Two Events to Celebrate the University Library’s 13-Millionth Book: The First Illustrated Japanese printed book!

Thursday, 27 September, 3pm in The Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Tales of Ise, 1608: The First Japanese Illustrated Work of Literature A Lecture by Colin Franklin, author, bibliographer, and book-collector

Colin Franklin is an important English collector of Asian materials, a bibliophile and the author of numerous books on printing history, including Exploring Japanese Books and Scrolls, (British Library, 2005).

Friday, 28 September, 4pm in The Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Saga-bon Ise monogatari: The Most Influential Book in Early-Modern Japan? A lecture by Professor Joshua S. Mostow, University of British Columbia

Professor Mostow has written about the inter-relations between text and image in Japanese culture, Japanese women’s writing in the court tradition. He is also the author of The Ise Stories, (University of Hawaii Press, 2010).

First Illustrated Japanese Book Added as 13-Millionth Volume

Ise monogatari 伊勢物語 (Tales of Ise). Kyoto-fu (Saga): Suminokura Soan, with Nakanoin Michikatsu and Hon’ami Kōetsu, 1608.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has added its 13-millionth book, maintaining our status as the largest public university library in America.  The 13-millionth volume is the Ise Monogatari of 1608, the first illustrated Japanese printed book.  It is also the first printed edition of the popular Ise Monogatari (or Tales of Ise).  Published by Suminokura Soan 角倉素庵 (1571-1632),  a wealthy entrepreneur, scholar, litterateur and art connoisseur, it is also one of the earliest Japanese books printed with moveable type.

Soan’s printing establishment, which he set up at Saga 嵯峨 village near Kyoto, produced the much sought after “Saga-bon” imprints, of which this is the most famous.

The Tales of Ise is an anonymous compilation of 209 poems and 125 episodes from a poet’s life, arranged in rough chronological order as a biography of the unnamed protagonist (known in the text only as ‘a man’).  It probably originated the 10th century but gained its present form in the 12th century, in a version edited by the great poet Fujiwara Teika 藤原定家 (1162-1241).  Enormously popular, the Tales of Ise recounts the amorous exploits of an unnamed lover/poet, often identified with Ariwara no Narihira (825-80), one of the six “sages” of Japanese poetry.  The text was often illustrated in manuscript form and has long been considered a kind of ars amatoria and an essential text for students of Japanese culture. Theromantic adventures are also popular subject matter for painting, so it is not surprising that the first illustrated Japanese book would be the Tales of Ise.

The first printed edition—our 13 millionth book—was published by Suminokura Soan in co-operation with the famous painter, calligrapher and polymath, Hon’ami Kōetsu 本阿弥光悦 (1558-1637). The illustrator of the book is unknown, but some have attributed the woodcuts to Kōetsu.  A third member of the publishing team, Nakanoin Michikatsu 中院通勝, (1558-1610), was a nobleman, literary scholar, and editor.  Their Saga-bon editions were prized for their high quality and artistic merit.  They were printed with movable wooden type, a technique newly imported from Korea. The elegant type and delicate woodcuts of the Saga-bon Tales of Ise appear on five different hand-made colored papers.

This rare first edition is distinguished by Nakanoin Michikatsu’s brush drawn kakihan or cipher, one of only four copies with his handwritten signature, probably indicating that this copy was presented as a gift.

The book was reprinted eight times by 1610.  Its illustrations became the model for the iconography of this text and for the general style of Japanese book illustration for the next two centuries.  The University of Illinois houses an excellent collection of 17th-  to 19th-century illustrated Japanese books in its Yamagiwa Collection, including a 15th-century manuscript copy of the Tales of Ise and three 17th– and early 18th -century print editions. This new acquisition will be a boon to scholars and students of Japanese literature and culture at our university, and a welcome addition for anyone who loves beautiful books.

We are grateful to the Simpson family for the generous support which made this important acquisition possible.

