Event | In the Mountains of Madness: A Reading with Author W. Scott Poole

In the Mountains of Madness-cv-REV (1)

On Tuesday, September 27, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. in the Lownes Room of the John Hay Library, W. Scott Poole will give a reading from his new book, In the Mountains of Madness: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of H. P. Lovecraft. A discussion will follow the reading. This event is free and open to the public. The book will be available for purchase before and after the event.

IN THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS (SEPTEMBER 2016, 978-1-59376-674-4)

In the Mountains of Madness interweaves the biography of the legendary writer with an exploration of Lovecraft as a phenomenon. It aims to explain this reclusive figure while also challenging some of the general views held by Lovecraft devotees, focusing specifically on the large cross-section of horror and science fiction fans who know Lovecraft through films, Role Playing Games, and video games directly influenced by his work, but who know little or nothing about him.

From a childhood wracked with fear and intense hallucinations, Lovecraft would eventually embrace the mystical, creating ways in which his unrestrained imaginary life intersected with the world he found so difficult to endure. The monsters of his dreams became his muses. Yet, Poole insists that Lovecraft was not the Victorian prude who wrote “squishy monster stories for boys.” Rather he was a kind of neo-romantic mystic whose love of the 18th century allowed him to bring together a bit of Isaac Newton with a bit of William Blake in a real marriage of heaven and hell.

More than a traditional biography, In the Mountains of Madness places Lovecraft and his work in a cultural context, as an artist more in tune with our time than his own. Much of the literary work on Lovecraft tries to place him in relation to Poe or M.R. James or Arthur Machen; these ideas have little meaning for most contemporary readers. In his provocative new book, Poole reclaims the true essence of Lovecraft in relation to the comics of Joe Lansdale, the novels of Stephen King, and some of the biggest blockbuster films in contemporary America, proving the undying influence of this rare and significant figure.

About W. Scott Poole

Poole, scott (c) Leslie McKellar (1)W. Scott Poole, who teaches at the College of Charleston, has written widely about American history, horror, and pop culture. His books include Vampira: Dark Goddess of Horror and his award-winning history Monsters in America, which received the John G. Cawelti prize from the Popular Culture Association and was named among the “Best of the Best” by the AAUP for 2011. Poole is a regular contributor to Popmatters and his work has appeared in the Huffington Post, Religion Dispatches, and Killing the Buddha.

Date: Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: Lownes Room, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence

JHL Conservation Bulletin | September 2016

A quarterly installment highlighting Library Conservation in the Brown University community, conservation news around the internet, and ways for you to connect with conservation.

Book and paper conservation [at Brown]

Paul Banks‘ 10 Laws of Conservation. 1. No one can have access to a document that no longer exists. 2. Multiplication and dispersal increase chances for survival of information. 3. Books and documents deteriorate all the time. 4. Use causes wear. 5. Deterioration is irreversible. 6. The physical medium of a book or document contains information. 7. No reproduction can contain all the information contained in the original. 8. Authenticity cannot be restored. 9. Conservation treatment is interpretation. 10. No treatment is reversible.

Pronouncements, contradictions, and truths: there is so much to unpack. Like many other conservation professionals I think about this list often; especially when I see in my work space, a photocopy of a creased paper copy re-printed by a colleague years ago (re: laws 2, 4, 6, and 7). This list is valid for other specialites, how does it relate to you?

In house treatment at the Hay

Another ‘law’ proposed by a colleague suggests something along the lines of, “If it has been repaired once, it will be repaired again.”

1679_St9_01

A book from the Williams Table collection circulated to the lab because of detached boards. I could tell that the book had been rebacked with a traditional repair because of the two different leathers visible on both boards and the spine. More evidence of previous treatment were silked pages, pressure-sensitive tape, and infills throughout the text block. The text also contains volvelles, maps, and other complex printed matter that have survived intact. Did the binding repair fail due to popularity/ overuse (19 circulations alone since 2013), or because the materials or methods failed 100-or-so years later? And is that failure, or part of a life cycle?  This book has already been repaired once, and it is getting repaired again.

Find conservation online and in person

New technology isn’t just about computing, how will this medium age?

Multiple institutions in Boston have come together with exhibits, events, and a symposium devoted to medieval manuscript studies this November. If a trip to Boston is unappealing, participate in a do-it-yourself medieval manuscript tour throughout Rhode Island!

I admire conservators who empower communities by sharing specialized knowledge about collection care techniques. Or, commit to keeping traditions alive in communities apart from their own. However, art conservation as a community in the United States, both inside and out is problematic in its exclusivity. How can this be? We all abide by the same strict guidelines for our work. With more expensive and time consuming regulations around training, who can afford to be a professional? Do the demographics extend to conscious or unconscious bias when treating cultural property? Whose culture is it, anyway?

