Printing the Nation: A Century of Irish Book Arts

Please note that the corridor outside RBSC is temporarily narrowed to a pedestrian tunnel due to ongoing library renovations, but we generally remain open during our regular hours (Monday through Friday, 9:30am – 4:30pm.)


This semester’s exhibit, “Printing the Nation: A Century of Irish Book Arts” curated by Aedín Ní Bhróithe Clements, invites visitors to look beyond the text and consider other aspects of books in our Irish collection.

The Little Book of the Blessed Eucharist. Verses by Brian O’Higgins.
Scribe work and ornament by Mícheál Ua Briain. Printed by Colm O Lochlainn. Dublin: Brian O’Higgins, 1931.
Special Coll. Rare Books Small PR 6029 .H5 L58 1931

To highlight the influence of early art on Irish book decoration and illustration in the early twentieth century, we have ‘borrowed’ the fine art facsimile Book of Kells from the Paleography Room on the 7th floor.

The Book of Kells. Fine Art Facsimile Edition. Faksimile-Verlag Luzern, 1989.
Medieval [7th floor] Paleography (Rm. 715Q) • ND 3359 .K4 B65 1990
Pressmark of the Three Candles Press. Clann Lir. Rewritten by Mícheál Ó Colmáin and illustrated by Abhuistín Ó Maolaoidh. Cló na gCoinneal, c. 1928.
Special Coll. Rare Books Large PB 1397 .A29 O36 1925z

Chapters of the history of the book in Ireland include the stories of printing presses, and we have selected a small sampling from our extensive collections of important presses such as the Cuala Press founded by the Yeats sisters, Colm Ó Lochlainn’s Three Candles Press, and the Dolmen Press of Liam Miller. Contemporary printing presses are also represented, with a limited edition from Salvage Press and the 1916 commemorative book 16 which was published by Stoney Road Press.

The exhibit’s title poster incorporates an illustration by Liam Miller, from the cover of Ten Poems by Padraic Colum, which is featured in the first case. The fonts in the poster, American Uncial and Pilgrim, were selected to reflect choices made by Irish printers. The poster was designed by Sara Weber.

The Irish language posed particular challenges for printers up to the 1960s when the standard of Irish language became the Roman alphabet. Throughout the exhibition, various examples are displayed of the styles of lettering used for Irish language titles and text.

An Béal Boċt nó An Milleánaċ: Droċ-sgéal ar an Droċ-shaoġal, curtha i n-eagar le (edited by) Myles na gCopaleen. Dublin: An Preas Náisiúnta, 1941.
Special Coll. (MR) Small PB 1399 .O59 B4 1942

The aspect of typefaces in the Irish language will be the subject of a lecture later in February:

“The Changing Face of Irish Writing”

Lecture by Brian Ó Conchubhair, Associate Professor of Irish Language and Literature, University of Notre Dame

Tuesday, February 28 at 3:30pm
Department of Rare Books and Special Collections,

The exhibit is open Monday – Friday, through July 2023.

Tours of the exhibit may be arranged for classes and other groups, and additional curator-led tours are available at 12 noon on the following Fridays:

February 24
March 10 and 31
April 7 and 21

Upcoming Events: February 2023

Please note that the corridor outside RBSC is temporarily narrowed to a pedestrian tunnel due to ongoing library renovations, but we generally remain open during our regular hours.

Please join us for the following public events and exhibits being hosted in Rare Books and Special Collections:

Thursday, February 23 at 5:00pm | Italian Research Seminar: M.A. Students Presentations (University of Notre Dame)

“Anybody here speak English? / Non dovete avere paura, non c’è ragione”:
Dubbing as Translation and Rewriting in Spike Lee’s Miracle at St. Anna,
by Santain Tavella

The Infernal Arno: Mapping the Arno in Dante’s Hell
through the Lens of Purg. XIV,
by Toby Hale

Tuesday, February 28 at 3:30pm | Exhibit Lecture: “The Changing Face of Irish Writing” by Brian Ó Conchubhair (Associate Professor of Irish Language and Literature, University of Notre Dame)


The spring exhibit, Printing the Nation: A Century of Irish Book Arts, features selected books from the Hesburgh Libraries’ Special Collections that demonstrate the art and craft of the Irish book since 1900. The exhibit, curated by Aedín Ní Bhróithe Clements, will run through the semester.

