All posts by Aaron Welborn

Seeing Japanese Popular Culture through Anime

Collections Highlight

After your first random fifteen minutes of any (non-dubbed) anime you’re bound to be overwhelmed by its otherworldliness. You will encounter a different gravity, an unlikely atmosphere, an unexpected moisture. Tangible one moment, it melts into a strange texture the next. Once caught by its ocular excess and sonic gestalt, your sense of the imaginable future is radically changed. The growth in Western audiences for anime over the past decade testifies to the addiction these worlds induce… Dive in-things become viscous, shiny, loud. This is the appeal, the fascination, the allure of anime.

– Philip Brophy from his introduction to 100 Anime, British Film Institute, 2005

Introducing Anime

Anime: Courtesy of AnimEigo, Inc. (c) Kitty Films. Licensed to AnimEigo by Fuji Creative, LTD.Anime, pronounced a˘n´-ma¯´, describes a Japanese animation style as well as the films created in that style. Unlike American animation, which is predominantly a children’s medium, anime, with richer and more challenging story lines, is the major form of visual entertainment in Japan. Anime also differs from Western animation in its use of sophisticated cinematic effects such as panning shots to create background motion and shifting the visual focus from background to foreground. The artistic rendering of anime characters-their large eyes, tiny mouths, and wildly colored hair, instantly recognizable-further distinguishes the style from Western animation. Another hallmark of anime is its relationship to other media, including video games and manga (Japanese comics and print cartoons). It’s quite common for anime to be based on a manga or even a video game – and vice versa.

The first anime to appear on U.S. television was Astro Boy, which aired in the 1980s on NBC at about the same time that anime broke into the U.S. film market with Akira (1989), directed by Katsuhiro Otomo.[1] Anime was firmly established in the U.S. by the 1990s when the television series, Sailor Moon, began airing. These early successful forays into American homes and theaters were followed by the arrival of blockbuster anime feature-length films like Hiyao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away (2001) and Howl’s Moving Castle (2005).

The Genesis of the Duke Libraries’ Anime Collection

In 2002 the Freeman Foundation made a four-year grant to the Libraries’ International Area Studies Department (IAS) to expand its support of undergraduate education and teaching in Japanese Studies. Professor Tomiko Yoda of Asian and African Languages and Literature (AALL), and Kristina Troost, the head of IAS and librarian for Japan and Korea, worked in collaboration to build a collection of manga and anime. Professor Yoda uses these resources in “Topics in Japanese Anime,” a course she teaches regularly to capacity enrollments. Professor Yoda recently related these observations about her class and its relationship to the Libraries’ collection:

Anime has offered me both opportunities and challenges as a teacher. It is the first cultural medium produced in Japan that has been almost instantaneously subtitled/dubbed and distributed in the U.S. The availability of diverse anime titles allows me to organize undergraduate courses, in which I teach students with no background in Japanese language, under a large range of specific themes. I have never taught a material that so many students express such powerful personal interest in.

In the Duke classrooms today, we have a generation of students who grew up in the U.S. and around the world-including China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, England, Brazil, Mexico-watching various anime series on television. Part of the challenge of teaching anime lies in the fact that my course has tried to treat not only anime films but also TV animes that can span 13 to 26 episodes per season, and some titles go on for multiple seasons. I assign selected episodes from these series. But without the library’s willingness to collect these long and expensive series (which also poses some cataloging and shelving challenges), I would not be able to handle TV anime series.”

Professor Yoda continues to recommend new anime titles for addition to the Libraries’ collection, which currently includes almost two hundred DVDs. And while anime are readily available for purchase, the Libraries still encounter various challenges in acquiring them. One is sorting out series and the titles belonging to each. Another is deciding whether to buy the Japanese DVD release of an anime, which will not play on North American DVD players, or to wait for several months, if not longer, for the U.S. release. If a title has been requested for use in a class, the Libraries may decide to import it from Japan and then purchase another copy when the anime becomes available in the U.S.

And then there is the question of language. Some fans prefer the original Japanese voice acting with subtitles because they feel they are experiencing the film more nearly as the creator envisioned it. However, in recent years serious fans in increasing numbers have begun to prefer English dubbing-especially as Western producers spend more money to add a high-quality English language track.[2] Most currently released anime DVDs come with both options: original Japanese language track with optional English subtitles and a dubbed English track.

