“Shakespeare’s Sisters” at the Folger Library—and in EEBO-TCP

This post refers to many works from the EEBO-TCP Phase I and Phase II collections. While anyone will be able to see the metadata and table of contents for these works, only users at EEBO-TCP partner institutions will be able to continue through to the full text. 

Through May 20, 2012, the Folger Shakespeare Library is featuring a special exhibit called Shakespeare’s Sisters: Voices of English and European Women Writers, 1500-1700. According to its website, the exhibit:

takes its title from a famous passage in Virginia Woolf’s book A Room of One’s Own (1929), in which Woolf imagines a gifted sister of William Shakespeare, completely thwarted by the social restrictions of his day. Drawing on the breadth and depth of the Folger collection, with additional rare materials from other institutions, Shakespeare’s Sisters presents a far more complex—and fascinating—reality.

The exhibition has received stellar reviews from the New York Times and the Washington Post, and Folger’s Public Programs is offering a variety of related readings, lectures, and concerts.  The accompanying book presents a collection of new work by writers such as Eavan Boland, Rita Dove, Maxine Kumin, Linda Pastan, and Jane Smiley, among others, in response to some of the early women writers featured in the exhibition.  Written, designed, printed, and bound by women, the book is a limited-edition keepsake: Shakespeare’s Sisters: Women Writers Bridge Five Centuries.

In case you can’t make it to Washington, D.C. this spring—or if you can, but would like to see more of the books on display—there are a couple of options. The exhibition’s website contains images of almost all the items, a suggested reading list, and links to a dozen recordings (and transcriptions) made by women scholars, providing more background on some of the writers. We also invite you to further investigate these authors and their works in EEBO-TCP. You can take your time paging through facsimiles of books like those on display at this exhibit, and search their full text to quickly locate passages of interest.  We’re thrilled that Georgianna Ziegler, curator of the Shakespeare’s Sisters exhibit, was willing to collaborate with us to highlight some books from Shakespeare’s Sisters whose full text is available for further study in EEBO-TCP: Readmore »

Of Saints and Serpents

It will come as no surprise that EEBO-TCP is packed with references to Ireland (“Ireland” is included in the titles of nearly 1,400 works, and the word occurs close to 70,000 times in the entire corpus). Some of these are simply references to monarchs who rule over Ireland as well as the rest of Britain.  Many explicitly document the centuries of religious and political conflict between the two countries. Other mentions focus on the landscape, geography, and resources of the island, though these, too, have political implications, as these surveys are typically reports to an English ruler on the details of his property to the west.

The title of one 1657 work hints at its grand aims: Irelands naturall history being a true and ample description of its situation, greatness, shape, and nature, of its hills, woods, heaths, bogs, of its fruitfull parts, and profitable grounds : with the severall ways of manuring and improving the same : with its heads or promontories, harbours, roads, and bays, of its springs and fountains, brooks, rivers, loghs, of its metalls, mineralls, free-stone, marble, sea-coal, turf, and other things that are taken out of the ground : and lastly of the nature and temperature of its air and season, and what diseases it is free from or subject unto : conducing to the advancement of navigation, husbandry, and other profitable arts and professions

The work is addressed to

His Excellency OLIVER CROMWEL, Captain Generall of the Common-wealths Army in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and Chancellor of the University of OXFORD.

and indeed covers such ground as the “Shape and bigness of Ireland,” “Of the Heaths and Moores, or Bogs in Ireland,” (with subsections on wet, grassy, waterie, miry, and hassockie bogs), and “The Irish-sea not so tempestuous as it is bruited to be.

Readmore »

Will you TCP my Valentine?

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we bring you a smattering of poetry, puzzles, and song for sweethearts!

One of my favorites is a poem printed on a wreath of heart-shaped knots, from Recreation for ingenious head-peeces, or, A pleasant grove for their wits to walk in of epigrams 700, epitaphs 200, fancies a number, fantasticks abundance : with their addition, multiplication, and division

Readmore »