Catchwords

Forging the future of special collections. More to come in December.

-Rachel Lapkin, Library Materials Conservator

 

Dictionarium sinicum and Early Chinese Studies

Excerpt from Chinese-Latin dictionary with notes in Latin by Benjamin Bowen Carter. Dictionarium sinicum, page 608.


by Man Shun Yeung and Caroline Frank

Five years ago John Eng-Wong was looking for art for his office in American Studies, and University Curator Robert Emlen offered him a portrait of Benjamin Bowen Carter. Prompted by the painting, Eng-wong began to look into Carter’s background. A member of Brown University’s class of 1786 and a surgeon trained under Benjamin Rush, Carter was also one of the earliest Rhode Islander’s to sail to Canton as ship’s supercargo. Digging deeper into the archives, Eng-Wong, of Chinese descent himself, learned that Carter was perhaps the first American to make a serious attempt to learn Chinese. His research led him to Brown University Library Special Collections and two oversized eighteenth-century handwritten Chinese-Latin dictionaries—one bound and titled the Dictionarium sinicum, and the other in loose manuscript form.

Investigating this transpacific subject further, Eng-Wong then learned of a scholar in China also researching Carter—Professor Man Shun Yeung of The University of Hong Kong, who has now made two research visits to Brown University. Using rare resources found in both Brown University Library and the Rhode Island Historical Society archives, Professor Yeung intends to shine light on Carter’s role as an American pioneer in Chinese studies. His review of these two Chinese-Latin dictionaries reveals that Brown University is one of the very few special collections libraries in the world to own two different editions of the Hanzixiyi漢字西譯 (“Western Translation of Chinese Characters”) compiled by the Italian Franciscan priest Basile de Glemona (葉宗賢/葉尊教, 1648-1704). Glemona compiled the first edition of his dictionary between 1685-1694 when he was in Guangzhou and Nanjing, and the second edition between 1694-1700 when he was in Nanjing.

The Dictionarium sinicum was originally in Benjamin Bowen Carter’s possession. The “Carter manuscript” was donated by John Carter Brown (1797-1874)in 1844, as noted by his own inscription:

This volume belonged to my maternal uncle Doctor Benjamin Bowen Carter, a graduate of BU class 1786. Dr C. was a fine linguist & particularly versed in the Oriental languages & literature. He died in the City of New York AD 1831, aged 60 years.

It gives me pleasure to deposit this curious book in the College Library for preservation & for the use of those who may desire to consult it. 

Jhn Carter Brown
June 24,
1844

The dictionary also includes notes from Benjamin Bowen Carter. Carter’s remarks provide important information on the transcription of the manuscript and his own instructions for understanding Chinese characters and pronunciation. Taking into consideration that the Chinese characters are arranged according to phonetic order, this manuscript is believed to be a handwritten copy of the second edition of Glemona’s dictionary.

The other Chinese-Latin dictionary now in Special Collections was owned by Samuel Ward (1756-1832). The “Ward manuscript” has an inscription on the front cover which reads “A Chinese Dictionary by Col Saml Ward,” and is described as “Chinese Dictionary with Manuscript Notes in Latin.” During 1788 and 1789, Samuel Ward sailed to China on the vessel General Washington, managing trade for the Providence firm Brown & Francis. It is uncertain when or where he acquired the manuscript. Judging from the fact that the Chinese characters are arranged according to the Chinese radicals 部首 and the Chinese title “漢字西譯” is inscribed at the end of the main contents, this manuscript is believed to be a handwritten copy of the first edition of Glemona’s dictionary. In the first seventeen pages, Guanhua官話 (term for the language of the officials) transliterations and Latin explanations supplement the Chinese characters.

The narrative that these two dictionaries document reshapes our understanding of early Sino-American cultural relations, and offers a glimpse into transpacific connections in the late eighteenth century. The Dictionarium sinicum will be on display on the second floor of the John Hay Library through August 19.

Exhibit | Works from Contemporary Architecture: A Course with Professor Dietrich Neumann

 

stairs

The works displayed in this exhibit were created by students in Professor Dietrich Neumann’s lecture course, “Contemporary Architecture,” which surveys stylistic, technological, and theoretical developments in architecture from the 1960s to the present.

chess

Students were asked to create a model based on a building or industrial design object of this time period.

church

Date: May 18 – September 30, 2016
TimeRockefeller Library Hours
Location: Finn Reading Room Cases, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence

modern

2016 Library Innovation Prize | The Winning Game and More

Emma Gleeman ’15 describing her winning game, “Ruckus at the Rock”

The Library is pleased to announce that Emma Gleeman ‘15 is the winner of this year’s Library Innovation Prize. This year, the Prize asked students to design games that drew on the Library as a space for play or that used the Library’s collections as content for the game. Emma’s design is a collaborative storytelling game titled “Ruckus at the Rock.”