The February spotlight exhibits are Language and Materiality in Late Medieval England (February – April 2023) and “That Just Isn’t Fair; Settling for Left-Overs”: African American Women Activists and Athletes in 1970s Feminist Magazines (February – March 2023).


Rare Books and Special Collections will be closed
from 11:30am to 2:00pm on Thursday, February 9, 2023.

Welcome to Spring 2023 in Rare Books & Special Collections

Upcoming Events: January

Please join us for the following event being hosted in Rare Books and Special Collections:

Thursday, January 26 at 5:00pm | Italian Research Seminar: “The ‘Literary Canon’ of Early Venetian Humanism (1374-1446) between the Classics and the Moderns “ by Rino Modonutti (University of Padova). Sponsored by the Center for Italian Studies.

Spring Semester Exhibits

The spring exhibit Printing the Nation: A Century of Irish Book Arts will feature selected books from the Hesburgh Libraries’ Special Collections to demonstrate the art and craft of the Irish book since 1900. The exhibit, curated by Aedín Ní Bhróithe Clements, will open in January and run through the semester.

The current spotlight exhibits for are Hesburgh Library Special Collections: A Focus on W. B. Yeats (November 2022 – January 2023) and The Ladies Flower-Garden of Ornamental Annuals (December 2022 – January 2023). Later in the month, we will be installing the spring semester spotlight, which will explore changes in language within select Middle English manuscripts and early printed books from the 15th through 17th century (January – April 2023).

Classes in Special Collections

Throughout the semester, curators teach sessions related to our holdings. If you’re interested in bringing your class or group to work with our curators and materials, please contact Special Collections.

Recent Acquisitions

Special Collections acquires new material throughout the year. Watch our blog for announcements about recent acquisitions.

The Pantomime — an Irish Christmas Tradition

by Aedín Ní Bhróithe Clements, Irish Studies Librarian

Generations of Irish children first experienced the theatre at the Christmas Pantomime. This year’s panto offerings in Ireland include The Jungle Book, Sleeping Beauty, and a number of variations on Jack and the Beanstalk such as Olly, Polly and the Beanstalk.

The tradition probably found its way from Britain to Ireland in the eighteenth century, and has delighted children since then. Peculiarly, its popularity has not spread across the Atlantic.

The typical pantomime has a basic story, presented with an abundance of song and dance, great hilarity, and often with predictable gender cross-over as we shall see below. Scenes of slapstick comedy are interspersed with witty dialogue for the grown-ups in the audience. Pantomimes are peppered with current political references, from the setting and characters to the scripted or perhaps ad-libbed asides in the performance.

A selection from our extensive Irish Theatre Program collection gives us a glimpse of the genre in Ireland, as we look at a handful of Dublin theatre programs.

Cover of the program for Dick Whittington, the annual pantomime at the Theatre Royal, 1904.

The 1904 pantomime at Dublin’s Theatre Royal was Dick Whittington. According to the program, it was written specially for this theatre by William Wade. In the tradition of pantomime, Dick Whittington is played by a female, Carlotta Levey.

An Irish Times review includes particular praise for Carlotta Levey: “Miss Levey has proved herself to be one of the very best Principal Boys we have had in Dublin for very many years, and has made a host of friends for herself…”

The above program is also a Book of Songs, and includes pages of songs in addition to photographs of some of the cast. Once again, Carlotta Levey plays the principal boy, while Mother Goose is played by a male actor, Martin Adeson. 

