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Studies in bibliography 50v.

Charlottesville, Va.: Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia, 1997. 416 p.; $40 U.S. ISBN 0-8139-1731-X.

In 1997 the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. To mark this occasion, Studies in Bibliography has published an expanded issue, featuring a history of the Society and its publications, in addition to a full complement of articles.

David L. Vander Meulen, current editor of Studies, presents a detailed and interesting history of the Society. The lectures sponsored by the Society, the exhibitions, the prizes awarded to Virginia printers and to University of Virginia student book collectors, have been local initiatives. But the Society's membership has always been international, and the influence of its publications undeniably so. Vander Meulen appends a bibliography of Society publications (some 285 items), along with a personal name index. He also includes reproductions of significant Society documents and photographs of prominent council members. Among the photographs is a charming snapshot of Fredson Bowers in his orchard, flanked by two children whose arms overflow with daffodils.

Of all the Society's publications, none has enjoyed greater international influence than Studies in Bibliography. G. Thomas Tanselle, the most frequent and lengthy contributor to Studies, traces the development of the journal and emphasizes the importance of Fredson Bowers' editorship. A tireless and meticulous editor, Bowers continually sought out worthy contributions for Studies, encouraging both established scholars and promising students to submit their work. Though focussing on analytical bibliography, the journal published bibliographical work on any genre and time-period, and researchers from all countries were invited to contribute. Bowers welcomed lengthy articles, as long as their quality was high, and he readily published opinions with which he did not agree, if the author's scholarship was sound. Tanselle quotes numerous contributors who were grateful and flattered by the detailed, sympathetic attention that their articles received at Bowers' hands. And he mentions others, no less pleased, who were amazed to see their ideas clarified and extended in ways they had not dreamed possible.

David Vander Meulen, who shared editorial duties with Bowers for eight years, became sole editor of Studies in Bibliography after Bowers' death in 1991. Under his direction, the journal has become available on the World Wide Web -- an extraordinarily generous initiative. To accompany Tanselle's account, David L. Gants and Elizabeth K. Lynch have prepared an author index to Studies.

These two articles, with their accompanying bibliographies and indexes, form an interesting and valuable account of the Society and journal that have shaped the course of analytical bibliography over the last fifty years.


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Publication:Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 22, 1998
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