The night side of nature: or, ghosts and ghost seers, by Catherine Crowe (London, 1852 [3rd edition]). This was the most popular and influential work on paranormal phenomena in the nineteenth century. The author recounts hundreds of “authentic” tales of supernatural occurrences, including premonitory dreams, poltergeists, and döpplegangers, in a passionate plea for scientists to conduct serious investigations into these strange occurrences. She was “a hugely important figure in the emergence of modern ghost-seeing culture chiefly because of her relentless calls for society to turn its attention to the unexplained phenomena in its midst and investigate them in an objective manner.” (McCorristine, Spectres of the Self: Thinking about Ghosts and Ghost-Seeing in England, 1750-1920, p. 10). A sensation in its day, this work introduced many Victorians to the occult, and is considered to have “marked the turning point in society’s relationship with the paranormal.” (Evans, Intrusions: Society and the Paranormal, p. 88).
Crowe (1790-1872), a noted English novelist, was a popular figure who socialized in the same circles as Dickens, Thackery, Hans Christian Anderson, and Charlotte Brontë. She became a celebrity advocate for scientific research into the occult with the publication of The night side, and is credited for introducing the German word poltergeist into the English language with this work (see Blum, p. 15). She was the object of scandal in 1854 when reports circulated that she was found wandering nude and deranged on the streets of Edinburgh—a claim she adamantly denied.
Late 19thC decorative bindings are endlessly fascinating, and this book by J. M. Barrie is even more delightful. This is the first American edition of My Lady Nicotine. A Study in Smoke. In a series of wispy little essays (33 of them, generally under 2,000 words) Barrie explores the pleasures and pitfalls of dedicated smoking recounted by one who has happily married (with tongue lightly in cheek), and has “quit”–but still dreams of bachelor days and the pipe, the cigarette, and the cigar.
Illustrated for the first time throughout (well over 130 illustrations in all) by the American impressionist painter Maurice B. Prendergast (only one of two books he illustrated himself).
Chapter titles include, “Matrimony and Smoking Compared,” “His Wife’s Cigars,” “The Romance of a Pipe-Cleaner,” “How Heroes Smoke,” and “The Perils of Not Smoking.”
Tags: New Acquisition
From these posts it might seem that we only acquire “old” things–so here is an antidote to that assumption. Below is the bookseller’s description, which gives a nice precis of the scope of the magazine:
Feminist Bookstore News. 47 issues from 1987 to 1999. Published in San Francisco by Carol Seajay from 1983 to 2000, FBN is an unparalleled primary source for hard-to-find information about feminist publishing and bookselling of the day. It is packed with feature articles, news notes, book reviews, surveys of the field, business strategies, profiles of publishers and shops, ads, and more. The ups and downs, causes and concerns, of the feminist book community come across with great immediacy. Although the focus is on the U.S., there is a great deal of international coverage, including Third World feminism. Some issues focus on themes, such as Black History, Children’s Books, University Press, and Travel. All kinds of publishers are represented–mainstream trade, scholarly, small press, lesbian, etc.
Tags: New Acquisition
I’m very pleased to announce our most recent publication, John Piper in the Watkinson: An Illustrated Checklist, produced to celebrate the recent gift of a collection of books and ephemera related to the British artist John Piper (1903–1992) to the Watkinson Library.
The catalogue contains an essay by the donor (William J. McGill, Trinity Class of 1957) on his interest in Piper for over three decades, and an annotated list of the entire collection of ca. 200 items. Designed by Arley-Rose Torsone, the text and full-color illustrations were printed by Finlay (Bloomfield, CT). The cover, which features a stylized representation of the immense baptistry window of Coventry Cathedral which John Piper designed, was printed in four-color letterpress by DWRI Letterpress of Providence, RI.
The catalogue was printed in only 500 copies, and will be available soon from our distributor, Oak Knoll Books. (www.oakknoll.com).