A newspaper review tells us that local references ‘largely directed against Dublin Corporation, and many of which provoked a good deal of laughter, are furnished.’ (Irish Times 22 Jan 1907, p. 7)

John MacDonagh’s Grand Christmas Pantomime, Cinderella. Program for the Olympia Theatre, 1928.

The Olympia Theatre’s annual pantomime in 1928 was Cinderella, a perennial pantomime favorite. The Irish Times review praised almost every element of the show: the scenery, costume, lighting, music, songs, and indeed the actors. The reviewer provides an example of a witty (at that time) local reference: ‘“There are two gentlemen at the door,” says Chris Sylvester as Buttons. “How do you know they are gentlemen?” asks Dick Smith, as Baron Touch. “They have Cork accents,” says Buttons.’ (IT 10 January 1928, p. 4.

An Óige, the Irish Youth Hostel Association, held their pantomimes in the Olympia theatre from 1941. Our two programs of their pantomimes staged during the “Emergency” (World War II) suggest shows loaded with commentary on the scarcity and rationing of the Emergency years.

From the 1942 program for Turfyella, we can be confident that the reference to turf in the title is connected to the fact that all fuels, among other commodities, were rationed during the Emergency—but as turf, also known as peat, could be cut from the ground in Ireland’s bogs, there was much activity cutting and gathering turf.

In an article written recently during the COVID pandemic, Éanna Brophy helpfully describes aspects of the earlier ‘Emergency’:

Turf was harvested at a frantic rate. The main avenue of the Phoenix Park was eventually flanked on both sides by ton upon ton of turf destined for the fires of the people of Dublin. The avenue was soon christened The New Bog Road.

The same article tells us a little about the ‘glimmer’ of the following year’s an Óige pantomime Gone with the Glimmer, by Éamon Byrne. During the Emergency, the use of gas was limited to certain times of the day. A small flow had to be maintained in the pipes, but people were forbidden to turn on their stoves to use this tiny flow of gas.

Hence the arrival of that fearsome figure who still haunts Dublin folklore – the Glimmer Man. Emergency or no emergency there were babies’ bottles to be warmed, and many mothers used the glimmer in desperation to soothe a crying baby. The Glimmer Man had extraordinary powers: he could legally enter your house and check for recent illegal usage of gas by placing his hands on the cooker ring. Guilty parties could have their supply cut off forthwith.

As we glance over the years of programs, we find Cinderella repeated often, from major city theatres such as the Theatre Royal (no longer in existence), the Gaiety (still staging a popular Christmas pantomime), to smaller theatres and local dramatic societies. The above covers are from programs for the Theatre Royal in 1946 and St. Anthony’s Theatre in 1957, while the program below is from the Gaiety’s 1956 pantomime.

Howard and Wyndham’s Cinderella. Gaiety Theatre, 1956. Program cover.
Cast list from the program of the Gaiety Theatre’s Cinderella, 1956.

While the Gaiety’s pantomime has been a regular event since 1873, it was only during the mid-twentieth century, under the management of Louis Elliman, that their pantomime became home-produced rather than imported. The cast list here shows Jimmy O’Dea playing Buttons, a very important role in the pantomime Cinderella, and Maureen Potter playing the maid, Dolores.

Mícheál Mac Liammóir and Milo O’Shea, must have been a great sight as the sisters Marigold and Myrtle, while the valet Dandini is played in another gender cross-over by Maureen Toal.

Clár Fuireann na Mainistreach, Amharclann na Mainistreach/ Program of the Abbey Theatre Company, Abbey Theatre, 1961.

Our theatre program collection began with some two hundred Abbey theatre programs, and has expanded to include programs of many theatres throughout Ireland. The Abbey, Ireland’s National Theatre, began its Irish-language pantomimes in 1945 with Muireann agus an Prionsa by Mícheál Ó hAodha, based on The Golden Apple by Lady Gregory.

