Margaret Cavendish, Philosophical and Physical Opinions (London, 1663)
When Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle (1623?-73) gifted her Philosophical and Physical Opinions to The Queen’s College, she ensured that its fellows could enjoy the most authoritative version of her writings. This chapter explains the process of masculine arousal, but it mistakenly locates men’s ‘Appetite towards the Woman’ in the ‘Womb’. At Cavendish’s instruction, a skilled amanuensis has replaced the printed word ‘Womb’ with the marginal note ‘parts proper for it’. Ground mica in the sand used to blot ink causes this handwritten emendation to sparkle.
By the Queene. A proclamation for the suppressing of seditious bookes and libelles (London, 1584)
One of many hundreds of state proclamations issued under the authority of Queen Elizabeth I, this proclamation seeks to stop the spread of texts seen as dangerous to the state. An obvious problem is that naming these books might incite interest. Possessors of such books are simply supposed to recognize sedition when they see it and turn in the books to local authorities. The contents of these books thus turn them into dangerous materials, objects that will be not only read but secretly shared, hidden, and, the state hoped, suppressed and destroyed.
George Herbert, The Temple: Sacred poems, and private ejaculations, sixth edition (Cambridge, 1641)
George Herbert (1593-1633) was a priest and poet. His influential collection The Temple invites the reader to imagine herself entering an Anglican church and meditating on its architectural elements. Herbert’s poem ‘The Altar’ takes this experience a step further by resembling the object it describes. But, rather like the church furniture of the mid seventeenth century, ‘The Altar’ changed over time. Readers of the 1641 sixth edition were confined to typographical boundaries around ‘The Altar’ that did not appear in the 1633 first edition.
‘The Altar’ from George Herbert, The Temple: Sacred poems, and private ejaculations (Cambridge, 1633)
Folger Shakespeare Library, STC 13183 (source: LUNA Folger Digital Image Collection)