An Impartial Collection of the Great Affairs of State was published in London, in two volumes, between 1682 and 1683. Its author John Nalson was a fervent believer in the twin pillars of the monarchy and the Anglican Church. In An Impartial Collection he holds up the internecine conflict of the 1640s as an example not to be followed during the 1680s, a period of further religious and political upheaval. Nalson’s text is anything but neutral, and its perspective is neatly summarised in the engraved frontispiece which prefaces the first volume. This article examines how this illustration, depicting a weeping Britannia accosted by a two-faced clergyman and a devil, adapts and revises an established visual vocabulary of ‘otherness’, implying disruption to English lives and liberties with origins both foreign and domestic. Such polemical imagery relies on shock value and provocation, but also contributes to a sophisticated conversation between a range of pictorial sources, reshaping old material to new concerns, and raising important questions regarding the visual literacy and acuity of its viewers.
Judging from repetitious appearances of her marital arms in the painted line-endings, the Psalter-Hours John Rylands Library Latin MS 117 probably belonged to Jeanne of Flanders (c.1272–1333), daughter of Count Robert III of Flanders and in 1288 second wife to Enguerrand IV of Coucy. Yet the line-endings also contain some 1,800 diminutive painted escutcheons, many of which refer to other members of the local nobility active during the 1280s. This study, based on an exhaustive survey of the total heraldic and codicological evidence, suggests that the majority of the extant Psalter predated the Hours and that the two parts were combined after the 1288 marriage. The ‘completed’ manuscript bears witness to major events that unfolded in and around the Coucy barony over the course of the decade. It suggests a complex relationship between Jeanne of Flanders and a lesser member of the local nobility, a certain Marien of Moÿ, who may have served as her attendant.
The letter collections of Greco-Roman antiquity dwarf in total size all of
ancient drama or epic combined, but they have received far less attention than
(say) the plays of Euripides or the epics of Homer or Virgil. Although
classicists have long realised the crucial importance of the order and
arrangement of poems into ‘poetry books’ for the reading and
reception both of individual poems and the collection as a whole, the importance
of order and arrangement in collections of letters and the consequences for
their interpretation have long been neglected. This piece explores some of the
most important Greek letter collections, such as the Letters attributed to
Plato, and examines some of the key problems in studying and editing collections
of such ancient letters.
In this article on book circulation, I survey twelve English library auction
catalogues from the period 1676–97, in order to show how interest in the
writings of the Amsterdam rabbi Menasseh ben Israel (1604–57) continued
after his death. I do this by identifying the circulation of his works in
Puritan personal libraries. I focus particularly on the library auction
catalogues of leading Puritans, notably Lazarus Seaman, Thomas Manton, Stephen
Charnock and John Owen. I also show that of all Menasseh’s books,
De resurrectione mortuorum libri III was the one most
frequently owned by Puritan divines. This article demonstrates how books helped
to catalyse the boundary-crossing nature of the Jewish–Christian
encounter in seventeenth-century England.