Our program for the 1961 Abbey pantomime, or geamaireacht, is for another tale with a princess and a magical kingdom. In An Sciath Draíochta, Princess Clíona is banished from Tír na nÓg by the witch, Muiregáin. The hero, Aonghus, rescues her with the help of the magical shield of the title, and after many adventures.

In some later pantomimes, the magical setting takes the form of an overt parallel to Ireland. The plot of the Abbey’s Flann agus Cleimintín (1963) would not be clear to a very young audience. The mythical land of youth, Tír na nÓg, is partitioned and therefore vulnerable. However, the opportunistic sea-god and the emperor of China are foiled in their tracks when the border is abolished. The synopsis provided in the program was probably essential to follow this plot.

Synopsis of Flann agus Cleimintín, Abbey Theatre program, 1963.

Partition is once again the subject of the 1964 pantomime, Aisling as Tír-na-nÓg. The story begins with dissatisfaction with the Irish Partition, and a request to an ancient king to come from Tír na nÓg and reunite the country. The call is answered by the king’s son Conall who travels the land and ends up crowned king of Ireland, along with his queen, the heroine of the title, Aisling.

The examples selected here are from a very large collection of programs of many kinds of performance in theatres throughout Ireland, over a century and more. They are currently being cataloged, and these titles will eventually be added to the existing list of programs on our archival finding aid.

Due to OIT infrastructure work being done in the Hesburgh Library, Special Collections will be closed on Monday, December 19, 2022.

Upcoming Events: December 2022

Please note that the corridor outside RBSC is temporarily narrowed to a pedestrian tunnel due to ongoing library renovations, but we generally remain open during our regular hours.

Please join us for the following public event being hosted in Rare Books and Special Collections:

Thursday, December 1 at 5:00pm | Italian Research Seminar: “Fellini, Film, and the Proliferation of Petroculture in Postwar Italy” – Lora Jury (University of Notre Dame).


Daughters of Our Lady: Finding a Place at Notre Dame, an exhibition of materials from the University of Notre Dame Archives curated by Elizabeth Hogan and reflecting on the 50th anniversary of coeducation at Notre Dame, will run through December 16th.

The current spotlight exhibits are Hesburgh Library Special Collections: A Focus on W. B. Yeats (October – December 2022) and The Ladies Flower-Garden of Ornamental Annuals (December 2022 – January 2023).

Due to OIT infrastructure work being done in the Hesburgh Library, Special Collections will be closed
on Monday, December 19, 2022.

Rare Books and Special Collections will be closed for Notre Dame’s Christmas and New Year’s Break
(December 23, 2022, through January 2, 2023).

We otherwise remain open for our regular hours during Reading Days and Exams, and welcome those looking for a quiet place to study.

Upcoming Events: November 2022

Please note that the corridor outside RBSC is temporarily narrowed to a pedestrian tunnel due to ongoing library renovations, but we remain open during regular hours.

Please join us for the following public event being hosted in Rare Books and Special Collections:

Thursday, November 10 at 5:00pm | Italian Research Seminar: “Deadly Letters: Plague, Banditry, and Heresy in Early Modern Mail” – Rachel Midura (Virginia Tech).

Thursday, November 11 at 4:00pm | “Ireland’s Lament”: The Story of the Manuscript of a 17th-century Irish Historica Poem in the Hesburgh Library. A panel discussion on the recently-acquired manuscript, Tuireamh na hÉireann (Ireland’s Lament), with the Department of Irish Language and Literature and the Keough-Naughton Institute of Irish Studies.


Daughters of Our Lady: Finding a Place at Notre Dame, an exhibition of materials from the University of Notre Dame Archives curated by Elizabeth Hogan and reflecting on the 50th anniversary of coeducation at Notre Dame, will run through the end of the fall semester.

The current spotlight exhibits are Hesburgh Library Special Collections: A Focus on W. B. Yeats (October – December 2022) and “Rosie the Riveters with a Vengeance” and Other Wartime Contributions by American Women (October – November 2022).

RBSC will be closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday,
November 24 – 25.

