FLORENCE, S.C. -- For 11 years, Emily Lorraine de Montluzin, professor of history at Francis Marion University, has been conducting investigative work into the world of English literature and history.
Her work, discovering the identity of anonymous authors whose writings appeared in the Gentleman’s Magazine (GM) in 18th-century England and editing the work of others who have compiled names of some authors, has led to the publication of her third bibliography on the subject. The latest publication, 727 pages of browsable, on-line materials, has been published electronically by the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia, and is accessible at the Society’s Web site, http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/bsuva.
Professor de Montluzin has chronologically listed 13,950 attributions of authorship in this volume, following 4, 000 identifications and 1,850 identifications in her two previous works. The bibliography, Attributions of Authorship in the “Gentleman’s Magazine”: An Electronic Version of James M. Kuist’s “The Nichols File of the ‘Gentleman’s Magazine,’” edited by de Montluzin, is the latest in her research.
During the 18th century, de Montluzin says, it was considered by some to be shameful to write for the press. Anonymity and pseudonyms protected writers’ identities. Her top-notch sleuthing skills, and understanding of the times and the historical significance of the writings, have helped her to discover the identities of many authors, an undertaking she compares to breaking a code. Her most recent volume is an online version of Kuist’s The Nichols File of the “Gentleman’s Magazine,” and offers researchers easy electronic access to 13,950 attributions of authorship in the GM.
The de Montluzin edition of Kuist’s earlier work is “key-word searchable” by author, title, subject, date, volume and page reference, and author’s pseudonymous signature (where applicable). Also, each citation has been carefully corrected and expanded to include full proper names (where possible), entire titles of books referenced in book-review entries, and inserted phrases to clarify subject matter and enhance searchability.
Her online version of Kuist’s Nichols File consists of three divisions, a chronological listing of attributions of authorship followed by two indices: an authorial index (a listing of the contributions of authors identified in Kuist, providing whenever possible contributor’s birth and death dates, as well as occupations) and an index of the more than 1,000 pseudonyms, sets of initials, and symbols used as signatures by the magazine’s contributors. Upon publication in 1992, Kuist’s Nichols File became an indispensable starting point for GM research. It provided a one-volume printed list of many of the authors of previously anonymous articles, reviews, poems, and items appearing in the GM from its founding by Edward Cave in 1731, until 1856, when the descendants of John Nichols, the GM’s longtime editor, gave up financial and editorial control of the magazine.
Kuist’s work was limited to attributions recorded in marginal annotations in the staff copy of the GM (now housed in the Folger Library) by various members of the Nichols family in their efforts to reconstruct their files of the Magazine following a disastrous fire in 1808.
“Unfortunately, the annotators were inconsistent in their efforts, erroneously listing some identifications of authorship and failing to record many others,” de Montluzin says. The GM is significant for researching and understanding 18th and early 19th-century British history, literature, science, theology, economics, art and architecture, classical studies, travel, antiquarian matters, and related fields.
E-searches (looking up keyword searches through Internet access of the World Wide Web) are a revolution in scholarship, de Montluzin says. Her work is offered free to the world, through the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia website. She receives research inquiries from around the world regarding her work and what she has been able to decipher. In the first seven months that her previous GM databases were on the Web, the society logged more than 2,600 accesses from researchers in 32 countries.
De Montluzin’s latest electronic bibliography joins her two earlier works of attributions of authorship in the GM, her 1996 Attributions of Authorship in the “Gentleman’s Magazine,” 1731-1868: A Supplement to Kuist, and her 1997 database, Attributions of Authorship in the “Gentleman’s Magazine,” 1731-1868: A Synthesis of Finds Appearing Neither in Kuist’s “Nichols File” nor in de Montluzin’s “Supplement to Kuist.”
In addition to her work on the GM, de Montluzin, a specialist in 18th- and early-19th-century British press history, has published The Anti-Jacobins, 1798-1800: The Early Contributors to the “Anti-Jacobin Review” (London: Macmillan P, 1988) and articles concerning other English periodicals of the Georgian era.