So, delve into the marvelous, otherworldly realm of anime, at Duke or another library near you.

Danette Pachtner is the Film, Video & Digital Media Librarian at the Duke University Libraries

Finding Anime Titles at Duke’s Lilly Library

Go to the Duke Libraries’ online catalog. Choose “advanced search”-limit the format to “film/video”-use subject keywords “animated films japan” or “animated television programs japan”

Links to Anime Resources


1. BWI, Public Librarian’s Guide to Anime (Lexington, KY: , BWI, 2006), 6.
2. BWI, 11.

Nineteenth-Century American History

knowledge bytes

Internet Sites Selected for the Readers of Duke University Libraries

Annie Oakley [requires RealPlayer]

For those who still think of Annie Oakley as portrayed by Betty Hutton belting out “You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun” in the film version of “Annie Get Your Gun,” this fine website created as part of PBS’s American Experience series reveals the nuance and introspection of the real-life sharp-shooter and noted American heroine. To begin, it is worth noting that Oakley, in spite of her Old West image, lived her entire life east of the Mississippi. It is also interesting to note that while Oakley overcame some stereotypes about the abilities of women, she opposed female suffrage throughout her life. On this website, visitors can learn more about Oakley’s life through an interactive timeline. The gallery section includes some gloriously inventive promotional posters for Oakley and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, touting Oakley as “Little Miss Sure-Shot,” and celebrating a few of her extraordinary marksmanship feats, such as riding a bicycle or standing on a galloping horse while shooting. Finally, visitors can also browse through the special features, which include an interactive poll and a question and interview session with the PBS program participants on Oakley’s attitudes toward women’s issues of the day.

Camping With the Sioux: Fieldwork Diary of Alice Cunningham Fletcher

In the fall of 1881, anthropologist Alice Fletcher set out on a trip to the Dakota Territory with two companions and an Omaha Indian woman to live for six weeks among Sioux women on reservations in Nebraska and South Dakota. She recorded her experiences in two journals. This digital version of her diaries, made available by the National Museum of American History, includes in addition to her daily entries, 26 drawings and 36 photographs that can be viewed alongside the text or in a separate photograph gallery. Visitors to the website can view the diaries by date or browse through them from beginning to end. During her time with the Sioux, Fletcher transcribed fifteen folktales, which can be read in her journal entries, where they appear without titles but often with some contextual information. Rounding out the site is a “Learn More” section that lists books, archival collections, and other websites where there is additional information on Fletcher.

The Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress

This website presents the papers of the nineteenth-century African American abolitionist who escaped from slavery and then risked his own freedom by becoming an outspoken antislavery lecturer, writer, and publisher. Included are approximately 7,400 items (38,000 images) relating to Douglass’s life as an escaped slave, abolitionist, editor, orator, and public servant. The papers span the years 1841 to 1964, with the bulk of the material from 1862 to 1895. Visitors will find correspondence with many prominent civil rights reformers of his day, including Susan B. Anthony, William Lloyd Garrison, Gerrit Smith, Horace Greeley, and Russell Lant, and political leaders such as Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison. The collection can be searched by keyword or browsed by series. The website also features a timeline, links to online versions of the three autobiographies of Douglass, and a family tree.

And on the lighter side ….

The History of Eating Utensils

Presented by the California Academy of Sciences, this online history of eating utensils is both fascinating and educational. Scroll to the bottom of the webpage where you will find links to pages describing the various utensils. The brief essays on individual utensils give their history as well as images of examples from the Academy’s collection, which covers various geographic areas and time periods. Learn, among other things, why the French were slow to adopt the use of forks. Equally worth consideration is the history of chopsticks as they have evolved over the past 5,000 years. First made from a single piece of bamboo, chopsticks only gradually came to be separated into two pieces and made of less and less precious materials. In this brief online history learn all about chopsticks and the rest of the instruments humans use to eat gracefully.

Thanks to the Internet Scout Project (Copyright Internet Scout Project, 1994-2007, for identifying these sites. If you would like to recommend a website for inclusion in a future issue of Duke University Libraries, contact Joline Ezzell at

In Memoriam

More than 250 people come to work every day in one of Duke’s libraries.  And in spite of our numbers, we are a close-knit staff because our work connects us to each other.  Collection development librarians select books that are ordered by the staff of the Acquisitions Department and later prepared for the shelves by the catalogers. Those same books then pass into the care of the employees of Access and Delivery Services, and perhaps Preservation as well.  These and the many other interlocking relationships of people working together are the spirit of the Duke University Libraries.

