The Hesburgh Libraries recently acquired the papers of Irish writer Patrick McCabe. A leading Irish writer and former Distinguished Keough Visiting Professor at Notre Dame, McCabe has received much recognition for his novels, short stories, plays and film scripts.
Patrick McCabe was born in County Monaghan in 1955. For over thirty years he has been at the forefront of the Irish literary scene. Two of his novels, The Butcher Boy and Breakfast on Pluto have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize and have been adapted for film. McCabe’s fictional settings are the small towns of the Irish midlands, a setting that he has made his own, to the extent that his writing has been called “Bog Gothic”.
His papers, now held in Hesburgh Libraries Special Collections, include notebooks, early drafts, later drafts, papers relating to films, financial papers from publishers, correspondence, song lyrics, photographs and newspaper clippings. A preliminary organization has taken place, and thanks to the work of Amanda Bohne and Finola Prendergast, it is anticipated that the papers will be available for scholars to consult by 2016.
A curious hieroglyphick Bible, or, Select passages in the Old and New Testaments, represented with emblematical figures, for the amusement of youth: designed chiefly to familiarize tender age, in a pleasing and diverting manner, with early ideas of the Holy Scriptures: to which are subjoined, a short account of the lives of the Evangelists, and other pieces: illustrated with nearly five hundred cuts. Worcester, Massachusetts: Isaiah Thomas, 1788.
Isaiah Thomas’s hieroglyphic Bible of 1788 is both a landmark piece of American children’s literature and a newly ambitious use of woodcut illustration in an American printed book. The idea of a hieroglyphic Bible, in which select scriptural passages were presented in a combination of words and images, was consistent with Thomas’s interest in works for children that simultaneously instructed and amused. He based his book on an English edition first published in 1783. In his preface—dedicated to the “parents, guardians, and governesses of the [newly constituted] United States of America”—Thomas notes the “considerable expense” involved in commissioning the hundreds of woodcuts that fill the book. Some of these, to the modern eye at least, seem a bit opaque; fortunately, Thomas printed the full text of each passage at the foot of the page. The present copy is a first edition, with all of its pages intact. It was acquired by the Libraries in January 2015.
This exhibition highlights the variety of medieval liturgical manuscripts and fragments housed in the University of Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Library which contain music. The manuscripts featured date from the eleventh through fifteenth century, and originate from various regions in France, Germany, Austria, and Italy. Some examples represent specific uses such as Carthusian monks or Dominican nuns. Other manuscripts in this exhibit were recovered from book bindings and serve as examples of older practices which may no longer exist in complete manuscripts.
While the etchings from this book are well-known, both as framed reproductions and from the 1978 Dolmen Press edition, original editions, with their large and detailed prints, are very uncommon.
James Malton accompanied his father, an English architectural draughtsman, to Ireland and was employed for a time by the famous architect James Gandon, who was then working on Dublin’s Custom House. He was dismissed and later worked on a series of drawings of Dublin buildings, first published in six parts between 1792 and 1799 and later, in 1799, published in one volume.