Sunday, April 14, 2013

Links & Reviews

- Your must-read of the week is Eric Naiman's "When Dickens met Dostoesvky" in the TLS, an absolutely riveting account of what appears to be a long-running, complex and widespread series of academic hoaxes (the fruits of which have ended up in several major Charles Dickens biographies, among other publications).

- The Chicago Tribune reported on Tuesday that the city's Field Museum is mulling the sale of its rare book collection, after a "committee of scientists and executives tasked with evaluating the museum's financial situation suggested in a report to the president" that the books "could fetch up to $50 million." The Museum has since 1970 been home to what is often called the finest copy in existence of Audubon's Birds of America, among other rarities.

- Stephen Enniss has been named the new director of the Harry Ransom Center, and will succeed Thomas Staley at the end of August. Enniss is currently head librarian at the Folger, and was previously at Emory.

- Another don't-miss: Sarah Werner's post at The Collation this week on mourning pages and what they can show us.

- A trove of books and other items stolen from the Lambeth Palace library prior to 1975 have been recovered; the thief, apparently repentant, left along with his will a sealed letter containing a confession and instructions on how the books could be retrieved. The article identifies the thief only as "an individual who had once been associated with the library."

- As part of their illustrations series, Echoes from the Vault explores the amazing images in Athansius Kircher's Musurgia Universalis (1650 edition).

- The "Roman de Gillion de Trazegnies," a 15th-century Flemish illuminated manuscript purchased by the Getty Museum in December for £3.8 million, has been placed under an export embargo by the British government so that authorities can attempt to raise funds to keep the manuscript in the UK.

- A collection of 28 letters from J.D. Salinger to the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center of New York and its leaders between 1967 and 2006 have been donated by the center to the Morgan Library.

- Over on the Tavistock Books blog, a profile of Shakespeare scholar (and prankster) George Steevens.

- The Princeton Graphic Arts blog posted this week that Henry Morris has announced that the most recent Bird & Bull Press publication, Busby's Street Scenes, will be the last.

- Classicist Giovanna Ceserani's Mapping the Grand Tour project is highlighted by James Kierstead in the Stanford Report.

- John Overholt passed along on Twitter this week a really remarkable "correction" which appears in the 13 April issue of The Lancet. It concerns the journal's treatment of John Snow, of cholera map fame, in both their 1858 obituary and an 1855 editorial, of which: "The Editor would also like to add that comments such as 'In riding his hobby very hard, he has fallen down through a gully-hole and has never since been able to get out again' and 'Has he any facts to show in proof? No!', published in an Editorial on Dr Snow's theories in 1855, were perhaps somewhat overly negative in tone."

- The BBC is going to adapt Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell as a miniseries. Dave Itzkoff's NYT ArtsBeat post on this contains the wonderful line "No casting was immediately announced for Jonathan Strange, Mr. Norrell or the footnotes ...".

- Amanda Katz has a playful takeoff on AndrĂ© Aciman's new novel Harvard Square, imagining the novels named for other squares in the Boston area.


- Rick Gekoski's Lost, Stolen or Shredded; review by Stuart Kelly in The Scotsman.

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