So, the deaths of three of our colleagues over the past year have left us feeling diminished.  Joyce Farris and Gertrude Merritt were long retired but not forgotten—remembered for the pleasure it gave us to know them and for the contributions they made to the Libraries during their long careers.  The third, Helene Baumann was still working with us when she died in July 2006.

Helene came to the Libraries in1979 as a library assistant and copy cataloger.  For most of her career, she was the subject librarian for Africa and Western European Studies and a reference librarian.  Helene was also active in professional organizations.  She won honors and awards, organized international conferences, and was appointed or elected to leadership positions of Western Europeanists and Africanists alike.

Joyce Farris, who died in December 2006, was a catalog librarian at Duke’s Perkins Library, where she put to good use her knowledge of seven languages.  She came to the Libraries in 1978 and retired in 1992. Her husband, Donn Michael Farris, the director of the Divinity School Library for over forty years, preceded her in death.

Gertrude Merritt retired from the Libraries in 1979, having served the University for 43 years.  During her career she was Head of Serials, Chief of Technical Processes, Assistant Librarian for Technical Services, and Associate University Librarian for Collection Development.  She helped build the Libraries’ collections to more than a million items before her retirement.  Miss Merritt was our living memory, and we continued to rely on her until her death in October at age 97.

Leadership in Library Acquisitions Award Presented to Duke’s Nancy Gibbs

The Acquisitions Section of the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS) has selected Nancy Gibbs, head of acquisitions at Duke University, to receive the 2007 Leadership in Library Acquisitions Award.  The Award, sponsored annually by Harrassowitz, an international bookseller and subscription agency, recognizes a librarian for contributions and outstanding leadership in the field of acquisitions.  The Award includes a $1,500 gift.  Gibbs will receive the Leadership in Library Acquisitions Award in June in Washington, D.C., during the annual meeting of the American Library Association.

The Award Jury for the ALCTS/AS Leadership in Library Acquisitions Award noted Nancy Gibbs’ strong record of dedicated service to both the institutions in which she has worked and the associations with which she has been active and described her as “highly respected for her selfless work ethic and the leadership she has brought to the academic library profession.” Gibbs was one of the first acquisitions librarians to report to the profession on incorporating electronic books into the academic library environment.

Gibbs has held the position of Head of the Acquisitions Department for the Duke University Libraries since 2001. Prior to coming to Duke, she was the head of the Acquisitions Department at North Carolina State University’s D.H. Hill Library.

Duke Reads – Together

Duke alumni and friends now have their own virtual book club, thanks to the leadership of Rachel Davies, director of Alumni Education and Travel for the Duke Alumni Association, and the sponsorship of the Duke Libraries and other campus organizations. Called Duke Reads, the program will be announced formally to alumni during Reunions Weekend, April 13 & 14.

Over the course of the 2007–08 academic year, seven different members of the Duke community will lead discussions of seven books.  The discussions will take place on the 3rd Wednesday of each month, September through November and January through May, from 7:00 – 8:00pm, Eastern time, in the format of an online chat.

The September book will be the title selected for the Class of 2011 summer reading: The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South by Osha Gray Davidson.  The other books will be the choice of each month’s discussion leader.  For information about participating in Duke Reads, visit after 1 June 2007.

Dick Gordon and the Story Behind The Story

Dick Gordon: American Public MediaListeners to WUNC-FM’s The Story, hosted by Dick Gordon, hear about topics discussed on many other radio and television programs, but they hear about those topics from the people at the frontlines of the stories, in their own words—not from writers or policymakers or pundits. Gordon’s guests, encouraged by his interest and thoughtful questions, speak eloquently and often with emotion about how they are being affected by climate change, the war in Iraq, chronic illness, and other aspects of contemporary life.

Dick Gordon will talk about how The Story unfolds and why we listen when he speaks at the 26 April annual dinner meeting (see “Events” for details) of the Friends of the Duke University Libraries. Gordon, who premiered The Story in February 2006, had last been heard on National Public Radio as the host of The Connection from 2001 until 2005.

Prior to going to The Connection, Gordon was senior correspondent, backup host, and reporter for the CBC’s national current affairs radio show. However, Gordon has spent much of his career as a war reporter, covering conflicts in Kashmir, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka, as well as unrest in South Africa, Mozambique, Pakistan, India and the Middle East. He is the recipient of two Gabriel Awards and two National Journalism Awards, and has been nominated twice for the Actra Award for excellence in reporting.