A Halloween Tale: “John Reardon and the Sister Ghosts”

by Sara Weber, Special Collections Digital Project Specialist

This year’s Halloween tale comes to you from Jeremiah Curtin’s Tales of the Fairies and of the Ghost World (London: D. Nutt, 1895). Curtin, a linguist, translator, and folklorist, was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Irish immigrant parents, and grew up in Milwaukee county, Wisconsin. With the aid of interpreters, he collected folklore in the Irish-speaking regions in the west of Ireland. Recent scholarship demonstrates that Alma Curtin, his wife, was an important partner in this work.1 He also translated Russian and Polish literature, and spent some years working for the Bureau of Ethnology in Washington, D.C., working with Native American peoples. He published three books of Irish folklore, of which this was the third.

“John Reardon and the Sister Ghosts” tells of bravery rewarded and wickedness punished—and of the special properties of “what belongs to a plough”. Enjoy!


Happy Halloween to you and yours
from all of us in Notre Dame’s Special Collections!

Halloween 2021: A Welsh Witch in the Woods
Halloween 2020: Headless Horsemen in American and Irish
Halloween 2019: A Halloween trip to Mexico
Halloween 2018: A story for Halloween: “Johnson and Emily; or, The Faithful Ghost”
Halloween 2017: A spooky story for Halloween: The Goblin Spider
Halloween 2016: Ghosts in the Stacks

 

 

[1] Bourke, Angela. “The Myth Business: Jeremiah and Alma Curtin in Ireland, 1887–1893.” Éire-Ireland, vol. 44 no. 3, 2009, p. 140-170. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/eir.0.0043.

Upcoming Events: October 2022

Please note that the corridor outside RBSC is temporarily narrowed to a pedestrian tunnel due to ongoing library renovations, but we remain open during regular hours.

Please join us for the following public event being hosted in Rare Books and Special Collections:

Thursday, October 6 at 5:00pm | Italian Research Seminar: “‘Permettereste a vostro figlio di sposare Lola?’: Latent Fascism, American Culture, and Blackness in Postwar Italy” – Jessica L. Harris (St. John’s University).


Daughters of Our Lady: Finding a Place at Notre Dame, an exhibition of materials from the University of Notre Dame Archives curated by Elizabeth Hogan and reflecting on the 50th anniversary of coeducation at Notre Dame, will run through the end of the fall semester.

The current spotlight exhibits are Three Sisterhoods and Two Servants of God (June – early October 2022) and A Day in a Life of the Warsaw Ghetto in Photographs (August – early October 2022). Later in October we will be installing two new spotlight exhibits: an exhibit featuring our William Butler Yeats Collection and discussing Yeats’ connection with Notre Dame (mid-October – December 2022), and an exhibit highlighting some recent acquisitions relating to women in World War II (mid-October – November 2022).

RBSC will be open regular hours, 9:30am – 4:30pm,
during Notre Dame’s Mid-Term Break (October 17 – 21).

Opportunities for Research Visits to Notre Dame’s Special Collections

The Rare Books and Special Collections at Hesburgh Library welcomes visiting scholars whether they wish to consult one book or to spend many days immersed in our collections.

A number of research grants and awards are made available by a variety of institutions which may be of interest to people considering travelling for research visits. These are administered and funded by various groups, and so the information in this blogpost is intended to serve as a signpost to different opportunities, and to encourage readers to follow the links to the relevant grants and awards.

Dante Studies Travel Grants

With the Devers Family Program in Dante Studies, the Center for Italian Studies co-sponsors travel grants for faculty and graduate students from other institutions whose research would benefit from on-site access to Notre Dame’s special collections on Dante, the Ambrosiana archive, or other of its Italian holdings. For more information, please contact devers@nd.edu.

