The Arch C. Elias bequest of Jonathan Swift material

Frontispiece portrait of Swift from The Works of J.S, D.D, D.S.P.D. in four volumes …, Dublin, 1735. OLS L-11-396

This summer saw the completion of cataloguing of printed items from the Arch C. Elias bequest. This outstanding collection of material by and about Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) was bequeathed to the Library in 2008 by Dr Archibald C. Elias, Jr (1944-2008). Continue reading

Contemporary Irish literary Culture…in Early Printed Books!

By Orlaith Darling, Ph.D. student, School of English

An oft forgotten aspect of the Department of Early Printed Books is its holdings of modern Irish and Anglo-Irish fiction, which can be consulted in the peaceful reading room in the Old Library. As a researcher of contemporary Irish short fiction, I was delighted to find the entire run of The Stinging Fly among the modern Irish holdings. As Shane Mawe, one of the friendly Early Printed Books librarians put it, a Sierra search for ‘Short stories, English Irish authors 20th century’ will return over 250 works held  by the Department , meaning that Early Printed Books is, in fact, a hotspot for contemporary Irish literary culture. Continue reading

And when I looked … a book was therein

Sometimes it’s obvious that a book has a story to tell before you even look at the text. The volume at OLS X-1-60 is a good example. As soon as it is lifted from its protective storage box, the hand-made brown velvet case begs to be stroked. The initials TW are embroidered on the top; the pink felt lining protrudes; and the cardboard backing shows through where moths have made a meal of the felt. Continue reading

Wordsworth’s Killarney

C. Hunt, after A. Nicholl, ‘Lower Lake, Killarney’, from Picturesque Sketches of Some of the Finest Landscape and Coast Scenery of Ireland (Dublin, 1835). V.g.29.

The exhibition Ireland and the English Lake Poets continues in the Long Room of the Old Library this month, running until the end of May. Amongst literary treasures on show, the exhibition features a rare print of Killarney’s Lower Lake by Charles Hunt (after Andrew Nicholl). In this blog post, curator Dr. Brandon Yen explores the impression Killarney made on Wordsworth and his fellow writers. Continue reading

300 years on a desert island!

First edition, 1719, shelfmark VV.i.31

Robinson Crusoe is 300 years old today! Actually, the gentleman himself is older than that, as he was already a young man at the start of the book, but The life and strange surprizing adventures of Robinson Crusoe of York, Mariner was first published on April 25th, 1719. It was followed, later the same year, by The farther adventures of Robinson Crusoe; being the second and last part of his life, and of the strange surprizing accounts of his travels round three parts of the globe. (Rather appropriately, the first edition of the latter was printed at the Ship in Pater-Noster-Row, London.) Continue reading

Banned books in Trinity College

This post was written by Assumpta Guilfoyle and Louise Kavanagh, both in Collection Management, TCD Library.

On preparing an exhibition on banned books, we knew a certain amount about censorship in Ireland. After a bit more research on the topic it became clear that the banning system failed our now-renowned Irish writers, and denied the Irish public the right to read the very best of literature. The Censorship Board did not set out to ban so many books, but they ended up doing just that. We kept reminding ourselves that it was the 1920s, a Catholic country that was trying to revive its national identity, it was a complex time both at home and abroad. Benedict Kiely, banned, said a prohibition was ‘the only laurel wreath that Ireland was offering to writers in that particular period’. Continue reading

Judging books by their covers

The saying says ‘never judge a book by its cover’, but sometimes the cover is so attractive you feel you just have to pick up the book. Of course, it’s always a disappointment if it doesn’t live up to its promise! A trend on Twitter in the past couple of weeks has been to post a book cover each day for seven days, with no explanations, and to challenge someone else each day to join in. Glucksman Library Special Collections & Archives at the University of Limerick invited us and I accepted. Here are the covers which featured in my responses: Continue reading

Wilde about Oscar

By Monica Sanchidrian and Christoph Schmidt-Supprian, Collection Management Department

OL safe

Have you seen our online exhibition, Oscar Wilde: From Decadence to Despair? Making use of gorgeous images from rare photographs, trade cards, theatre programmes, and other printed works and manuscripts, it brings to life key moments in Wilde’s life. The Rosenthal collection of Wildeana, acquired in 2011 from the rare book dealer Julia Rosenthal, includes over 500 printed items by or about Oscar Wilde, his family and his friends. Many of them are first editions and/or inscribed copies, which makes them particularly valuable. Among these is a first edition of An ideal husband inscribed by Wilde to the book’s dedicatee, Frank Harris. Another rarity in the collection is a copy of the auction catalogue for the sale of Wilde’s possessions at his home in Tite Street at the time of his trial in 1895 – only four copies of this catalogue are known to survive. Continue reading

A 250-year-old work from Trinity’s Printing House

Two items printed 250 years ago in Trinity’s Printing House are currently on display in the Long Room of the Old Library. Building of the Printing House began in 1734, two years after the completion of the Old Library, and the first book was printed at the University Press in 1738. Continue reading

Leaves for St Patrick’s Day from the ‘Garden of the Soul’

Pilgrims crossing to Station Island on Lough Derg, by W. F. Wakeman. From ‘St. Patrick’s Purgatory, Lough Derg’ by Rev. D. Canon O’Connor. Dublin, 1895. Shelfmark: 29.f.30

At our incunabula workshop last November we examined a striking two-leaf account in German of St Patrick’s Purgatory (shelfmark: Press B.6.3). As a follow-up to the workshop, and with St Patrick’s Day in mind, we have taken a closer look at this intriguing fragment which relates to what has remained one of the most well-known pilgrimages in Ireland, the pilgrimage to Lough Derg in Donegal.1 Continue reading