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Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Krista A. Murchison

Over eighty years ago, a third, previously unidentified copy of the Anglo-Norman prose chronicle, Le Livere de Reis de Engleterre(LRE),was discovered in John Rylands French MS 64. Despite this discovery, and the paucity of witnesses to this chronicle, scholars of LRE generally pass over the version contained in the John Rylands manuscript. Through an examination of the sources and variant readings of LRE, this article argues that this previously overlooked copy of LRE is more authoritative than the other two. The superiority of the John Rylands manuscript enables us to determine best text readings of LRE with improved accuracy. It also allows us to date the chronicle with greater precision than previously possible, and provides grounds for tentatively locating the origins of the chronicle to northeastern England.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Zheng Yangwen

With the help of the Jesuits, the Qianlong emperor (often said to be Chinas Sun King in the long eighteenth century) built European palaces in the Garden of Perfect Brightness and commissioned a set of twenty images engraved on copper in Paris. The Second Anglo-Chinese Opium War in 1860 not only saw the destruction of the Garden, but also of the images, of which there are only a few left in the world. The John Rylands set contains a coloured image which raises even more questions about the construction of the palaces and the after-life of the images. How did it travel from Paris to Bejing, and from Belgium to the John Rylands Library? This article probes the fascinating history of this image. It highlights the importance of Europeans in the making of Chinese history and calls for studies of China in Europe.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Abstract only
Paul Fouracre and Sasha Handley
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Peter E. Pormann and Rachel Beckett
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
John Hodgson

Postcolonial theory has yielded productive methodologies with which to examine an institution such as the John Rylands Library. This paper reinterprets aspects of the Library‘s history, especially its collecting practices, using Bhabha‘s concept of hybridity. The Library‘s founder, Enriqueta Rylands, embodied hybridity and colonial talking back in her remarkable trajectory from a Catholic upbringing in Cuba, via her conversion to Nonconformity and her marriage to Manchester‘s most successful cotton manufacturer, to her usurpation of the cultural hegemony in purchasing spectacular aristocratic collections for her foundation. Hybridity was embedded in many other aspects of the Library‘s development: it was established as a public library with a board of governors but its collections were largely shaped by Enriqueta‘s tastes and interests; it was independent until 1972, while maintaining very close links to the University of Manchester; it has always fulfilled a dual remit of addressing the research needs of scholars and attracting wider audiences; and it is simultaneously a library of printed books and manuscripts, an archive repository, and a gallery of visual materials.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Ann Blair

In our time of increasing reliance on digital media the history of the book has a special role to play in studying the codex form and the persistence of old media alongside the growth of new ones. As a contribution to recent work on the continued use of manuscript in the handpress era, I focus on some examples of manuscripts copied from printed books in the Rylands Library and discuss the motivations for making them. Some of these manuscripts were luxury items signalling wealth and prestige, others were made for practical reasons – to own a copy of a book that was hard to buy, or a copy that could be customized in the process of copying. The act of copying itself was also considered to have devotional and/or pedagogical value.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Cordelia Warr

Italian ms 63, now in the John Rylands Library, contains fifty-four images of monstrous births, both human and animal. The manuscript was probably completed in the mid-eighteenth century and was owned by Edward Davenport (1778–1847) of Capesthorne Hall and later by the Manchester-based physician David Lloyd Roberts (1835–1920). This article explores the possible sources for some of the images, which range from descriptions or illustrations in well-known publications on monsters, to popular pamphlets, to drawings and paintings. An analysis of the choice of subject matter and the ways in which the source material has been used places the manuscript within eighteenth-century collecting practices and emphasises the multivalency of the monstrous.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library