The Italian Studies Library Research Award

The Center for Italian Studies and Notre Dame International jointly administer an Italian Studies Library Research Award. This award provides grant funding for scholars to use the collections of the Hesburgh Libraries for research in Italian studies. Research awards are intended to defray the cost of travel and accommodation for research visits of one to three weeks in duration. Applications from international locations are encouraged. Read more about this award and access the application on the Center for Italian Studies’ website.

Keough-Naughton Library Research Award in Irish Studies

The Keough-Naughton Library Research Award provides grant funding to assist scholars who travel to the Notre Dame campus to use the collections of the Hesburgh Libraries for research in all aspects of Irish studies. This award is funded and administered jointly by the Keough Naughton Institute for Irish Studies and Notre Dame International. Information and application instructions for this grant may be found on the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies website.

Cushwa Center Research Travel Grants

The Cushwa Center provides research grants for the Study of Catholicism in America. Information on their opportunities for research in the University of Notre Dame Archives and the Hesburgh Libraries may be found on the Cushwa Center’s Research Travel Grants page.

Hibernian Research Awards

Funded by an endowment from the Ancient Order of Hibernians and Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, these annual awards provide travel funds to support the scholarly study of Irish and Irish American history. This grant is administered by the Cushwa Center of Catholic Studies. Information is available on the Grant Opportunities page of the Cushwa Center’s website.

A Scholar’s Books: The Luce Collection of Berkeley

by Arpit Kumar, Ph.D. Candidate, Notre Dame’s Department of English

In 1993, Hesburgh Library acquired a part of Arthur Aston Luce’s George Berkeley collection, which contains a lifetime of scholarship centered on Luce’s protagonist, Irish philosopher George Berkeley (1685-1753). Luce (1882-1977) unearthed previously neglected or unknown materials that changed the course of Berkeley criticism. Berkeley’s reputation was of an erratic but energetic, insightful but inconsistent thinker but in Luce’s writings he emerges as a precise and disciplined intellect, conversant with a continental philosophical tradition, and committed to forwarding a considered theory of immaterialism. The collection also contains items from Luce’s library including rare early eighteenth-century editions of Berkeley’s works (printed in London and Dublin) as well as later landmark nineteenth-century editions. The Hesburgh Library has added to the collection over a period of time.

Luce’s own extensive work, replete with penciled notes and corrections, is also represented in the collection. This includes two of his hand-written notebooks which served as the basis for his edition of Berkeley’s Philosophical Commentaries. The collection also contains Luce’s celebrated biography of Berkeley. Luce’s annotations are useful for scholars interested in studying the progress of Berkeley’s mind from his early Trinity phase to the truncated Bermuda project and his mature thought. The collection will appeal to those researchers and students who wish to interrogate the unique clubbability of these two men who were clearly allied in spirit even if separated by time.

While the early Dublin edition(s?) of 1709 of New Theory of Vision are not a part of Luce’s collection, a copy of the 1733 London edition of great rarity is present.

Title page opening of the 1733 London edition of New Theory of Vision

For almost a century after Berkeley’s death his readers remained unaware of the edition’s existence. In this work, Berkeley produced what is still considered one of his great contributions to philosophy by examining the dynamics of human vision in the perception of distance and magnitude by the interaction of ideas of sight and touch. Berkeley’s explanation provided an alternative to the prevalent standard account of visual perception which required geometrical calculations. Adam Smith regarded Berkeley’s theory of vision as complete in itself and considered it “…one of the finest examples of philosophical analysis” (qtd. in Keynes, 7).

The collection also contains a copy of The Works (1871) edited by A.C. Fraser which is of interpretive value for Berkeley scholars and contains substantial annotations made by Luce especially in sections pertaining to The Theory of Vision Vindicated (1733).

The copy of Three Dialogues is in a beautiful and seductive modern calf binding of bookbinder Joseph Zaehnsdorf (1814–1886).

This work served Berkeley’s intentions of communicating the sum of his philosophical writings presented in New Theory of Vision and Principles of Human Knowledge in a more accessible and literary form: the dialogue. Luce believed that the dialogues “had a greater success than the Principles, and undoubtedly made an impression.” (qtd. in Keynes 27).