In her game, players face a catastrophe taking place in the Library drawn from a deck of cards: a swarm of bees in the Absolute Quiet Room! Josiah Carbery’s ghost is hurling cracked pots at you! The snack cart runs out of coffee! They then draw three items from a second deck—a rolling chair, a desk lamp, and a red velvet muffin—and must come up with a story that uses all three items to avert the ruckus at the Rock.

During the presentation in the Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Gleeman presented her handmade game components in a cut-up copy of Boccaccio’s Decameron. She was careful to point out that the copy did not come from the stacks in the Rock! She also showed a video of friends play testing the game so attendees could better understand how it works. The judges praised Gleeman’s work for the cooperative nature of play, the creativity and fun it inspired, and how it highlighted many familiar aspects of the Rock and how students interact with it on a daily basis.

Alicia Stepanov

Brigitte Stepanov

Four other games were presented at the Innovation Prize Showcase, which took place April 15, 2016. Graduate student Brigitte Stepanov debuted “Library Quest,” which asked teams to complete a number of missions across the different libraries at Brown. These quests included trivia questions, finding good study spaces in a library, and finding paintings in the Annmary Brown Memorial or lounge furniture in the SciLi. Brigitte even designed her own game to be played within her game.

Alicia DaVos

Alicia DeVos

Alicia DeVos ’18 presented “To the Letter,” which gave players a list of clues to find around the library. These clues were all letters that would then be rearranged to solve the puzzle and lead players to a prize. For example, one clue asked individuals to find the twenty-third letter of the quotation by the entrance to the Rock. DeVos anticipated that “To the Letter” could be played in spurts, as a study break activity, with students tackling one clue at a time.

Rebecca Andrews

Rebecca Andrews

Rebecca Andrews ’18 similarly designed an experience for students who needed a break from their work. “Library Hunt” presents a game of hide and go seek in the Library. Those who are hiding grab the book that is closest to them and texts its title and author to the player who is “it.” The player who is “it” uses library resources to find those who are hiding, looking through the catalog and then navigating through the stacks. The hiders had to stay in place for four minutes after sending their text and then could try to make it back to base. Andrews reported that the game helped her become more familiar with both Library resources and with the layout of the Rock. She also recommended level A as the best place to hide!

Graduate Student Group

Public Humanities Graduate Student Group

Finally, a team of graduate students from the Public Humanities program—Leah Burgin, Maggie Unverzagt Goddard, Tyler French, Andrea Ledesma, and Inge Zwart—showed off “Collect Yourshelf.” Taking on the role of librarians, players in this game worked to build the best “shelf” of library materials they could find, having to pull from each of Brown’s different libraries. A player’s shelf can only hold one item from each library, so it is important to think carefully about what to put on your shelf. The whole game is driven by action cards, which give instruction for what to do on your turn. To create various levels of interaction in “Collect Yourshelf,” the team created regular, intensified, and extreme action cards.

The Library appreciates all of the hard work that went into these games and looks forward to seeing what Brown students do in next year’s Innovation Prize.

Event | Pizza Nights

Pizza

It’s that time of year!

Pizza Nights are here!

Every semester the Library hosts two nights of pizza to fortify your studying. The first (Tuesday) night will be in the Sciences Library. The next night (Wednesday) there will be pizza in the Rock. Students that enjoy studying in a library as well as eating pizza are encouraged to attend.

Schedule
Tuesday, May 10  |  9 p.m.  | Friedman Center (SciLi)
Wednesday, May 11  |  9 p.m.  |  Rockefeller Library Lobby

This semester’s pizza nights are sponsored by the Library, Campus Life, and an ever true Brown Family.

Good luck with exams!

#pizzanight

The Gregory Corso Papers – the unpublished poetry of a Beat poet

Gregory Corso in a hotel room, circa 1983

Gregory Corso in a hotel room, circa 1983

The Gregory Corso papers, a collection of unpublished poetry, writings, photographs and original oil paintings, are now available for research at the John Hay Library.  They provide an intimate look into the complicated life and work of one of the most influential Beat poets of his generation.

Corso was born in 1930 in New York City.  His mother left the family when he was a year old and he spent his childhood enduring various orphanages, foster homes, reform schools, and on the streets.  At sixteen, he landed in jail for robbery and was sentenced to three years at the Clinton State Prison. During his stay there, he compensated for his lack of a traditional education by frequenting the prison library where he discovered the works of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Arthur Rimbaud, among others, and began writing his own poetry.