Exhibits / Events – Spring 2007


The Perkins Gallery and the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library Gallery are both closed due to the ongoing renovation of Perkins Library.


14 April

Historian Jim Sears, author of Behind the Mask of the Mattachine: The Hal Call Chronicles and the Early Movement for Homosexual Emancipation, will discuss the history of the Mattachine, an early gay activist organization. Beginning at 1:30pm, and again after the program until 4pm, those attending the event will be able to examine materials from the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library that relate to the history of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. 2:30pm, Perkins Library Rare Book Room

Joseph Robinson: Mike DiVito20 April

“The Oboe Revealed,” a demonstration by Joseph Robinson, Artist-in-Residence at Duke and from 1978-2005 Principal Oboe of the New York Philharmonic. This is the final performance/conversation in the 2006/2007 Rare Music series, co-sponsored by the Duke University Musical Instrument Collections and the Duke University Libraries. 4:00pm, Perkins Library Rare Book Room. The program will be followed by a reception. Limited reserved parking on the Chapel Quad for this event.

26 April

Annual Meeting and Dinner of the Friends of the Duke University Libraries. The guest speaker will be Dick Gordon, host of The Story, which is produced at WUNC and distributed to public radio stations across the country by American Public Media. 6:30pm, Doris Duke Center at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. Tickets are $60. For more information, contact Mary Walter at

For more information about these events, call (919) 660-5816 or send a message to Individuals with disabilities who anticipate needing reasonable accommodations or who have questions about physical access may also call (919) 660-5816 or send a message to in advance of the programs.

Building a Spenser Archive – One Scan at a Time

David Lee Miller

David Lee Miller: Mark M. ZupanEditor’s Note: David Lee Miller, professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of South Carolina, spent several days in February at Duke’s Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, examining the Library’s 1609 edition of Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene. Miller was also at Duke to attend a conference, “Producing the Renaissance Text: Current Technologies of Editing-In Theory and Practice.” What follows is a slightly revised version of the paper Professor Miller presented at the conference.

In the late 1990s, a team of American researchers persuaded Oxford University Press that the time had come for a new scholarly edition of the works of Edmund Spenser. The players were Joseph Loewenstein (Washington University), Patrick Cheney (Penn State), Elizabeth Fowler (University of Virginia), and me. From the beginning we imagined our goal as a digital archive from which various physical texts might be derived: a hardcover library edition, a classroom text, a paperback of the View of the Present State of Ireland, and perhaps others. The matrix from which these books are generated will be an open-access digital archive built to serve everyone from beginning students to the geekiest of bibliographers.

So the first principle I’m here to offer is that in the new age of editing, hard copy texts will be captures from an electronic database. Many things follow from this principle, most of which I can’t tell you about because we’re learning as we go and the field is changing fast. But here are a few conclusions we’ve drawn so far, gathered under six headings: digital copy text, digital collation, hypertext commentary, collaboration, teaching, and the immaterial text.

Digital copy text

Given what we know about early modern printing practices, there’s really no reason for any single copy of a given edition to serve as copy text. The crucial unit of analysis for textual editors is not the book. Nor is it the page. It’s the “forme” – that layout of pages set up together and locked within a chase to be printed on a sheet, which will then be folded and cut. The ideal copy text for any edition would be one containing the final, corrected state for every forme. But in the early days of printing, proofing was often done on the fly, with corrected and uncorrected sheets combined indiscriminately in any given copy sent to the binder.

The result is that the ideal copy may or may not exist on a shelf somewhere between one set of covers. Charleton Hinman created a facsimile of the Shakespeare first folio by cherry-picking the images of corrected (and well-inked) pages from various existing copies; his example takes on a new interest now that we can store high-resolution digital scans of existing copies on a server. Why not follow Hinman’s lead by recombining scans to create a virtual copy text consisting entirely of corrected formes?

The biggest obstacle is to get enough copies scanned-the process can be quite expensive-but it does seem reasonable to expect that over time most copies of most early witnesses will be digitized. Our goal for Spenser is to collect TIFF scans of as many copies as we can. This will cost a lot and take a long time, but sooner or later it will happen-and long before it does, we will have witnesses enough to compose our virtual copy text.