Newly Discovered Association Copies

Curatorial intern Brian Flota has been searching the Library’s modern British literature holdings in order to track down items from the Tom Turner collection of British literature, purchased by Gordon Ray in the 1950s. In the process, Brian discovered many previously unknown association copies and a number of fine press poetry chapbooks. In this post, he picks ten of the items to share with the readers of Non Solus.

(1) Stanley J. Weyman. The Great House. London: John Murray, 1919. (823 W54gr 1919)

Stanley Weyman (1855-1928) is best known for his French historical romances, which were compared to Alexandre Dumas at the time of their publication. This late novel, The Great House, is about the anti-corn law movement. The library’s copy features an inscription from Weyman to Leonard Huxley (1860-1933), thanking him for his “kindly encouragement and oversight.” Leonard Huxley was the editor of the Cornhill Magazine, in which this work was originally serialized. He was also the father of the great English novelist Aldous Huxley (1894-1963).

(2) Ouida. “Held in Bondage,” or, Granville de Vigne: A Tale of the Day. London: Tinsley, Brothers, 1863. (823 D374he)

Ouida was the nom de plume of Maria Louise Ramé (1839-1908), a prolific English writer known primarily for her popular adventures and historical novels. Held in Bondage was her first novel, published in three volumes. The Library’s copy includes a four-page letter, handwritten and signed by Ouida, tipped-in the first volume. Ouida lived a tempestuous life filled with extravagances paid for by her best-selling novels, but died in poverty in Italy, surrounded by the many stray dogs she had adopted.

(3) Caroline Sheridan Norton. The Dream and Other Poems. London: Henry Colburn, 1840. (821 N82d)

The Dream was the sixth book of poetry published by Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton (1808-1877). A woman of high society, her life, especially during the time of the publication of The Dream, was fraught with public scandal. On the front fly-leaf of the Library’s copy, Norton has inscribed what appears to be an original, twenty-line poem, beginning, “The God that gave, reclaimed his gift; –.”

(4) Israel Zangwill. The Grey Wig: Stories and Novelettes. London: William Heinemann, 1903. (823 Z1gr)

Israel Zangwill (1864-1926) was a notable Jewish writer from England and an important member of the Zionist movement. Zangwill is most remembered today for his 1908 play The Melting Pot, which served to popularize the term and concept. Our copy of his earlier collection of short stories, The Grey Wig, features an inscription to “Mrs. Chaplin,” a relative of his wife, Edith Ayrton Zangwill. Edith Ayrton’s mother, Matilda Charlotte Chaplin Ayrton (1846-1883), was a member of the “Edinburgh Seven” – a group of women who fought unsuccessfully to earn medical degrees from Edinburgh University in the early 1870s.

(5) M.P. Shiel. The Yellow Danger. London: Grant Richards, 1900. (823 Sh59y 1900)

M.P. Shiel (1865-1947), the English popular adventure and science fiction novelist, first published The Yellow Danger in 1898. This xenophobic novel of racial conflict was apparently an influence on Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu character. The library’s copy is inscribed by Shiel on the title page. Shiel’s popularity has waned greatly since his death, but his post-apocalyptic novel The Purple Cloud (1901) was recently republished by the University of Nebraska Press in their “Bison Frontiers of Imagination” series.

(6) Four Grant Richards Items:

Grant Richards. Caviare. London: Grant Richards, 1912. (823 R392c)

Grant Richards. Valentine. London: Grant Richards, 1913. (823 R392v)

Grant Richards. Bittersweet. London: Grant Richards, 1915. (823 R392b)

William Watson. Lachrymae Musarum and Other Poems. London: Macmillan, 1892. (821 W33ℓ)

Grant Richards (1872-1948) was one of England’s most prominent publishers in the early 20th Century. As a publisher, he is perhaps most famous for publishing, after a decade-long delay, James Joyce’s first short story collection, Dubliners (1914). Richards was also a novelist. The library has three of his novels inscribed in a miniscule hand to journalist and bibliophile Holbrook Jackson (1874-1948). And the library also owns a book inscribed to Grant Richards: a slim hardbound volume of poetry by William Watson (1858-1935) that is inscribed to Richards from “his sincere friend.” If you are interested in Grant Richards’s writings or in his work as a publisher, the Rare Book & Manuscript Library holds a collection of his correspondence, literary manuscripts, and business papers. Additional collections of Grant Richards materials are housed at Georgetown University, the Library of Congress, the National Library of Ireland, and Princeton University.

