nineweaving: (Default)
[personal profile] nineweaving
The notebook of a 17th-century scholar—with comments on Shakespeare— turned up on Antiques Roadshow. The appraiser's hands were trembling. Mine would be.

ETA:  A longer clip is now up at the Antiques Roadshow site.  More page views.  The notebook is bound in a page of an old music manuscript.


Date: 2017-04-02 04:37 am (UTC)
sovay: (Rotwang)
From: [personal profile] sovay
It turned up

I regret to report that this link is broken. I was able to extract it and see that the object appears to be a notebook belonging to a seventeenth-century student of Shakespeare, but I still think you want to check the HTML.

Date: 2017-04-02 04:51 am (UTC)
sovay: (I Claudius)
From: [personal profile] sovay
And it definitely won't crosspost. Infuriating.

Does it give you an error message explaining the inability to crosspost? (Can you crosspost an entry without the link?)

Date: 2017-04-02 05:45 am (UTC)
movingfinger: (Default)
From: [personal profile] movingfinger
I hope he donates it to the BL in lieu of taxes...

Date: 2017-04-02 06:06 am (UTC)
movingfinger: (Default)
From: [personal profile] movingfinger
There are some pretty clear shots in that video. Wish he'd paged through it a little more on camera...

ETA: First shot of a partial page has nonconsecutive phrases from Two Gentlemen of Verona, one of them missing a word ("...heap on your head
A pack of sorrows which would press you down,
[Being] unprevented, to your timeless grave.")

It's not obvious what these short snippets might be for.

ETA2: What kind of manuscript expert is declaring he can't read this thing? I'm no expert and I'm getting a pretty clear reading on it by turning my monitor sideways. As crabbed hands go, this one is better than many I've met.

Also: Well, it is April 1, I do hope it is not a loathesome windup or a hoax.
Edited Date: 2017-04-02 06:36 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-04-02 07:03 am (UTC)
movingfinger: (Default)
From: [personal profile] movingfinger
In the article, possibly a quote from a later interview with manuscript guy:

"There is so much research that can be done on this item," said Mr Haley, who appraised the item at Caversham Park in Berkshire.

"It's amazing, it's almost completely illegible, but you can pick out the odd word, and you can pick out phrases that appear in Shakespeare."

It's in such beautiful condition. It doesn't even look pocket-battered, if you take my meaning. The glimpse of red lettering on the inside of the cover intrigues me.

A seventeenth-century Moleskine!

ETA: Oh, gosh, I had the catalog from that space sale somewhere... it was breathtaking just to think of it, of those things being sold...
Edited Date: 2017-04-02 07:05 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-04-02 01:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It does sound too good to be true, despite the seemingly-authentic provenance. I mean. . .trembling doesn't begin to cover it--IF it's real.

Date: 2017-04-02 05:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Now that I've watched the longer clip on the Antiques Road Show site (see ETA above), it does really look genuine. To begin with the breathlessly withheld auction price is much too modest for a hoax: £30,000. For another, the appraiser hasn't studied up what fabulous revelations he should make. No lost plays, no personal gossip headlined. It looks real.

The Stratford Observer has picked the story up...


Date: 2017-04-02 06:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That price seems low, doesn't it? Not that I'm up on the MS market, but Shakespeare sells.

Date: 2017-04-03 05:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
One provincial paper reported that some Tolkien letters on the same show were appraised at £15,000.


Date: 2017-04-02 02:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I like how the real reveal is how much they'll be able to sell it for. Whereas >I want to know what year and what quotations and what he said about them! And especially, maybe, was he copying unknown variants out of now lost Quartos or the like?

Date: 2017-04-02 02:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I could make out Two Gentlemen: "Heap on your head a pack of sorrows."

Date: 2017-04-02 03:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes! How much it costs is really not the important fact here…

I paused the video at 1:05 and could make out "claw no man in his humor / I had rather be a canker" from Much Ado.

ETA: I can see "Infranchised with a clog" on that same page as well (from the same speech of Don John's), and then "so tartly I can never see him but I am [heartburned] an hour after," so perhaps this is a page of lines from Much Ado. (I don't think I could have made out "heartburned" if I didn't already know Beatrice says that about Don John; hence the square brackets.)
Edited Date: 2017-04-02 03:13 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-04-02 03:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Added you, just to say. (I work on Shakespeare stuff.)