Digital collation

This goal of collecting scans will have other advantages as well. One of the purely practical obstacles to editing a book like The Faerie Queene has always been the difficulty of collating multiple copies. Over a hundred copies of the 1590 edition are thought to survive, but they are scattered all over the world, and each copy takes three or four days to collate. Until recently no one, not even the editors of the Johns Hopkins Variorum edition, had ever collated more than three or four copies. David Lee Miller: Mark M. ZupanThe team of Japanese scholars who prepared the text for the recent Longman edition were able to collate a dozen, but to do it they had to work from microfilm and photocopies. This method carries inevitable limitations – for instance, it’s difficult to recognize where a copy may have been “sophisticated” along the way.

Take, for example, the description of Satyrane in Book I, canto vi of The Faerie Queene. All copies in 1590 say that among the beasts he compelled with iron yokes was the “Wolfe both swift and cruell” ( This is a problem because the previous line lists the “Tigre cruell,” with both cruels in the rhyming position. Sure enough, in the Faults Escaped that accompanies most copies of the 1590 printing, we find that “swift and cruell” should read “fierce and fell.” Yamashita et al. list this as a press variant in 1590 because they think that Malone 615, housed in the Bodleian, contains the corrected reading. It’s always a good idea to be suspicious of copies that incorporate corrections from the Faults Escaped list; I’ve found other instances in which a copy was “improved” by some earlier owner or seller taking a hint from that source. But you can’t tell this sort of thing from microfilm. You have to go into the Bodleian and look at page 85 of Malone 615, in which case you will see that the correction has actually been pasted in over the uncorrected state, which can still be seen if you lift the flap of paper on which the correction has been printed.

Even very high-resolution scans will never completely replace the occasional need for first-hand examination of the physical evidence. They will, however, reduce that need, since they capture so much more data than any other kind of image. And, what may prove most valuable in the long run, they hold out the possibility of making such first-hand examination more efficient by telling us where to look.

Optical character recognition may someday be sophisticated enough to do preliminary collations of early modern books, but unless Google knows something we don’t (and they may), that’s nowhere near achievable for the present. What OCR can do, though, is identify what counts as a character or as the space between characters. Computer science students working with Joseph Loewenstein and Keith Bennett at Washington University have developed a program that works with TIFF files, using OCR to locate characters on the page, but then switching to a direct comparison of pixel patterns to detect significant variation. This program, currently in its beta stage and slated for further testing, is known as “Digicoll.” Digicoll isn’t smart enough to do the collating for us, but it is patient enough to cull through as many copies as we can scan in order to flag discrepancies and say to a human editor, “Here, come have a look at this, will you?”

Operating on a substantial archive of scans, such a program should enable us to collate many more copies than have ever been collated before, and to do it with a higher degree of accuracy.

Hypertext commentary, or “Oh what an endlesse worke have I in hand!”

This topic may quickly provoke the reflection that sometimes limits are a good thing, since they force an editor to be both selective and concise. This is one reason-one of many-that it’s good to have the interplay between digital editions and hard copy derivatives: the economics of the book require distillation where those of the internet solicit a jouissance of proliferation. Still, the hypertext environment not only offers a larger quantity and variety of annotation available with a mouse-click, it also offers the prospect that our conference organizers refer to as the “continuously revised online edition.” Such continuous revision needn’t always entail expansion, but it will certainly invite editors to imagine their texts as a set of portals leading into a virtual encyclopedia of contexts and specialized studies. Indeed, if there’s going to be a Spenser Encyclopedia – a superb reference work-why shouldn’t its entries be placed online and linked to a hypertext edition?

Of course that’s only the beginning. Can we get an audiofile of Seamus Heaney reading his favorite passages from The Faerie Queene? What about specialized studies of everything Elizabethan, from architecture to zoology? And if Google is going to put the entire public domain online, why shouldn’t we be able to create a digital simulacrum of Spenserian intertextuality, with direct links from a given passage in The Faerie Queene to its tributaries in Virgil, Ovid, Chaucer, Ariosto, Tasso, and the Bible?