The Dublin and London editions of A Miscellany (1752) will also interest scholars, especially for containing the first printings of Berkeley’s “Verses on the Prospect of Planting Arts and Learning in America”. The poem was originally received by Sir John Percival in a letter from Berkeley dated 10 February 1725/6 and some changes of interest are to be found in the printed versions (Keynes 252). Another edition of A Miscellany also contains penciled marginalia from Luce on De Motu, an essay in Latin on ideas of motion composed while Berkeley was visiting France in 1720/1. The Miscellany also contains Berkeley’s work from the period before the Bermuda College Scheme, including a tract titled, “An Essay Towards Preventing the Ruin of Great-Britain”(1721). Written in the aftermath of the South Sea Affair (1720), the tract proclaims Britain’s moral and economic decline while offering modes of redress. Berkeley mounts a scathing attack on the preference for trade over religion arguing that luxury and speculation have gripped the British nation leaving little space for honest industry. The tracts provide useful context for an analysis of Berkeley’s motivations when embarking on the Bermuda project.

 The Hesburgh Library has added gradually to the collection, including the significant arrival in December 2020, of Luce’s own copy of the Philosophical Commentaries published as a limited edition in 1943 as well as two hand-written folio volumes of transcription and notes.

Luce Notebook

The notes were the basis for Philosophical Commentaries, Luce’s version of Berkeley’s Commonplace Book. He styled the work as Philosophical Commentaries with the conviction that Berkeley’s text was less a standalone book of meditations and more a set of commentaries on previous writings. While critical opinion is often divided on Luce’s theorization about the existence of such previous work and on the status of the Commentaries as a text, the editio diplomatica is invaluable for capturing the vitality of Berkeley’s philosophical meditations. Luce held that the almost nine-hundred philosophical notes divided between two Notebooks (A and B) were composed by Berkeley in a short duration in 1707– as a “living and growing thing…a great system of thought in the making” (Preface, vii). The work was undoubtedly a workshop for the mature ideas that found their way into the New Theory of Vision as well as the Principles of Human Knowledge. As a diplomatic edition, it ventures to replicate in typography all essential features of the original Notebooks Berkeley composed as a young, ambitious scholar in his early twenties.

Luce’s Philosophical Commentaries brings alive Berkeley’s process of thinking and composition: giving the reader unparallelled access to his hesitations, doubts, habits of thought, doubts as he set about crafting his case against materialism. For instance, Luce notes the specificity of Berkeley’s use of capital letters in the notebooks: “…Berkeley uses the capital to express anti-thesis, stress, subtle shades of meaning, or turns of thought; one can often see the purport of an entry by a glance at its capitals, and the fairly systematic change of idea into Idea is decisive on certain textual questions.” (Introduction, xv).

Luce’s edition was aimed at the urgent correction of Berkeley’s status in the canons of philosophy: he specifically aimed to correct the notion, cultivated and propagated by A.C. Fraser’s work on Berkeley, that the philosopher was an “…ill-read young man from a semi-barbarous country, who in the ardor of youth hurried into print with an immature argument” (Preface, viii). Luce was determined to persuade readers through the diplomatic edition that Berkeley’s philosophy was carefully considered and systematized, even theorizing the existence of a prior work upon which Berkeley had been commentating in these notebooks. As Luce states of the notebooks, “[they are] systematic and highly particularized, comments focused upon a complex argument for immaterialism which was present in outline in Berkeley’s mind for some time before he began to fill the notebooks” (ix). Luce strove to reform scholarly consensus about the notebooks from impromptu, haphazard utterances into a precise record of an intermediate but pivotal stage of Berkeley’s philosophical progress.

Luce’s editorial work and criticism was instrumental in radically reconstructing the twentieth-century’s view of the Irish philosopher. Luce’s Berkeley collection will appeal to Berkeley scholars as well as all researchers interested in rigorous editorial practices.