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The 2022 New Scholars

Malkin New Scholar

Christopher Adams is an AHRC-funded PhD student at the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London. His work examines the publishing history of the postwar British queer novel. He is the editor of several plays in The Collected Works of John Ford (OUP) and periodically teaches bibliographical description at Rare Book School. He also works as a playwright and screenwriter.

‘Could you make it rather more of a He and She picture?’ : The Queer Dust-Jacket and Postwar British Fiction – watch now on YouTube

Since G. Thomas Tanselle published his 1971 essay ‘Book-Jackets, Blurbs, and Bibliographers’, dust-jackets have gained increasing scholarly attention as the ‘raw material of publishing history’. Meant to catch the eye of the buyer and publicise critical information about the book, in postwar Britain a ‘good jacket’ was deemed essential for strong sales. But for the increasing number of novels that dealt with homosexual, bisexual, queer, or gender non-conforming characters — a category referred to as ‘queer books’ — dust-jackets represented a site of considerable tension. How was the dust-jacket of a queer novel to market a subject that was deemed obscene and/or illegal? Drawing on extensive research into publishers’ archives, this highly-illustrated talk uses examples from the works of Compton Mackenzie, Mary Renault, and Francis King to detail the surprising and nefarioius ways in which dust-jackets of queer novels were subjected to contortion, adjustment, and control.  

Pantzer New Scholar

Eve Houghton is a PhD candidate in English at Yale University. Her research is broadly focused on literature and social life in seventeenth-century England, with a focus on drama. Her dissertation, “The Awkward Age,” traces the relationship between early modern awkwardness and emerging ideas of dramatic “character,” in the sense of the eccentric, distinctive, and singular. Other research interests include 20th-century collecting histories, book history and textual studies, gender and sexuality, and affect theory. Eve has also curated several rare book exhibits at Yale, including a 2020 Beinecke Library exhibit on “early modern memes” and English manuscript culture, and currently serves as Assistant Librarian at the Elizabethan Club. She received her BA in English from Yale University and an MPhil in Renaissance Literature from the University of Cambridge.

‘I am always sorry to antagonize collectors’: Henrietta Bartlett and the 1916 Census of Shakespeare Quartos – watch now on YouTube

This paper highlights the work of Henrietta Bartlett, a bibliographer and scholar-librarian who compiled the Census of Shakespeare’s Plays in Quarto (1916). Moving across the archive of Bartlett’s correspondence to reconstruct the uneven economies of bibliographic work, I argue that viewing her labor through the lens of feminist bibliography foregrounds the important struggles over gender, class, and authority in the Shakespeare Census. Questions about authority and inclusion were particularly acute for a project that compiled information about Shakespeare quartos held in private hands, and thus relied heavily on the voluntary contributions of collectors and bibliophiles. Focusing on Bartlett’s relationships with two Shakespeare collectors, Henry Folger and the lesser-known Herschel V. Jones, I explore how gender framed Bartlett’s performance of scholarly sociability in the genteel world of early-twentieth-century bibliophilic New York.

BSA New Scholar

Liza Mardoyan earned her Master of Library & Information Science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2020 specializing in Rare Books, Manuscripts, Print, and Visual Culture. She is primarily interested in the history of the book, paleography, literacy, and transfer of knowledge within the east and west Mediterranean cultures in the 17th and 18th centuries, via the book trade through merchant mobility routes. For many years, she resided and experienced the essence of the city that “made the world read” – Venice, Italy. Her research focuses on the cultural relationship between Armenians and Venetians and the resulting book network.

Decorative Bird Initials in the Medieval Armenian Manuscript Culture – watch now on YouTube

 In the scholarship about Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts decorative initials are classified and discussed through an art historical perspective as illustrations, design, and decoration of the manuscript. On the other hand, miniatures take the lion’s share in publications as art history in manuscript illumination, often associated with the value of the manuscript, its beauty, and the iconography, which is analyzed by its relationship to the text. Bibliographical methods can bring together questions raised by paleography and art history for the analysis of decorative initials as more than mere decorations but as the symbolic aesthetic intervention of letters in dialogue with the exegesis of the text. This paper discusses the decorative initials in the exquisitely illuminated early 14th-century manuscript, the Gladzor Gospels [Armenian MS 1, Four Gospels, UCLA Special Collections] from a paleographical point of view, offering a brief historical background about the invention of the Armenian alphabet, the importance of the divine letters in the Armenian manuscript tradition, particularly in the Gospels, and the use of the unique bird-letter initials, situated within the context of the larger tradition of the Medieval Armenian Manuscript Culture.