(7) Edgar Jepson. The Passion for Romance. London: H. Henry & Co., 1896. (823 J46pa)

Edgar Jepson (1863-1938) inscribed this copy of The Passion for Romance to his sometime literary collaborator John Gawsworth (1912-1970), later known in his own right as a poet and a publisher. Gawsworth was also M.P. Shiel’s bibliographer and literary executor. In the inscription in the Library’s copy, Jepson provides some advice for Gawsworth: “Patience: and shuffle the cards.”

(8) Captain J.A. Kemble. Creeds: A World-Embracing Poem. [Calcutta, India: s.n., 1909?]. (821 K232c)

Not much is known about J.A. Keble, but this copy of his poem Creeds is an interesting artifact of Great Britain’s colonization of India. The poem is inscribed to one “General Edward Hastings Ripley” from Capt. Keble’s station in Darjeeling. A publisher’s advertisement affixed to the verso of the author’s portrait notes he is also the author of Darjeeling Ditties and Other Poems.

(9) Thom Gunn. The Garden of the Gods. Cambridge, Mass.: Pym-Randall Press, 1968. (821 G956ga)

Thom Gunn (1929-2004) was part of the British school of writers that produced Philip Larkin, Kingsley Amis, and Ted Hughes. Interestingly, he relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1954 and was present for the emergence of the Beat Movement there. This chapbook of his poem “The Garden of the Gods” is signed and numbered by the author.

(10) Thomas Adolphus Trollope. A Peep Behind the Scenes at Rome. London: Chatto and Windus, 1877. (823 T746p)

Unlike the other items discussed in the post, A Peep Behind the Scenes at Rome is not signed by its author, who in this case happens to be Thomas Adolphus Trollope (1810-1892). Thomas Adolphus Trollope was a noted travel writer and older brother to the Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope. What makes the copy noteworthy is Anthony Trollope’s armorial bookplate on the front paste-down. This copy was subsequently passed down to Anthony’s granddaughter, Muriel Trollope. The Rare Book & Manuscript Library holds a small collection of the letters, journals, unpublished literary works of Anthony Trollope and other members of the Trollope family, including some of Thomas Adolphus Trollope’s letters and journals. BF, AD

Artemus Ward and The Woman in White (823 C69w 1860b)

Wilkie Collins. The Woman in White. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1860.

In the Civil War era few American humorists were as popular as Charles Farrar Browne (1834-67), a vagabond reporter and lecturer better known by his pseudonym–Artemus Ward. Starting his career as a typesetter for Boston’s Carpet-Bag in 1851, by the middle-fifties Browne was based in Ohio, writing and editing for newspapers in Cincinnati, Dayton, and a number of smaller cities. In 1858, as local editor of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, he developed his Artemus Ward persona, and over the next decade cultivated a public following in the United States and abroad.

During his short lifetime, working in a genre that rarely results in canonization, Ward nonetheless made several important contributions to American letters. Perhaps the most significant of these was his influence on the young Mark Twain, whose comic sensibilities derive in large part from Ward’s writings and lectures.

Ward’s earliest appearances in print were spurious letters to the editor, interviews, travel pieces, and the like, characterized by a sardonic tone and featuring what can be described as his own unique form of the English language, in which our spelling and grammar rules do not apply.

