Visit to Wilson Library

On Tuesday, October 23, our class met in Wilson Library to look at different copies of some of the works that we have been studying throughout the semester, as well as some new ones that we have not talked about. When we first arrived, we listened to a brief lecture on the copies that we would be handling as well as the proper technique to handle some of the copies because they are so old. We then got into groups and got to walk around and look at the different copies and handle them. Most of the books were on wedge blocks to prevent the binding from bending too much. It was important to be careful while flipping the pages. I was very surprised at how old and brittle some of the pages were. They felt like they could fall apart.

There were a few things that really stood out to me about the copies that we got to examine at Wilson Library. The first piece of text that we examined was an old Sherlock Holmes comic book. The cover had vivid and bright colors that suggested an action-packed and exciting story to be revealed. It also depicted a crazed dog with wild eyes, as well as a calm and collected Sherlock Holmes in the background while smoking a pipe and holding a violin. As we opened up the comic and asked the woman who was helping us in Wilson, we learned some very interesting things about the comic book. Sherlock Holmes is depicted in an unusual way throughout the comic, as he is shown punching a criminal, and he is usually known for his deductive reasoning. Also, there is very little attention drawn to the name of the author, which focuses the attention of the readers on Holmes instead of Arthur Conan Doyle. Lastly, this comic is a combination of two Sherlock Holmes novels: A Study in Scarlet and The Hound of Baskervilles. The fact that the comic is a combination of two previous novels makes it an adaptation.

Another set of books that we found to be very interesting was a copy of Jane Eyre. The books were divided into the three volumes. Although the date on the side of the books said 1847, we concluded that these books were printed much later. Also, the binding on the outside of the books was custom made. It was green, and it was in perfect condition. The actual binding on the sides had ridges that were intentional. We discussed the possibility that it was actually owned by a wealthy family who had the cover and binding done in accordance with a common theme or color that is present in their family library. It was fascinating to see the way that the books had been configured. Visiting Wilson was a great experience, and it was very interesting to get a first-hand look at some of the texts that we have been looking at throughout the semester. I’m looking forward to going back to visit the collection sometime in the future.