The first pornographer

The first pornographer

28th April 2021

Intended as the first of a projected series of works with the general title ‘Idées singulières’, this is an important early manifesto for the regulation of prostitution, published not in London, as the title-page maintains, but in Paris in 1769.  It also holds a significant place in the historical use of pornography—literally ‘writing about prostitutes’—as […]

Polish poetry in Tottenham

Polish poetry in Tottenham

14th April 2021

The translator and publisher of this little book, Aleksander Radwan Rypiński (c.1821–1886), had arrived in London in 1846.  ‘Born around 1812 in what is now Belarus, Rypiński became a devoted collector of Polish, Ukrainian, Belarusian and Russian folk-songs.  As well as writing his own poetry, in 1827 he translated Pushkin’s Rusalka into Polish, one of […]

All dressed up

All dressed up

7th April 2021

We wrote back in October 2019 about the subject of ‘dressed’ prints. We had just one then, but our new list of recent acquisitions features a whole group. There wasn’t space in the list itself to illustrate all of them, so I thought I would do so here:

The ‘child of Europe’

The ‘child of Europe’

26th March 2021

Kaspar Hauser (d.1833) was a foundling who became legendary in early nineteenth-century Europe; ‘the enigma of [his] origin, childhood, and early youth, and the known facts have aroused sustained interest … on the purely human, psychological, and social, as well as political, level’ ever since (Oxford Companion to German Literature). The author of this book, […]

Irish types in Paris

Irish types in Paris

17th March 2021

As it’s St Patrick’s Day today, I thought I’d write about an interesting Irish book I’ve been working on recently: This is the first edition of an important Irish book, written by Andrew Donlevy (1680–1746), a Catholic priest who most likely trained in Ireland before leaving for France in about 1710, where he entered the […]

Short Service

Short Service

11th March 2021

Last year, a former lecturer of mine in the Russian department at the University of Exeter, Peter Scorer (1942–2020), sadly died. As well as teaching Russian, Peter was also the University’s Orthodox chaplain, being for many years a deacon in the Russian Orthodox Church.  You may recognise his name from the Corydon Singers (follow the […]