Another wonderful insight into week two of the London Rare Books School (LRBS), Purbasha Auddy, PhD Researcher at the School of Cultural Texts and Records at Jadavpur University, India, looks into an Introduction to Bibliography.

“The London Rare Books School 2017 course ‘Introduction to Bibliography’ taught me how to discern and define the making of the book, step-by-step. My understanding of bibliography has been derived from my job experience where I archive, digitise and document Bengali cultural material and create digital archives such as the online variorum of Rabindranath Tagore’s work. By taking this course I got to know about the various kinds of bibliographies and their purposes which broadened my understanding of creating bibliographies.

I did my presentation on the final day of the course on George Puttenham’s The Arte of English Poesie. Senate House Library has a rare first edition of the work from 1589. Prior to this course, I had only handled centuries’ old Bengali printed material. Bengali fonts came into print only in 1778. It was really quite an experience for me dealing with much older books, from the sixteenth century. The classes were quite interactive and gave us an opportunity to be made more aware of the physicality of books. Dr. Andrew Zurcher designed the classes in such a way that the topics followed each other very smoothly. As a result, while I was doing my presentation on the last day, I found myself confident while preparing a quasi-facsimile title-page transcription of The Arte of English Poesie. There was an edition of this 1589 work in 1869 by Edward Arber under the English Reprints series. I also tried to decipher the editorial policies adopted by Edward Arber in 1869.

To sum it up, on the one hand we did book-mathematics and on the other hand we tried to investigate like a detective what was going on in the head of the printer’s devil!

I sincerely thank the bursary committee for providing me with the Sambrook Fund scholarship without which I would not have been able to join this course. As my professional work is in the field of documentation, this course is going to help me in the future for sure.”

We would like to thank Purbasha for her kind words on LRBS this year.