One of the more attractive features of digital projects as a form of scholarship is that they require extensive collaboration: sociologically they are the antithesis of the monograph. They push us to build partnerships across disciplines, forcing humanists and computer scientists to explain themselves to each other and to work with the library and the school of library science. And they regularly give rise to new possibilities for collaboration, since every obstacle is an opportunity to involve another specialist. David Lee Miller: Mark M. ZupanThe Spenser Project has formed mutually beneficial working relationships with Early English Books Online and with the Wordhoard project at Northwestern, and it has brought different schools and departments at Washington University and at the University of South Carolina into collaboration on specific tasks.

Most recently, I was discussing with Joseph Loewenstein how to annotate certain lines of The Faerie Queene, and it emerged from the discussion that we have different notions of how Spenser’s syntax works. I consulted with a specialist in our linguistics program, and the next thing I knew we were drawing up a grant proposal and designing a curriculum that would enable graduate students to pursue advanced study in literature and linguistics aimed at the formal analysis of syntax in The Faerie Queene. Add the advances in theoretical linguistics over the last few decades to the kinds of flexible and sophisticated concording made possible by programs like Wordhoard, and you can see how new studies of early modern syntax might be created to extend and educate our intuitions as editors and close readers. Syntactic analysis can also be used to create a tag set and add to our textual transcriptions a markup layer that will flag significant features, providing a basis for further study and a useful model for corpus-based linguistic analysis.


In various ways, the kinds of collaboration I’ve been describing can be extended into the classroom. Joseph Loewenstein started a few years ago talking about the “bench humanities,” and with the help of our new project director Amanda Gailey, also at Washington University, he has followed through by creating a Spenser course with a lab component. Students in the lab worked on XML markup of various texts, studying the markup language and the TEI guidelines, debating the kinds of questions that come up when you try to design a tag set, and in the end successfully encoding substantial chunks of the transcriptions provided to us through our working arrangement with Early English Books Online. Another XML workshop is planned for this summer at Washington University, which will in turn provide the model for a course next year in the honors college at South Carolina.

Meanwhile I’ve been experimenting with editorial commentary as a way of teaching The Faerie Queene. Exercises in preparing commentary on a specific passage give first-time students a chance to think directly about a fundamental question: what and how much do they need to know in order to read the poem? Students preparing commentary have to look closely at the language of a selected passage, think seriously about whether mythological references are decorative or functional, ponder the importance of historical references and literary allusions, and figure out for themselves and each other what exactly counts as “comprehension” with a text as complex as Spenser’s. Instead of writing individual term papers, they work in small teams to construct their own commentaries on various episodes complete with a critical introduction explaining their editorial decisions, and they present their work to their peers at the end of the semester. I think this procedure sometimes works better than a more conventional combination of essays and exams to give undergraduate English majors a sharp and memorable sense of Spenser as a writer.

The immaterial text

It’s a commonplace of the new bibliography to emphasize the ways in which the printed text itself was always a collaborative product, not an immaculate conception of the authorial mind for which print is merely a necessary evil, an imperfect, accident-prone source of what editors sometimes still call “corruption.” But there’s nothing commonplace about the endless particularity of the material text, and about all the ways it can call attention to the circumstances of its making and its circulation.

My first experience collating a copy of the 1590 Faerie Queene took place at the Ransom Humanities Center in Austin, Texas. I got very excited the first time I found a previously unrecorded variant. It was so . . . factual. One such variant I found on signature X4 of the Pforzheimer copy. This variant was unrecorded in part, I’m sure, because it doesn’t occur in the text at all: look at the upper left-hand corner of the ornamental box that frames the “argument” to canto x. See the difference between the image from the Pforzheimer copy, on the left side of your handout, and the one from the Stark copy, on the right? These ornamental boxes are made up of separate pieces fitted together; in the Pforzheimer copy, one of these pieces is turned the wrong way. If you look even more closely, you can see that the piece forming the entire left-hand side of the box has been replaced.

This is a fact. What it means, I can’t yet tell you. I don’t imagine the “furniture”-the wood blocks and wedges that hold the type in place-was loose, because I haven’t found evidence of other movement on the page. I assume, then, that for some reason the chase must have been opened, whereupon pieces fell out or were removed, and one of them was put back wrong. To figure out why, you have to look at what else in the forme has been changed, and if you find any changes you have to see whether they coincide with this one-that is, whether they occur in all the same copies.

I’m still collating, still gathering my data, so I’m not ready to say what it means. Instead, let me tell you something else. After noticing this discrepancy, I started going around the border with a magnifying glass to locate the breaks between the pieces it’s made of. And while I was doing that, something else entirely leapt into view.