He met Allen Ginsberg at a bar in Greenwich Village in 1950, a chance encounter that precipitated what was to become a lasting personal and creative relationship. Ginsberg recognized Corso’s talent and the originality of his poetic voice. Through Ginsberg, Corso met and became friends with other writers in Ginsberg’s circle, including Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, and Neal Cassady, many of whom become not only influential in Corso’s artistic development, but leading figures in the Beat movement of that era.

A page in Notebook No.8 in the Corso papers.  The text reads: "2 very profound beings. Thinker. Poet."

A drawing by Corso in Notebook No.8. The text reads: “2 very profound beings. Thinker. Poet.”

The manuscripts and working notebooks that make up the bulk of the Gregory Corso papers include drafts for an unpublished book of poetry he titled “The Golden Dot.” His notebooks are full of reminiscences, musings about life, drafts for poems, and drawings. The manuscripts are supplemented by correspondence, paintings, photographs, and a small but interesting assortment of other materials, including phonograph records, VHS cassettes, books and ephemeral materials. The bulk of the collection dates from 1980 to 1983 when he was living in New York City and became friends with a poet named Laura Boss.

A letter in the collection from Laura Boss to Allen Ginsberg in January 1984  summed up her experience of Corso: “Gregory is the most charming and least charming man I have ever known. He can come closer to the truth than anyone…and the most outrageous liar I have ever met…”  Researchers are encouraged to visit the John Hay Library to utilize these previously unknown resources that document the life of an influential poet and writer.

Special Collections | Hubert Jennings Papers on Fernando Pessoa

Hubert Jennings at enlistment for World War I

Hubert Jennings at enlistment for World War I

In October 2015, Christopher Jennings and Bridget Winstanley, son and daughter of British and South African scholar Hubert Dudley Jennings, donated their father’s personal papers to Brown University Library.

In January of this year, Folha de S.Paulo, one of Brazil’s leading daily newspapers, featured an article about the discovery of the Hubert Jennings archive in a garage in Johannesburg and its subsequent donation to the Brown University Library. Professor Onésimo Almeida published a response to this article in Malomil.

Born in London in 1896, Hubert Jennings served in World War I and moved to South Africa after graduating from the University of Wales. In his newly adopted land, Jennings became Assistant Headmaster at Durban High School, where he remained employed for the next twelve years (1923-1935). Jennings was one of the first biographers of Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa and one of the first scholars to be interested in Pessoa’s English poetry. Jennings left an invaluable contribution to Pessoan studies with his biographical works on the poet’s stay in South Africa – Fernando Pessoa in Durban (1986) and Os Dois Exílios: Fernando Pessoa na África do Sul (1984).

Through this gift, soon accessible online and in physical form at the John Hay Library, scholars will get a unique glimpse at Pessoa’s life in South Africa following his father’s death. Aside from his published works, Hubert Jennings also left a complete and unpublished book about Fernando Pessoa; plans and notes for other books on the noted writer; an inventory of Pessoa’s estate; numerous transcriptions and translations of Pessoa’s poetry and prose; original short stories taking place in Portugal; a considerable correspondence with writers and scholars from around the world interested in Pessoa’s work; and photos and copies of documents regarding Pessoa’s life, which complement the collection of artifacts housed at the National Library of Portugal and the Casa Pessoa.

Jennings at his desk

Jennings at his desk

Exhibit | Cardboard Revolution: Cartoneras, Literacy, and Sustainable Publishing in Brazil

CardboardRevolution-Finn_web

On March 31, 2016, the Brown University Library will host the reception for the Brazilian Studies Association (BRASA) annual conference. As part of the conference, the Library is mounting an exhibit featuring two independent publishers from Brazil: Dulcinéia Catadora and Mariposa Cartonera, entitled “Cardboard Revolution: Cartoneras, Literacy, and Sustainable Publishing in Brazil.” The exhibit will be installed in the Finn Room cases at the Rockefeller Library.

Drawn from the diverse materials of Brown University Library’s Brasiliana Collection, the chapbooks in this exhibition showcase the vibrant productions of two independent Brazilian publishing collectives, DULCINÉIA CATADORA and MARIPOSA CARTONERA. The collectives are representative of the widespread Latin American practice of cartonera—an alternative publishing and art venture committed to social activism, economic justice, cooperative creativity, and literacy. The books of poetry and prose feature prominent and undiscovered writers and are bound in distinctive covers crafted in workshops by the collectives, community members and artists.

Date: March 30 – May 2, 2016
Time: Library Hours
Location: Finn Room Exhibit Cases, Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence