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William Morris Society in the United States
Newsletter January 1999


THE ARTS OF THE BRITISH 1890S

This September the William Morris Society in the United States will join with the Georgetown University English Department, the Eighteen Nineties Society, and the Freer Gallery of Art to sponsor a three-day interdisciplinary conference in Washington, DC exploring the arts of the British 1890s. The conference will include a keynote address at the Freer Gallery, on the evening of Friday, 10 September by the author Merlin Holland (grandson of Oscar Wilde); one day of academic papers at Georgetown University; and a visit to a related exhibition on Sunday, 12 September.

The conference organizers seek participants to present papers on Saturday, 11 September. Papers should have a reading time of 15 minutes and should address the conference topic in broad terms. Preference will be given to papers examining the interrelations of the arts in Britain in the 1890s, as well as the global influences upon and impact of those arts (including music, theatre, painting, decorative arts, graphic design, literature, etc.). Papers on single figures or works are discouraged. Please send 250-word proposals by 1 February 1999 to: Mark Samuels Lasner, William Morris Society in the United States, P.O. Box 53263, Washington, DC 20009. Communications may also be made via e-mail: biblio@aol.com.

1998 MLA SAN FRANCISCO

The Society's activities at the Modern Language Association annual convention in San Francisco must be counted as a success. Both of our sessions of scholarly papers were well attended&emdash;indeed the rooms were too small for the almost standing-room-only crowds. "New Views of the Pre-Raphaelites," on the evening of 27 December had Margaret Debelius of Princeton University in the chair and featured talks by Florence Boos (University of Iowa) on "Once More Into the Venusberg: 'The Hill of Venus' 's Seven Drafts and a Secular Resolution of Morris's Epic," Jessica Feldman (University of Virginia) on "Domestic Rossetti," Kathy Psomiades (University of Notre Dame) on "Christina Rossetti's Aestheticism," and Thomas J. Tobin (Duquesne University) on "New Views of the Old Views of the Pre-Raphaelites: Periodical Criticism in the Later Nineteenth Century." Bonnie J. Robinson (North Georgia College and State University) moderated "In Honor of Burne-Jones, Beardsley, and Morris: The Late Victorian Book," scheduled for the afternoon of the next day, 28 December. The participants were: Nick Frankel (Virginia Commonwealth University), "Excavating The Sphinx: Towards an 'Archeological' Poetics of the Book"; Adela S. Roatcap (University of San Francisco), "From the Kelmscott: William Morris and Sire Degrevaunt"; Carole Silver (Yeshiva University), "At the Margins of the Garden: Fairies and Victorian Illustration"; and Hartley Spatt (SUNY-Maritime College), "Art Books and Books as Art."

Given the topic of the second panel, it was appropriate that several speakers and other members found their way later in the afternoon to a demonstration of the cd-rom version of the Kelmscott Chaucer held at the Octavo Corporation's booth in the convention's exhibition hall. Sean Keilen, Octavo's head of public relations, showed how to flip page-by-page through the "book," made remarkably visible on the screen through Adobe Acrobat software. He managed to convert some of the skeptical; indeed two Morrisians bought their own copies&emdash;at $50.00, the price is approximately one-two thousandth of the real thing. Valerie Hotchkiss, director of the Bridwell Library at Southern Methodist University, was on hand also, explaining her library's role in having its precious copy (originally Burne-Jones's) reproduced in digital form. (For details on the cd-rom contact: Octavo, 394 University Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301, Tel. [650] 470-0150, www.octavo.com.)

Quite a few of us then went on to a party at the Book Club of California to mark the publication of member Peter Stansky's just-issued Another Book That Never Was: William Morris, Charles Gere, The House of the Wolfings. With congenial company (we were pleased to see Morris collectors Sandy and Helen Berger and a number of other distinguished book people and scholars) and plenty of good food and drink in the best San Francisco tradition, this was a most happy way to culminate the Society's activities at the MLA. (It should be added that Stansky's book is itself a cause for celebration. Telling the story of the projected but uncompleted Kelmscott edition of The House of the Wolfings illustrated by Charles M. Gere, this erudite and charming volume has been typeset by Christine Taylor and most attractively printed by the Yolla Bolly Press. It is at present only for sale to members of the Book Club, but there is the chance that libraries and the public will be able to buy copies later on.)

MLA CHICAGO 1999

The curious ways of the Modern Language Association ensure that the topics for sessions at each annual convention be determined almost before the previous convention is over. Thus while digesting talks heard in San Francisco in December 1998 the members of the governing board present had also to consider subjects for talks to be delivered in December 1999 in Chicago. Proposals of 1&endash;2 pages in length are welcomed on (1) "The Pre-Raphaelites in Other Media," a rather broad subject encompassing reactions to and adaptations of the Brotherhood, their associates, followers, and (even) enemies in forms dramatic, cinematic, audio-visual, musical, fictional, poetic, or virtual and (2) "William Morris and his Circle at the Turns of the Centuries: 1900/2000," which treats influence, criticism, interpretation at the ends of Morris's century and our own (comparisons between the two fins des siecles are allowed, and Morris's "Circle" is defined to include writers, artists, architects, political figures, anyone with whom he had reasonably close contact).

The usual procedures for submissions apply. Proposals go to Mark Samuels Lasner (address and e-mail at end of Newsletter) no later than 15 March. Participation by independent scholars and non-academics is welcome, but do realize that to take part in the convention and to be listed in the program speakers must be members of the Modern Language Association by 1 April unless not engaged in the teaching of literature or language. Papers are strictly limited to 15 minutes; as per MLA instructions, session chairs can stop those who go on too long.

JAN MARSH LECTURE IN WASHINGTON

When we learned that Jan Marsh, the feminist scholar and Pre-Raphaelite expert, was to come to Washington, DC in the course of her research (for a new biography of D. G. Rossetti), well, we "seized the moment" and asked her if she might honor our locale with a talk. Happily, Jan acquiesced to the request, with the result that on the evening of 20 October a smallish group heard her speak on "Pre-Raphaelite Women." In a delightful 40 minutes Jan treated the lives and works of women&emdash;lovers, wives, models, artists&emdash;associated with the Rossetti circle. Of course Jane Morris and Elizabeth Siddal featured prominently, but it was particularly interesting to learn more about several of the later generation of Pre-Raphaelite women painters, such as Joanna Boyce and Marie Spartali, who usually get little if any attention. The venue was Chapters bookstore in downtown DC, for which we (again) thank the store's owner, Teri Merz.

FELLOWSHIP

For 1999 the William Morris Society in the United States has made two fellowship awards:

Carolyn Adele Gardner, writer and independent scholar, to assist with a book she is writing on Morris. The funds will specifically help cover the cost of attending the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in Ft. Lauderdale, FL (17&endash;20 March 1999), where she will deliver a paper on "The Maid in the Wood and the Lady in Green: Female Power and Self-Realization in William Morris's Later Prose Romances."

Thomas J. Tobin, of Duquesne University, for research connected with the Morris portion of his Ph.D. thesis, "The Pre-Raphaelite Critic: A Comprehensive Edition of Periodical Criticism of the Pre-Raphaelites." He will use the fellowship to travel to archives at Harvard and Yale and to format and post materials on his web site, The Pre-Raphaelite Critic.

Shannon L. Rogers, the 1998 fellowship recipient, has sent the following report on her project-in-progress, a comprehensive catalogue of William Morris's library: "I have spent the past year collecting all the bits and pieces of lists of Morris's books from the Pierpont Morgan Library, Yale, and the British Library. During a recent trip to the UK, in part funded by the Society's grant, I had copies made of several microfilmed manuscript lists and the relevant diaries of Sydney Cockerell&emdash;materials which will be looked over soon. For the time being, the Morris project is taking a back burner as I finish up my dissertation, but in April I hope to again devote my attention to it full time and compile an annotated list of all books Morris is known to have owned during his lifetime."

A reminder: the Society's fellowships offer support (up to $1,000 per year) for projects on the life and work of William Morris. Grants are made to individuals, who must be citizens of the United States or permanent residents. Projects may deal with any aspect&emdash;biographical, literary, historical, social, artistic, political, typographical&emdash;relating to Morris, and may be scholarly or creative in nature. Younger members of the Society and those at the beginning of their careers are encouraged to apply. Applicants are asked to submit a resumé and a one-page proposal (to the address at the end of the this Newsletter); two letters of recommendation should be sent separately. The deadline is 1 December 1999 for awards tenable in the year 2000.

AUBREY BEARDSLEY AT PRINCETON

The Princeton University Library is extending the run of Aubrey Beardsley, 1872-1898: A Centenary Exhibition through 8 April 1999. Marking the 100th anniversary of the death of the celebrated English artist and book illustrator, this major exhibition, the largest held in the United States since 1967, draws on Princeton's unrivaled Beardsley holdings. The more than 120 drawings, posters, photographs, letters, literary manuscripts, illustrated books, and memorabilia on display include many items which have never before been publicly exhibited. Beardsley's brilliant but controversial work was emblematic of the English 1890s. This most literary of artists was much influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites (Burne-Jones in particular), Japanese woodblock prints, Greek vases, and contemporary French writers. But he was more than the sum of influences, developing a unique artistic vision that was bold and original despite its eclecticism. Through his drawings and writings, he became the leading exponent of a movement referred to by its detractors as "decadent," much as was Oscar Wilde in literature. While Beardsley only lived to 25 and was closely associated with what Max Beerbohm called "the Beardsley period," he had a profound influence on visual arts and book illustration throughout the next century. Among the items in the show are 37 original drawings, rare editions, manuscripts, and letters pertaining to Beardsley's contributions to Malory's Le Morte Darthur (1893&endash;94, which so annoyed Morris), Wilde's Salome (1894), The Yellow Book (1894&endash;95), The Savoy (1896), and The Lysistrata of Aristophanes (1896). Also included are portraits of Beardsley by such contemporary artists as William Rothenstein and Max Beerbohm. Most of these materials were donated to Princeton University Library a half-century ago by A. E. Gallatin, the American painter, art critic, and collector. Gallatin's gift was supplemented by the J. Harlin O'Connell Collection of the 1890s and by other gifts. With 125 original drawings, over 100 letters, and a virtually complete collection of printed works, Princeton can boast the finest Beardsley collection in the world.

The exhibition, co-curated by Mark Samuels Lasner and Don C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts, is on view in the Leonard L. Milberg Gallery for the Graphic Arts, Firestone Library, through Thursday, 8 April 1999.

On Wednesday, 10 March 1999, the Friends of the Princeton University Library will present a pair of lectures: "The Yellow Book and the Beardsley Myth" by Margaret D. Stetz, Associate Professor of English and Women's Studies at Georgetown University, and "The Pursuit of the Rare: Three Early Beardsley Collectors" by Mark Samuels Lasner. For more information about the exhibition or lectures contact: Don C. Skemer, Tel. (609) 258-3184, dcskemer@pucc.princeton.edu.

MORRIS AT THE MORGAN

The Wormsley Library: A Personal Selection by Sir Paul Getty, K.B.E., the major Spring exhibition at the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, includes three Morris items of great interest. Two copies of the Kelmscott Chaucer, one printed on vellum, another printed on paper (Who but Sir Paul could own both?) are seen alongside Morris's copy of Das Kapital, a French edition bound for him in 1884 by T. J. Cobden-Sanderson in an elaborate, even "capitalistic," turquoise goatskin binding. These treasures are but part of the extraordinary library of illuminated manuscripts, incunabula, historical bookbindings, illustrated books (Blake specially), and other artworks which Sir Paul Getty has collected during the past 25 years. The exhibition, which contains 100 items in all, and for which there is a catalogue, runs from 27 January through 2 May 1999. For further information contact: Pierpont Morgan Library, 29 East 36th Street, New York, NY 10016, Tel. (212) 685-0008, http://shop.morganlibrary.org/html/info/info.html.

THE ARTISTAN & THE VIRTUAL AGE

From 27 October through 3 December 1998, the Avram Gallery at Southampton College, New York, held R. Marc Fasanella's sabbatical exhibition, The Artisan and the Virtual Age: Reflections on William Morris. The artist (or should one say artisan?), assistant professor of art and graphic design at Southampton College, and member of the William Morris Society has long been interested in the Arts and Crafts movement and is known, like Morris himself, for his mastery of multiple crafts. Critic Dante A. Puzzo neatly summarized the goal and content of the show in the following terms: "During his sabbatical leave from Southampton College, Marc Fasanella travelled to England to visit the places where William Morris worked and lived, becoming even more imbued with Morris's artistic vision. It was in the spirit of William Morris that Marc designed and crafted the works which appear in the Avram Gallery…. Combining an arts and crafts sensibility with contemporary technology all of the illustrations, the limited edition book, the stained-glass window design, and the office interior that appear in the exhibit have been hand-crafted. These works were made in an effort to bring to light the role of the artisan in our technology-oriented society. I believe that Marc Fasanella has succeeded in bringing William Morris to the East End of Long Island." One wishes this exhibition had received wider attention. The images reproduced in the announcement&emdash;a design for a stained glass window incorporating mottoes ("Agitate," "Educate," "Organize," etc.) and a book illustration owing something to Ricketts as well as Burne-Jones&emdash;are aesthetically pleasing and show how profound an effect Morris has had on at least one contemporary creator.

OSCAR WILDE'S AMERICA

Billed as the first cultural history of the Aesthetic movement in the United States, Oscar Wilde's America: Counterculture in the Gilded Age, by member Mary Warner Blanchard, is an important contribution to late-Victorian studies. Taking Wilde's 1882 lecture tour of the United States as its starting point, the study deals with the impact of Aestheticism on a nation still shaken by the trauma of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Wilde's message of regeneration through art and beauty seemed to many to open new horizons of social possibility, and Blanchard demonstrates how this "Apostle of Aestheticism," through his wit and brilliance and deliberate outrageousness, created controversy among audiences across the continent. The result was that, for several decades, Aestheticism became a wide-ranging popular movement, implemented by an array of tastemakers, nevertheless resisted by the moral guardians of Victorianism. After discussing Wilde, Blanchard concentrates on the crucial interplay between Aestheticism and gender. She pays significant attention to the female visionaries (some, like Candace Wheeler, well-known; others previously unrecognized) who used the decorative arts to assault middle-class conventions and to advance in the social and business worlds. but also shows how the movement allowed new forms of identity for men&emdash;in particular feminized or homosexual roles that were profoundly at odds with then-current notions of manliness. Drawing on evidence from material culture, popular media, and history and literature, Oscar Wilde's America reveals Aestheticism as a vibrant oppositional movement in the American Gilded Age. Blanchard, who is an associate fellow and member of the advisory board of the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis, writes in an engaging manner, and her book&emdash;which falls somewhere between a scholarly study and an "art book"&emdash;is enlivened with more than 200 evocative (and instructive) illustrations. The publisher is Yale University Press, the price $45.00 (ISBN 0-300-07460-3).

STRANGE AND SECRET PEOPLES

In Strange and Secret Peoples: Fairies and the Victorian Consciousness, member Carole G. Silver offers a witty, elegant, and accessibly written look at the hidden web of connections between the Victorians' fascination with fairies and their lore and the dominant preoccupations of Victorian culture at large. Praised by The New York Times Book Review ("This is an entertaining and informative study of Victorian culture. … Provides some of the most original reading on the subject we have"), this encyclopedic work examines the period 1798 to 1923, exploring a sociocultural zone where rationality meets superstition, where attitudes toward physical difference and deformity, fantasy and whimsy, the unseen and the unknown, take imaginative shape. Silver's perspective on these goblins, changelings, and "little men" may be timely, for, as the press release for the book suggests, it may give "readers in today's angel-saturated culture some intriguing grounds for comparison." (But do angel-lovers like to read or to watch television?) Strange and Secret Peoples takes in not only popular literary figures such as Dickens, Yeats, Christina Rossetti, and Wilde (all recognized "fairy" writers) but also Carlyle, Conan Doyle, and Charlotte Mew. Silver also looks at a wide variety of artists, offering new insights into the contribution to fairy lore of the familiar&emdash;Burne-Jones and Richard Doyle&emdash;and the less well-known&emdash;Richard Dadd, Aubrey Beardsley, Sir Joseph Noel Paton and, odd in this context, William Morris. Considerable attention is paid to that curious late Victorian nexus in which ethnicity, race, imperialism, politics, and the new field of folklore studies get intertwined. A distinguished Morris scholar (author of The Romance of William Morris, co-editor of Socialism and the Literary Art of William Morris and of The Earthly Paradise: Arts and Crafts by William Morris) Carole G. Silver really needs no introduction to readers, but for the record she is Professor of English and holds the Humanities Chair at Stern College of Yeshiva University. Strange and Secret Peoples, price $29.95 (isbn 0-19-512199-6), is published by Oxford University Press, New York, www.oup-usa.org.

NOTES ON THE HISTORY OF THE ELSTON PRESS: A BOOK REVIEW BY JEAN-FRANCOIS VILAIN

The publication of new research on the revival of printing at the turn of the century is, alas, a rare occurrence. Thus the appearance of Herbert H. Johnson's long-awaited Notes on the History of the Elston Press of Clarke Conwell and Helen Margurite O'Kane, 1900&endash;1905 is cause for rejoicing in spite of its problems. The decade following the birth of the Kelmscott Press witnessed in the United States an explosion of private presses whose owners had been galvanized by Morris. Most of these printers, young and idealistic, were long on enthusiasm and short on business experience, and their ventures did not last long. Some presses never rose above clumsy Kelmscott imitations&emdash;the Gottshalk Press in St. Louis comes quickly to mind&emdash;while others showed genuine talent&emdash;for instance the Village Press in Chicago and the Alwil Shop in Ridgewood, NJ. Few produced as distinguished a body of work as did Clarke Conwell and wife, Helen Marguerite O'Kane, at their Elston Press. In less than four years, from summer 1900 to spring 1904, the press issued 26 books, and approximately the same amount of prospectuses and ephemera. Conwell was the designer for all and the printer of all but one, Pre-Raphaelite Ballads, while O'Kane created illustrations, borders, and initials for 17 of the books.

Notes on the History of the Elston Press is divided in five sections: introduction, notes, critical appraisals, checklist of books, and checklist of prospectuses and announcements. In his introduction Johnson describes briefly and, overall, fairly, the impact of Morrisian ideals on printing in the United States. An author is allowed his biases and, I hope, so is a reviewer, and my qualification of Johnson's fairness comes from his exaltation of the work of Copeland and Day&emdash;with which I might be tempted to concur, although it is stretching the definition to call this firm a private press&emdash;and his attack on the books of Elbert Hubbard's Roycroft Shop. Johnson asserts that "American fine printing and bookmaking suffered a severe setback when, in 1895, [Hubbard] decided to take up printing" and, later, that "The Roycroft Books drove the better private press books from the market place." Hubbard himself would agree with Johnson, who describes him as a brilliant huckster, and his personality has clouded the issue of the quality of books published under his aegis and their influence on American taste. Surely there were shoddy Roycroft books, especially in the early days, but, equally as surely some are beautiful and well-made. In addition, as Will Ransom acknowledges in his Private Presses and Their Books, Hubbard's marketing savvy made a larger number of book buyers aware of Morris's ideals than did the other presses. I am also puzzled by Johnson's attitude toward book illumination in Arts and Crafts books&emdash;both those of Copeland and Day and of Roycroft, which he calls a purely American notion contradictory to Morris's "ideal book." Morris looked to the early printed books for his models and did not feel that his interpretation needed color, but he did not proscribe its use! Book illumination plays a large role in the Arts and Crafts movement and, while it was extensively practiced in the United States, it was not ignored in Britain where the Ashendene and Essex House presses used it to splendid effect. Oddly enough, Johnson does not fault O'Kane for illuminating Pre-Raphaelite Ballads.

The notes section is less controversial, dealing as it does with a brief history of the Press and its owners. Johnson does an excellent job of tracing the various moves of the press before its final settlement in New Rochelle, NY, and its dissolution in 1905. I found his discussion of the typefaces, paper, and bindings used by Conwell very useful, as well as his unravelling of the reasons for the various limitations of the books. Conwell's design sense and his skills as a printer were superb, and Johnson gives a sensitive account of the difficulties encountered by him, and to a large degree by other small press owners, while trying to reconcile excellence of work and the necessity of making a living. His very brief assessment of O'Kane's contributions is both impartial and accurate as he traces the various influences (Beardsley, Burne-Jones) on and the increasing maturity and assurance of her work. O'Kane contributed illustrations, decorations, or initials, some times all three, to two thirds of the Elston books. The rest, while superb examples of printing, lack the excitement offered by those in which she participated. O'Kane was one of the most talented illustrators of her day, and it is high time she received her due. However, Johnson's discussion of O'Kane's art would benefit from a definition of the term "Adirondack" as applied to some of her borders and initials. There is much to recommend this section to the collector and the printing enthusiast, but it suffers greatly from the lack of any biographical information on this husband and wife team. Who were they, what did they do before and after the Elston Press, when were they born, when did they die? In fact the only biographical datum appears in the next section, "Critical Appraisals," when a catalogue from Hirschl and Adler Galleries announces that O'Kane was 20 years old at the time she illustrated Sonnets from the Portuguese in 1900. In his preface Johnson states that his volume "is an ongoing publishing project" and that "much remains to be uncovered" about the Press and its owners, and that he was intrigued by the mystery surrounding them, but he sheds only a meagre light on that mystery. One expects a bit more for the $250.00 price tag.

The fascinating Critical Appraisals section shows the evolution of attitudes towards the Elston Press by citing excerpts from contemporary newspapers, as well as quotations from modern critics. Johnson should have mentioned somewhere that the author of a laudatory review of 1902, Thomas Wood Stevens, was one of the principals of a contemporary private press in Chicago, the Blue Sky Press. He twice mentions that Conwell was disappointed by unflattering reviews of his wife's work but, unfortunately, he does not quote these reviews.

The book ends with two checklists: the 26 books and, secondly, the announcements and prospectuses. The former updates Ransom's 1929 census of 20 titles, the latter is a welcome addition. I confess to being troubled by the first entry, Pre-Raphaelite Ballads, in which Johnson mentions that 100 large paper copies were printed on Japanese vellum, but adds "no copy located." My own large Japanese paper copy is no. 202 of 250. And I found condescending the statement, in entry 8, The Art and Craft of Printing, that this is "Kelmscott Press 53." This is fine for readers familiar with Cockerell's and William S. Peterson's work but meaningless to the rest of us.

Notes on the History of the Elston Press is elegant and handsomely designed and, overall, superbly handprinted by the Bixlers at their press in Skaneateles (I love this name!). But here again I am disappointed, by the illustrations: too often reduced, they do no justice to their subjects and are at times muddy. And why not illustrate all 26 books or, at least, all the books with O'Kane's work? The proofreading as well could have been more rigorous: The Knight Errant on p. 20 becomes "errand"; "bona fide" becomes a single word on p. 25; "of" is the last word on p. 29 and the first on p. 30; "errata" on p. 53 is treated as singular; and "whimper" becomes "wimper" on p. 59.

I was excited when I started reading this handsome book, and I guess I still am to a certain extent: faute de mieux this fills, however inadequately, a gap in our knowledge and understanding of this effervescent period. Let's hope that the author will keep trying to solve the mystery and share his findings with us. Perhaps his publisher will consider issuing the latter in as excellent a format but at no cost to those who have bought the present book. Notes on the History of the Elston Press, produced in a limited edition of 225 numbered copies printed letterpress at the Press of Michael and Winifred Bixler, is available from Oak Knoll Books, 308 Delaware Street, New Castle, DE 18720, Tel. (302) 328-7232, www.oakknoll.com. The book, issued in 1998 although dated 1997, now bears a price of $250.00.

[Note: The writer of this review, Jean-François Vilain, is a book collector and author. He provided the foreword to the new edition (1996) of Susan Otis Thompson's American Book Design and William Morris.]

THE YELLOW BOOK: A CHECKLIST AND INDEX

The Eighteen Nineties Society has recently published The Yellow Book: A Checklist and Index by Mark Samuels Lasner. Long considered the quintessential magazine of the British 1890s, The Yellow Book was published in 13 volumes between April 1894 and April 1897. This "advanced" quarterly welcomed the newest in literature and art, particularly the work of women. Yet, apart from Aubrey Beardsley, who was its first art editor, and a handful of famous figures (Henry James, H. G. Wells, George Gissing, Max Beerbohm, John Singer Sargent, W. B. Yeats), the varied contributors and their hundreds of contributions have been largely overlooked. A principal reason is the lack of an adequate guide. The Yellow Book: A Checklist and Index makes it possible to access the entire magazine for the first time. The checklist section gives full details, in order, of the literary and artistic contents of each volume, including binding and title-page designs. Every author and illustrator is identified (even those who used pseudonyms), and references are given to standard sources and bibliographies. The index which follows, keyed to the checklist, not only incorporates contributors and contributions, but makes it easy to distinguish art works from writings, to correlate variant names and pseudonyms, and to locate the many portraits reproduced in The Yellow Book.

A reviewer in Antiquarian Book Monthly wrote of the book (we blush as we quote): "The Yellow Book: A Checklist and Index belongs in every library, institutional or private, which contains a set of The Yellow Book itself. Mark Samuels Lasner is to be congratulated in providing an essential tool to enable the expert and the student of the 'nineties to re-discover the unexplored wealth still to be found within the pages of The Yellow Book." Designed by the author and containing four plates (and one tiny, yet egregious typo on the front flap of the bright yellow dust wrapper), the 80-page volume (ISBN 0-90574422-5) is priced at £25.00 or $40.00. Sales in the United States and Canada (please add $4.00 shipping per copy, visa and Mastercard accepted) are handled exclusively by: The Veatchs Arts of the Book, P.O. Box 328, 140 Crescent Street, Northampton, MA 01061, Tel. (413) 584-1867, fax (413) 584-2751, Veatchs@veatchs.com. In the UK (add £1.00 for postage) and the rest of the world orders go to: Publications Division, Eighteen Nineties Society, 14 Constables Croft, Arncott, Nr. Bicester, Oxon. OX6 0PG UK. Details on the Eighteen Nineties Society's web page, www.1890s.org.

CONFERENCES AND CALS FOR PAPERS

We have been made aware of the following conferences (and their allied calls for papers):

"Victorian Memory," 28th annual conference of the Northeast Victorian Studies Association (NVSA), to be held 16&endash;18 April 1999 at Yale University. Contact: Rhoda L. Flaxman, Department of English, Brown University, Box 1962, Providence, RI 02912, Tel. (401) 863-1404, Rhoda_Flaxman@brown.edu, http://fmc.utm.edu/nvsa/.

"Victoria Redressed: Feminism and Nineteenth-Century Studies," Conference sponsored by the Dickens Project, University of California, 5&endash;8 August, at Kresge College, University of California, Santa Cruz. Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar will be the featured speakers. Proposals (1&endash;2 pages) by 15 February to: Hilary Schor, Department of English, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, fax (213) 741-0377 (no e-mail proposals).

"Millennial Crossroads: Navigating the Future of Our Past," Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century British Women Writers Conference. Proposals are sought for the eighth annual meeting, to be held 24&endash;26 September 1999 in Albuquerque, NM. Send 1&endash;2 page abstracts with a brief cover sheet to: BWWC, English Department, Humanities Building 217, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131. The deadline is 1 February. Contact: Kirsten Hague, klhague@unm.edu, see also the web site, http://home.att.net/~entour.

NEWS OF MEMBERS

In early November, Mark Samuels Lasner and Margaret D. Stetz spent five days in London. They were there to deliver invited lectures at the Beardsley conference occasioned by the Victoria and Albert Museum's centenary exhibition of the artist's work. Their talks&emdash;Stetz on "The Yellow Book and the Beardsley Myth" and Samuels Lasner on "The Pursuit of the Rare: Three Early Beardsley Collectors"&emdash;will be repeated on 10 March at Princeton University Library.

John J. Walsdorf, Morris collector and bibliographer, spoke on 2 December at Washington University, St. Louis, on "The Meaning and Collecting of William Morris: The Origin of the American Arts and Crafts Movement." His talk, sponsored by "Wash U's" Visual Arts and Design Center, celebrated the University's acquisition of a Kelmscott Chaucer and coincided with a display of artists' books. Jack was recently made Vice-President of Blackwells North America.

Also in December, Debra N. Mancoff lectured at the National Gallery, Washington, DC. Her talk on domesticity in nineteenth century American painting was related to her new book, Mary Cassatt: Reflections of Women's Lives, published this fall by Francis Lincoln in the UK (£14.99, isbn 0-7112-1335-6).

QUERY

Darla Smyth is in need of information about a manuscript written by William Morris, probably in 1862, which is a translation of the Tristram and Iseult legend. This narrative was supposedly given to Walter Dunlop, who commissioned the "Harden Grange Windows." Would anyone with any leads on this manuscript (which is apparently not found in the standard bibliographical sources) please contact: Darla Smyth, 56 Marlboro Road, Valley Stream, NY 11581, Iseut22@aol.com.

A SHOPPING GUIDE TO WILLIAM MORRIS

The Smithsonian Catalogue
(800) 322-0344
William Morris tapestry footstool, #30052, $165.00. · The Orchard tapestry reproduction, 48 x 29 in., #29098, $250.00. · Blackthorn tie, in red on navy silk, #20045, $36.50.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
(800) 225-5592
Items listed in Spring 1999 catalogue: William Morris ties, incorporating elements of the Windrush pattern, #41789-405 (burgundy) or #41789-425 (navy), $36.50 each. · Pearl jewelry, adapted from Morris designs: necklace, #34732-301, $89.00; pierced earrings, #24732-303, $39.00. · William Morris scarf, silk with hand-knotted fringe, 17 x 55 in., #41529-446, $69.50

Home Decorators Collection
(800) 245-2217
Woodpecker reproduction tapestry, 48 x 30 in., #11008, $229.00. · Pomona reproduction tapestry, two sizes: 34 x 20 in., #10693, $119.00; 48 x 30 in, #10692, $229.00. 

Past Times
(800) 621-6020
Stained glass angel, from Morris and Co. window in St. Peter and Paul Church, Cattistock, Dorset, 6º in. diameter, #4115, $29.99. S Morris Woodpecker tapestry silk tie, #1963, $35.00. · Bulleswood long-line cardigan sweater, adapted from design by Morris and J. H. Dearle, two sizes, wool and acrylic, #0851, $125.00. · William Morris silk scarf, adapted from Hammersmith rug design, #0700, $85.00. · Pre-Raphaelite Poetry and Painting Calendar for 1999, #5240, $12.99. · Morris Rose lap tray, #7932, $39.95. · Morris chintz throw, cotton, 108 x 70 in., #0884, $49.95. · William Morris brass umbrella stand, #0983, $45.00.

This newsletter was written and edited by Mark Samuels Lasner, with the assistance of Margaret D. Stetz. Items for inclusion, books for review, news, comments, go to: William Morris Society, P.O. Box 53263, Washington, DC 20009, Biblio@aol.com. For updates on Morris (and associated) events see the William Morris Home Page on the internet, http://www.ccny.cuny.edu/wmorris/morris.html.

 

LAST UPDATE 4 JAN 2001 · PLEASE REPORT BROKEN LINKS TO WEBMASTER@MORRISSOCIETY.ORG

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