Soledad Acosta de Samper Digital Library. University of Los Andes: 2019.

Coordinated by Dr. Carolina Alzate, in association with the University of Los Andes and the National Library of Colombia, the Soledad Acosta de Samper Digital Library (Biblioteca Digital Soledad Acosta de Samper, in Spanish) is a Spanish-language project that seeks to provide open access to the complete works of Colombian author Soledad Acosta de Samper (1833-1913). Now recognized as one of that nation’s most important authors, Acosta de Samper was all but forgotten until Hispanic female scholars such as Monserrat Ordóñez awakened a renewed interest in her writings during the 1980s. Thanks to these efforts, Acosta de Samper is now appreciated for her remarkable literary prolificacy and ardent advocacy of women’s education and equal rights during a time when women were typically relegated to a supporting role in Colombian society. The author’s works were digitized in 2013 as part of the Colombian Ministry of Culture’s “Year of Soledad Acosta de Samper” celebrations, and the Soledad Acosta de Samper Digital Library organizes those products of her rich intellectual life into an easy-to-navigate website.

Jonathan Senchyne. The Intimacy of Paper in Early and Nineteenth-Century American Literature

As the paper codex is becoming increasingly supplemented, if not yet entirely replaced, by digitally mediated textuality, Jonathan Senchyne redirects our attention to the specific sense of materiality that writers and readers experienced as characteristic of literary communication until the late nineteenth century. Rather than focusing on print or publication history as such, however, his monograph The Intimacy of Paper in Early and Nineteenth-Century American Literature sheds light on something that even book historians have often tended to pass over in silence: the reliance of print on paper, the inconspicuous matter on which letters become visible. Over the past fifteen years, several studies have begun to tackle the subject of paper from a range of different perspectives, among them Kevin McLaughlin’s Paperwork: Fiction and Mass Mediacy in the Paper Age (2005), Lisa Gitelman’s Paper Knowledge: Toward a Media History of Documents (2014), or Maryanne Dever’s Paper, Materiality and the Archived Page (2019). What makes Senchyne’s contribution both distinctive and important is his literary-historical approach to reading paper in relation to the nature of its production.

Robert Mayer. Walter Scott and Fame. Authors and Readers in the Romantic Age

Professor Mayer’s book is an insightful, eye-opening exploration of the emergence of a new type of literary celebrity at the beginning of the nineteenth century based on close readings of Walter Scott’s correspondence. Considered by Byron himself as “the first man of his time,” Scott is an ideal case study due to the immense popularity he enjoyed during his lifetime as a result of his poetic and novelistic output, especially the Waverley cycle. Beautifully contextualized through comparisons with predecessors such as Pope and Johnson, contemporaries such as Wordsworth, Southey, and Byron, and successors such as Dickens, Hardy, and Hemingway, this study sheds considerable light on the evolution of literary celebrity in general and on the brand of celebrity that Walter Scott embodied in the public consciousness of his time in particular.

Lauren B. Hewes and Kayla Haveles Hopper, eds., Radiant with Color & Art

“What’s the use of an exhibition catalog,” Alice might well have said to herself, “if it doesn’t have beautiful pictures and brilliant essays?” This catalog of the McLoughlin Brothers’ more than sixty years of publishing children’s books, games, and toys surely would have delighted little Alice. The first third of the book consists of three well-written informative essays and the last two thirds make up the illustrated exhibition catalog itself. The items were drawn primarily from the holdings of the American Antiquarian Society with help from private collectors Linda F. and Julian L. Lapides, Richard Cheek, and the George M. Fox Collection at the San Francisco Public Library. ☛ ☞