Date: 2017-04-02 04:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Added you as well; hello!

And while I'm here: There's more 2GV on the page you were looking at, at 0:53: "Feed upon ye shaddow of perfection / She is my [Essence] & I cease [?] to be If I be not by her"

(Though I don't know the play as well as I ought, considering I wrote about it in my dissertation, and mainly remember this because Viola de Lesseps recites it in Shakespeare in Love!)

There's also the fragment "ribs but bankrout" at 1:07, where there are fingers in the way; I didn't recognize it, but putting "ribs but bankrupt" into Open Source Shakespeare gave me a line from Love's Labor's Lost: "Make rich the ribs, but bankrupt quite the wits."

Date: 2017-04-02 05:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Twelfth Night at 1:58 (longer clip)! With magnifying glass.


Date: 2017-04-02 05:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
At 1:24 in the longer clip, at the very top of the page, I can make out "Hallow your name to ye [???] hils / & make ye babling gossips of ye air"… Given that this is from Twelfth Night, I suppose that unintelligible bit could be "reverberate," but honestly I can't make it out.

Then there's a line I can't read at all, and then "Perfection with an Invisible & subtle stealth / to creep in at [mine eys] // It gives an / Echo to the seat where love is [thron'd]"

Then the melancholy god line; then, just after "taffeta," "that miracle / & [queene] of gems [that nature pranks her in] / attracts my soule // a greene & yellow me / lancholy like [unintelligible till the next line] / damask"
And the next line starts with "Patience on a monument smiling at greife" -- so lots of Twelfth Night on this page!

Date: 2017-04-02 05:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
And a little further down, I can just about make out "Contemplation makes a rare turky cock of him," and the phrase "a chevril glove to a good wit" - more Twelfth Night.

Date: 2017-04-02 05:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is fabulous. I have a vision of thousands of Shakespeareans puzzling this out, frame by frame. When O when will we see proper images?


Date: 2017-04-02 06:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
O had I but followed the arts (of early modern paleography)! There was no one still teaching it when I was doing my PhD - not unless you were in the history department, and knew more languages than I did. It is one of my major regrets; some summer I really ought to do one of those online courses on it.

As others have said, I so hope the book gets a good scholarly home - and then gets digitized!

Date: 2017-04-02 06:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
There was no one still teaching it when I was doing my PhD

What!!! At Redacted University? I am appalled.

Those online courses look jolly useful. I can struggle through a line or two of secretary hand, with frantic emails when I reach a crux, but I'd love to be able to just read.


Date: 2017-04-02 06:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes - my understanding is that the professor who used to teach paleography and bibliography in the English department had just retired when I arrived! Alas.

In my first year an eminent male Shakespearean wanted to brush up his secretary hand, so he invited any interested grad students into the rare books library with one of the librarians for a few weeks, and we puzzled out various documents together - which was delightful, but all too brief. Everything I know about secretary hand comes from those few weeks.
Edited Date: 2017-04-02 06:23 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-04-02 06:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
O you fortunate student! That does sound delightful.


Date: 2017-04-02 07:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
On these occasions, I am always reminded of the story that Keith Wrightson, the noted historian of the 17th c., tells about himself: how when commencing his dissertation research, he got one of the documents he was supposed to be looking at, was entirely unable to read it, started at it blankly for a couple of hours, and then gave up and went out to a movie; and then came back the next day, and painstakingly taught himself 17th c. paleography.

Date: 2017-04-02 08:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That is a very heartening story!

Date: 2017-04-02 05:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes! How much it costs is really not the important fact here…

And in the full clip, that's what the appraiser focuses on. Thank heavens.


Date: 2017-04-02 05:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I like how the real reveal is how much they'll be able to sell it for.

Well, this is the BBC in its dual role as journalism and entertainment. They want you to tune in!

Whereas I want to know what year and what quotations and what he said about them! And especially, maybe, was he copying unknown variants out of now lost Quartos or the like?

That's what we're all panting to discover! (And it wouldn't hurt if the unknown author mentioned Stratford...)

Edited Date: 2017-04-02 05:21 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-04-02 03:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, wow!!!

Date: 2017-04-02 05:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I hope to hell this goes straight into the hands of a good scholar.