Ward’s first letter to the editor, from January 1858, is a typical example of his style:

Pitsburg, Jan. 27, 18&58

The Plane Deeler:


i write to no how about the show bisnes in Cleeveland i have a show consisting in part of a Calforny Bare two snakes tame foxies &c also wax works my wax works is hard to beat, all say they is life and nateral curiosities among my wax works is Our Saveyer Gen taylor and Docktor Webster in the ackt of killing Parkman. now mr. Editor scratch off few lines and tel me how is the show bisnes in your good city i shal have hanbils printed at your offis you scratch my back i will scratch your back, also git up a grate blow in the paper about my show don’t forgit the wax works.

yours truly,


Pitsburg, Penny

p S pitsburg is a 1 horse town. A. W.

By the start of the Civil War this linguistic grandstanding had earned Ward a large following in the Midwest. In 1861 he moved to New York, where he became an editor and writer at Vanity Fair, a humor magazine (unrelated to the current magazine).  Vanity Fair brought Ward to a national audience, and his popularity soon spread throughout the Civil War North. Ward’s readers even extended to the White House. President Lincoln was such a fan that he read aloud a new Ward piece, “High-Handed Outrage at Utica,” to open an 1862 cabinet meeting. Then he read something else–his first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Artemus Ward

In late 1861 Ward capitalized on his new-found fame, launching his first comic lecture tour across the North. By 1863 he was performing to packed houses as far west as California. “Lecturing” on current events and skewering public figures, his act wandered wherever his whims took him. In effect, he became one of the first American stand-up comedians.

At one tour stop in 1863, at Virginia City, Nevada, he met a wily young reporter named Sam Clemens (Mark Twain), whose life would be changed forever by the experience. The two men shared the same sense of humor and, legend has it, the same barrel of whiskey: after a night of raising hell, the Virginia City constable reportedly threatened them with his shotgun. Clemens would be a disciple of Ward’s for the rest of his life.

Ward continued in this fashion, writing, lecturing, and creating publicity everywhere he went. In 1866 he took his talents to England, where he increased his celebrity by performing his act and submitting humor pieces to Punch. And in England he died, of pneumonia, in 1867.

Since his death, Ward has nearly faded into obscurity, and today his name is recognizable to few readers aside from scholars and students of nineteenth century America. As a former English literature major, I fall into the latter category, and so I was overjoyed recently when I stumbled upon a book that was originally purchased by Ward.

Several weeks ago I was browsing the 823s in the Library’s Main Stacks, when I picked off the shelf a first American edition of Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White (New York: Harper & Bros., 1860).

In itself, this was an interesting find: an early edition of one of the first (and finest) mystery novels. What made the discovery truly exciting was the inscription on the flyleaf, to Geo. Hoyt from one “A. Ward.”  The full inscription reads, “Presented to Geo. Hoyt as a slite Evijence of my regard for his Talenks as a Sculptist. A Ward. Nov. 18, 1860.”

Ward's inscription to Hoyt

Although I had never seen Ward’s handwriting, I was initially convinced that the inscription was authentic due its venturesome spelling choices and wry tone. Examining the book closer, I found that a magazine article, “Artemus Ward at Cleveland,” had been pasted into the front of the book.

The article, published by C. C. Ruthrauff in the October 1878 issue of Scribner’s Monthly (later to become The Century Magazine), details Ward’s relationship with a George Hoyt–the same “Geo. Hoyt” from the inscription. According to the article, Hoyt was the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s chief illustrator when Ward was its local editor. The two collaborated on a number of articles during Ward’s tenure (1858-61), and as a show of his affection for Hoyt’s work, Ward bought for his colleague a copy of the newly published Woman in White, writing the inscription shown above.

Within the year, Ward would leave Cleveland for fame and fortune in the East. Hoyt would stay behind, eventually becoming editor and publisher of the Plain-Dealer. And Hoyt’s copy of The Woman in White would find its way to our University Library, first as part of the Main Stacks collection, and now as a new addition to the Rare Book and Manuscript Library–a small, but valuable, complement to the Franklin J. Meine Collection. RR