Site Rationale and Further Development

The impressive collection of British literary annuals at the University of Toronto remained hidden until now. Almost all of the volumes in this exhibition were acquired for reasons not directly related to literary annuals as a genre. For example, most of the volumes from the E.J. Pratt Library were collected to develop further the Library’s substantial holdings related to Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Blake. Thus, the Library has two copies of the Remember Me! for 1825 because they each contain a print by Blake. Similarly, the Robertson Davies Library at Massey College has a large collection dedicated to nineteenth-century bindings. Unsurprisingly, literary annuals’ implementation of novel binding materials and techniques made them valuable to the Library’s focus.

An implicit argument that this resource makes is that the value we place on books—why we classify them as "important" or "canonical"—must necessarily be open to adaptation. If we are unwilling to question or even resist established classifications and interpretations of collected materials then we may miss exciting, important connections. This exhibition seeks to look beyond the reasons for which these volumes were initially acquired and prized; however, I am also aware that the cases I have organized here represent my own scholarly bias. There are other ways this material could be categorized and presented.

I am currently re-encoding the website according to the Text Encoding Initiative Guidelines and inputting robust metadata about each artefact displayed here. I am developing an interactive option, "Create a Case", that will use this metadata. Users will be able to create their own virtual cases based on different key search terms such as authors, engravers, binding materials, inscription plates, and marginalia. "Create a Case" will allow users to establish their own connections and make discoveries about how these materials relate to each other.

About Me

I am a PhD Candidate in English and the Collaborative Program in Book and Print Culture at the University of Toronto. Currently, I am completing my dissertation, "Romantic Authorship and the Failures of Familiarity, 1784-1834," which argues that familiarity was a cultural value central to literary production and reception in the Romantic period.

I am also a Course Instructor in the English Department and the University's undergraduate program in Book and Media Studies, where I teach bibliography and media history. For two years I worked as the Teaching Fellow at the Massey College Printing Press, where I worked with and gave demonstrations on nineteenth-century iron hand-presses.


Lindsey Eckert

PhD Candidate

Department of English

Collaborative Program in Book History & Print Culture

University of Toronto

Email: Lindsey[dot]Eckert[at]utoronto[dot]ca

How to cite this resource using MLA style
Eckert, Lindsey.  "Nineteenth-Century British Literary Annuals:  An Online Exhibition of Materials from the University of Toronto."  
[Date Accessed]: <[complete URL]>
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Copyright © 2009 Lindsey Eckert.
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Last updated September 2012