Date: 2017-04-02 05:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
YES. Or a school where good scholars can have access to it.

Date: 2017-04-02 05:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The British Library, I hope. Or the Folger.


Date: 2017-04-02 05:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The focus on £sd is an editorial artefact. In the longer clip, the appraiser talks about "so much scholarship now about Shakespeare, how early readers were receiving his work, and what their reactions were, what they were focusing on."

And a magnifying glass on Twelfth Night! "...the melancholy god protect thee, and make thy doublet of changeable taffeta." (1:58)

The little book is bound in a scrap of old church music manuscript (thank you, dissolution of the monasteries), and there are two wax seals that say "Waterhouse." Provenance!

Edited Date: 2017-04-02 05:37 pm (UTC)

Obligatory Aubrey

Date: 2017-04-02 05:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"A DIGRESSION. - Anno 1633, I entred into my grammar at the latin schoole
at Yatton-Keynel, in the church, where the curate, Mr. Hart, taught
the eldest boyes Virgil, Ovid, Cicero, &c. The fashion then was to
save the forules of their bookes with a false cover of parchment, sc.
old manuscript, which I [could not] was too young to understand; but
I was pleased with the elegancy of the writing and the coloured
initiall letters. I remember the rector here, Mr. Wm. Stump, great
gr.-son of St. the cloathier of Malmesbury, had severall manuscripts
of the abbey. He was a proper man and a good fellow; and, when he
brewed a barrell of speciall ale, his use was to stop the bung- hole,
under the clay, with a sheet of manuscript; he sayd nothing did it so
well: which me thought did grieve me then to see. Afterwards I went to
schoole to Mr. Latimer at Leigh-delamer, the next parish, where was
the like use of covering of bookes. In my grandfather's dayes the
manuscripts flew about like butterflies. All music bookes, account
bookes, copie bookes, &c. were covered with old manuscripts, as wee
cover them now with blew paper or marbled paper; and the glovers at
Malmesbury made great havoc of them; and gloves were wrapt up no
doubt in many good pieces of antiquity."

Re: Obligatory Aubrey

Date: 2017-04-02 06:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
...the manuscripts flew about like butterflies...

And all Shakespeare's manuscripts—Hamlet, the Dream, Cardenio and all—doubtless went to the stopping of bung-holes and the baking of pies. Sadly paper is even more ephemeral than parchment. As John Webster wrote of a critic, "but the itche of bestriding the Presse, or getting up on this wodden Pacolet [magical horse], hath defil’d more innocent paper, then ever did Laxative Physicke."


Re: Obligatory Aubrey

Date: 2017-04-02 06:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If I were to get many hands on a time machine I would probably go back and put bugs in The Globe and get the plays in full.

Re: Obligatory Aubrey

Date: 2017-04-02 06:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh yes. First place I'd go in a time machine.


Re: Obligatory Aubrey

Date: 2017-04-02 06:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, that's a heartrending piece - but a wonderful passage!

Re: Obligatory Aubrey

Date: 2017-04-02 06:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Aubrey had the soul of a true antiquarian—and the nose of a gossip. Thank heavens.


Re: Obligatory Aubrey

Date: 2017-04-02 07:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Aubrey is the very life of the seventeenth century.

Date: 2017-04-02 07:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Actually, yes, I'd be quite interested to know what the vellum had on it...

Date: 2017-04-03 01:27 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-04-02 08:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The page I'm looking at *seems* to be a collection of lines from 2GoV that the (reader? spectator?) found noteworthy:

Heap on your ?head a a pack of sorrow wch
preße you downe unp[re]sented to a ?timeleße grave
The fools are mad if left alone
My herald thoughts in thy pure bosome...
Bestow thy fawns
[sic] on ?equall mates
Feed up on ye shaddow of perfection
She is my Essence & I craft to be If I be
not by her Influence cherisht Ilumined
My ears are stopt & cannot heare good news
So much of bad hath already poßest y[e]m...

Bits of this - disparate lines in the edition I'm looking at - look like they could be one continuous speech in some earlier or condensed version of the play; but it's hard to say if these and other differences represent actual textual varients, or just the accident of what the writer misheard, didn't find interesting, or didn't have time to copy down.

Date: 2017-04-02 08:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
They were all taught in grammar school to keep commonplace books of striking phrases and sententiae.



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