It was a hair. A single strand of hair, as white as the page itself, rooted in the weave of the paper and spiraling up into view as if it had sprouted there. It had been invisible to the naked eye, but loomed so large in the magnifying glass that I felt a small, momentary shock, and pulled back. I had been reading Philip Gaskell’s account of how sheets of paper were made by pouring a paste of pounded rags over a fine mesh screen and pressing the water out, but now suddenly the details became real to me in a completely different way. This happened. More than four hundred years ago, an actual person (Giles the paper-maker?) pressed the sheet from which this page was folded and cut. Maybe he scratched his beard, and the hair is his, or maybe it was there in the rags, left over from some former owner with a more obscure itch. But there it was, and there it had probably been for the last 413 years, not the least bit allegorical until I and my amazement happened along to seize upon it-figuratively speaking, of course-and subject it to bemused scrutiny.

I have spent many long hours since then, whole days in fact, staring with fascination at the variously smudged and discolored surfaces of page after page in copies of The Faerie Queene, and I’ll be doing it again next week right in the rare book reading room down the hall. What makes this looking so fascinating is not, however, just the minute particularity of each single page. In fact, it’s only now and then that I look directly at a single page. Most of the time I’m staring into a mirror, and this mirror is angled toward a second mirror which is angled toward the open book. That’s with my left eye; my right eye, meanwhile, is trained on a computer screen displaying a high-resolution digital image of the same page from my control text; or I might be using a printout of the scan. This is a variation on the technique known as optical collation, developed by Randall McCloud of the University of Toronto. The set of mirrors I use was developed by Carter Hailey of the University of Virginia.

What I see at such moments is a highly detailed image, including the smudged outlines of the letters, bits of foreign matter embedded in the paper, water stains, the texture of the weave, the tears and scraped places. But for all its magnification of physical detail, this image is wholly immaterial: it exists neither on the page of the book to my left nor on the computer screen to my right. Its location is the visual cortex, where the images from my binocular vision are stereoscoped (or “collated”) with such precision that even small discrepancies seem to float up off the page, occupying a different depth of field. It’s a very useful thing for editing, but it’s also a visionary experience. I see both the material object and the ways in which it differs from itself, for of course the whole purpose of collation is to take into account the fact that there is not one material text but many, no two of them quite identical.

I guess I’m telling you this because even though so much of the value and the interest of editing, these days, come from new technologies, new forms of collaboration, and new ways of construing the physical object, there’s still a part of the process that is quite personal, indeed almost incommunicable, involving no technology more sophisticated than a pair of mirrors on lamp stands and no collaboration more extensive than that between your right and left eye. It is, as I said, visionary. In one way you’re a bit like Arthur after he wakes from his dream, staring at the “pressed grass” where Gloriana lay beside him-I never realized that this could be an allegory of the printing press. But in another way you’re like Arthur before he wakes, peering intently into your own mind to behold there the likeness of The Faerie Queene. That’s a stereoscopic effect technology can’t explain, but for me it’s still the reason to edit the text.

John Hope Franklin Wins Prestigious Kluge Prize

On 15 November 2006 the Library of Congress announced that John Hope Franklin and Yu Ying-shih were the winners of the 2006 John W. Kluge Prize for the study of humanity. John Hope Franklin is James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History at Duke; Yu is an emeritus professor of East Asian studies and history at Princeton.

The Kluge Prize rewards lifetime achievement in the wide range of disciplines not covered by the Nobel prizes, including history, philosophy, politics, anthropology, sociology, religion, criticism in the arts and humanities, and linguistics. The monetary value of the prize is $1 million, which professors Franklin and Yu will share.

Professor Franklin’s many publications include The Emancipation Proclamation, The Militant South, The Free Negro in North Carolina, Reconstruction After the Civil War, and A Southern Odyssey: Travelers in the Ante-bellum North. Perhaps his best known book is From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans, now in its seventh edition. His autobiography, Mirror to America, was published in 2005.

Commenting on John Hope Franklin, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said, “Dr. Franklin is the leading scholar in the establishment of African-American history as a key area in the professional study of American history in the second half of the 20th century. The transformation he has helped bring about in how we think about American history and society will stand as his lasting intellectual legacy.”

To read John Hope Franklin’s response on the occasion of receiving the Kluge Prize, go to To learn more about Duke’s John Hope Franklin Collection of African and African American Documentation, go to