Thursday, July 7, 2011

Camden Society Volumes: Colourful diaries, accounts, letters and papers from 'eminent' people

TannerRitchie has today published 6 new volumes from the Camden Society, incorporating an even more than usually colourful collection of letters, diaries, papers and accounts.

Today's publications include:

The Private Diary of Dr John Dee: Renaissance mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, occultist, navigator, imperialist, and subject of Damon Albarn's opera which premiered on July 1st, 2011. A true renaissance man, Dee's seriousness as a mathemetician should not be overshadowed (well, maybe just a bit) by the fact that he spent the last thirty years of his life trying to commune with angels.

Plumpton Correspondence. A series of letters written in the reigns of Edward IV, Richard III, Henry VII & Henry VIII: An edition of the correspondence of a medieval aristocratic family from Northumberland - one of the few collections of letters from that period, covering everything from high politics and war with Scotland, to the weather.

Letters of the Earl of Perth to his Sister: A collection of letters between the earl and his sister that begins with a gripping and detailed account of the earl and his wife's attempt to flee Scotland in disguise, and through deep snow, after the deposition of James VII and II (the last Stuart king) in 1688. The earl's ship was caught in the Firth of Forth, and he was imprisoned until 1693. The letters continue until after the earl was eventually freed on condition that he went into exile, whereupon he joined the Jacobite court at St Germain. The sympathy towards the earl's predicament is somewhat mitigated by the fact that he introduced the thumbscrew to Scotland.

Egerton Papers: Letters from the reigns of Henry VII to James I.

Accounts and Papers Relating to Mary Queen of Scots: Primarily containing the accounts of the expense incurred by the queen's imprisonment in England, the expenses on her funeral, and Queen Elizabeth's 'Justification' for her treatment of Queen Mary.

Letters of Eminent Literary Men (1542-1799): A typical collection of colourful letters, but this time all written by men with some connection to literature or the arts. Two such letters were written by John Stubbs, a pampleteer and political commentator, sent from the Tower of London, where he was imprisoned by Queen Elizabeth for sedition. The letters were written with his left hand, because he had been sentenced to have his right hand cut off with a butcher's knife and mallet. According to Wikipedia: 'Immediately before the public dismemberment, Stubbs delivered a shocking pun: "Pray for me now, my calamity is at hand." His right hand having been cut off, he removed his hat with his left, and cried "God Save the Queen!" before fainting.'