J conflation in the signature is a holdover from an earlier time.

Descriptive Bibliography

2 min read

Devonshire, Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of. The Sylph; a novel. In two volumes. London: printed for T. Lowndes, No. 77, Fleet-Street, MDCCLXXIX., 1779.

| THE | SYLPH; | A | NOVEL. | IN TWO VOLUMES. | "Ye Sylphs and Sylphids, to your chief give ear, | "Faes, Fairies, Genii, Elves, and Demons, hear! | "Ye know the spheres, and various talks assign'd | "By laws eternal to th' aerial kind: | "Some in the fields of purest water play, | "And bask, and whiten, in the blaze of day; | "Some guide the course of wand'ring orbs on high, | "Or roll the planets thro' the boundless sky: | "Our humbler province is to tend the Fair, | "Not a less pleasing, nor less glorious care." | POPE'S Rape of the Lock. | VOL. I. | [Ornament, size unknown (as a digital facsimile was consulted), looks like a Celtic knot] | LONDON: PRINTED FOR T. LOWNDES, NO. 77, FLEET-STREET. | MDCCLXXIX.


Vol. I, 264 p., Vol. II, 215 p., 12mo; Vol. I, A1, B1-B12, C1-C12, D1-D12, E1-E12, F1-F12, G1-G12, H1-H12, I1-I12, K1-K12, L1-L12, M1-M11; Vol. II, A1, B1-B12, C1-C12, D1-D12, E1-E12, F1-F12, G1-G12, H1-H12, I1-I12, K1-K12


Vol. I: A1r title, A1v blank, B1r-M9v text, M10-M11 advertisements; Vol. II: A1r title, B1-K4v text, K5-K12 advertisements


Epistolary. Source location is Harvard University Houghton Library. Retrieved from Eighteenth Century Collections Online. In both volumes, there appears to be no J gathering. A1v of Vol. I has a stamp and writing on it. The stamp reads | HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY | THE GIFT OF | FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY . The writing reads | By Georgiana, duchess of | Devonshire . There are also some numbers written in the bottom right corner; they read | 7415 | 41-141 | 242 . Other writing on the page is illegible. In Vol. II, A1v is not shown in the digital facsimile. M12 of Vol. 1 is either not present or not shown.


Descriptive Bibliography

1 min read

Lady. The unfortunate union: or, the test of virtue. A story founded on facts, and calculated to promote the cause of virtue in younger minds. Written by a lady. London: printed for Richardson and Urquhart, 1778.

Lady. THE | UNFORTUNATE UNION: | OR, THE | TEST OF VIRTUE. | A | STORY founded on FACTS, | AND | Calculated to promote the Cause of VIRTUE | in Younger Minds. | Written by a LADY. | VOL. 1 | London, | Printed for RICHARDSON and URQUHART, | under the Royal Exchange, and at | No. 46, Pater-noster-Row | MDCCLXXVIII.

  • I 197p; II 226p. 12 mo.


    Vol 1. A1r title, B1r-K3v text. Vol 2. A1r title, B1r-L5v text.


    Source: Harvard University Houghton Library. Digital facsimile obtained from ECCO. Epistolary form. No half title, no advertisements, no dedication, no preface, no index. In Volume 1, pages 132 and 133 are cut off halfway and then are repeated as full pages after. Same for pages 152 and 153 for volume 2. There are illegible handwritten scribbles on the title page next to the title.