The twenty-eight portraits comprise accounts of, or tributes to, collectors, booksellers, librarians, scholarly editors, publishers, bibliographical scholars, literary and historical scholars, and authors. Figures represented by substantial essays are Fredson Bowers, John Carter, Floyd Dell, Nancy Hale, Harrison Horblit, Vera Lawrence, Ruth Mortimer, and Gordon Ray; among the other people commented on are Harrison Hayford, Mary Hyde, Alfred Kazin, William Matheson, William Scheide, and Carl Woodring.
The “Reviews” section consists of forty-two pieces, mostly book reviews but also including some responses to essays, introductions to anthologies, and retrospective assessments. There are discussions of bibliographical classics by Fredson Bowers, Philip Gaskell, D. F. McKenzie, Paul Needham, Allan Stevenson, and David Vander Meulen, as well as of titles by other major scholars, such as Roger Chartier, Robert Darnton, Anthony Grafton, and David McKitterick. Also treated are books by William A. Jackson, Larry McMurtry, and Nicholson Baker, plus several bibliographies, bibliographical reference works, books on book collecting, and scholarly editions. Other items involve bookcloth, Blake’s printmaking, textual theory, book preservation, and the antiquarian book trade.
David L. Vander Meulen’s Where Angels Fear to Tread: Descriptive Bibliography and Alexander Pope has come to be regarded as a classic statement of the purposes and methods of descriptive bibliography. Initially presented as the 1987 Engelhard Lecture and subsequently published by the Library of Congress, Where Angels Fear to Tread is now published in a new edition with an introduction by G. Thomas Tanselle, president of the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia.
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Bibliographical essays : a tribute to Wilberforce Eames.
“No bibliographer now active should neglect this book where the history is larger than the biography of any one individual that contributed to it.”
T. H. Howard-Hill, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America
Bibliographical Essays A Tribute To Wilberforce Eames
G. Thomas Tanselle, former vice president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and adjunct professor of English at Columbia University, is president of the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia and co-editor of the Northwestern-Newberry Edition of the writings of Herman Melville. He has previously served as president of the Bibliographical Society of America, the Grolier Club, and the Society for Textual Scholarship. His collection of American imprints is in the Beinecke Library at Yale, where his assemblage of nineteenth-century book-jackets will soon be placed as well.
a tribute to Wilberforce Eames.
Two of them deal with individual periodicals ( and the Bibliographical Society’s ) and two with the development of descriptive bibliographies (of American authors and eighteenth-century books). Other essays cover the writing of publishing history, the theorizing about the scientific nature of bibliography, the recording of copyrighted books, the indexing of bibliographical periodicals, and the preserving of booksellers’ catalogues. One takes up the production of a major reference work (the ESTC), and another the role of a single locality (Indianapolis) in book history. The Grolier Club is the subject of two contrasting styles of history: a journalistic account of current events (the Club’s centenary festivities) and a retrospective investigation of a bibliographical activity (the mounting of exhibitions as practiced at the Club). The fiftieth anniversary of the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia also receives journalistic treatment. Textual criticism and scholarly editing have a place here because they are so intimately tied to the study of the physical objects that transmit texts. The two essays on textual matters explore, first, the traditions of scholarly editing and, second, how those traditions have been applied or misapplied to visual and aural works. A final essay, serving as an epilogue to the volume, discusses bibliographical history as a field, defining it, surveying previous work to build on, and suggesting the value of producing more such work.