miscellany

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miscellany

a miscellaneous collection of essays, poems, etc., by different authors in one volume
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The antiquarian book miscellanies produced and theorized by D'Israeli--thickly printed, crowded, ever-expanding--attest not so much to the transparency and rationality of modern historical time as to its density and multiplicity.
Central to the project of these miscellanies is the reiterated but elusive term "literary curiosity," whose task it is both to keep in play this thickness of discursive possibility and to ensure that "literature" itself remains a capacious category.
The Contents of the Curiosities dramatically shift and alter, as do those of other collections such as the original Miscellanies, while a text like An Essay on the Literary Character undergoes very substantial revision between initial publication in 1795 and final revision in 1840.
It is thus not surprising to find him commending painters of antiquity for designating their works via "imperfect inscriptions, and half designations": "They marked them by imperfect inscriptions, and half designations; as thus--Appelles was doing this picture; Polycletus was sculpturing this image, as if they were but begun, and never could be finished by their hands" ("Of Miscellanies," Literary Miscellanies 75).
Warnings against trusting boys and old men are unusual in the miscellanies, but those against women abound and prove the most popular topic.
Women figure in Paradise, as in most of the other mid-century miscellanies, as the double sign of success and betrayal, embodying the desirable glamour of courtly and social success, but also the contemporary fear of loss of male self-mastery.
The prudent self-sufficiency advocated as a remedy against love reappears as praise of the political and social 'mean' (that is, the middling) estate in poems that warn against ambition, a theme ubiquitous in the mid-century miscellanies.
The type of the false woman throughout the mid-century miscellanies is Cressida.
Printed miscellanies sold for 1s 6d or less: they were cheap, popular, commercial.
References to printed miscellanies in plays, for instance, depict readers from a non-elite social stratum.
Extant manuscript marginalia in miscellanies similarly imply readers drawn from a wide cross-section, in terms of gender, age, location, and education.
Yet printed miscellanies themselves also recognized this wide audience, and as a result, introductions and title-pages lurch between evocations of the exclusive, and more candid addresses to the commercially desirable mass reader.