<i>In The News:</i> Shakespearean Gifts & Thefts, a Gift Gone Wrong, Abe's Top 10
By Michael Stillman
UCLA's Clark Library was the recipient of a major Shakespeare collection. Valued at just under $2 million, it is the largest gift ever received by UCLA's rare book library. It was the gift of Paul Chrzanowski, a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a 20-plus year Shakespeare collector. However, the collection is not limited to works of the bard himself, but includes many books that likely influenced Shakespeare as he prepared his own works.
There are the first and second volumes of Holinshed's Chronicles, published in 1587. This is where Shakespeare learned much of the English history used in his plays, notably MacBeth. There is a 1603 first English translation of the works of French philosopher Michel de Montaigne. This translation is credited with adding hundreds of new words to the English vocabulary, such as "miraculous," "scandalous," adulterous," and "depraved," words that worked their way into Shakespeare's plays. Another title in the collection is an English translation of the Italian work Rhomeo and Julietta, and it is not hard to guess which Shakespeare play was based on this item. Additionally, there are some works by Shakespeare himself, including a 1619 quarto of Henry the Sixth, and a Fourth Folio, published in 1685.
In totally unrelated Shakespearean news, Raymond Scott, accused thief of the Durham University (UK) copy of Shakespeare's First Folio, has had his trial date set. It will begin on June 14, 2010, and could last for many weeks. Scott is the man who showed up at the Folger Library in Washington, D.C., with a First Folio he claimed to have received from a Cuban family, but which an "expert" hired by the Folger identified as the Durham copy. The colorful Scott has denied all charges. He arrived for his first court hearing in a stretch limousine, and for the second one in a carriage, dressed in a kilt and sipping Drambuie with his attractive "research assistant." This time, Scott arrived in the most proper of attire, a sharp looking dark suit, blue tie, striped shirt, gray raincoat, bowler hat, umbrella and attaché case. Scott knows how to make a dramatic appearance, but he will still have to give the performance of his life next year when the courtroom becomes much more serious.
The New York State Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a university versus its donors in one of the uglier disputes in the world of libraries. Several years ago, Paul and Irene Bogoni pledged $2 million to St. Bonaventure University to construct a rare books addition to their library. Ground was broken in 2006, and construction began in 2007, but in 2008, $1.1 million into the project, the Bogonis sued the university, demanding a full accounting or refund of their money. Naturally, they discontinued further contributions to the project. The Bogonis believed it was running seriously over budget and they were not being told why. St. Bonaventure denied both claims. The New York court agreed with the university, refusing to return the Bogonis earlier contributions, and requiring they donate the remaining $900,000 of their pledge. One can guess that these large-scale donors are even less happy today with the recipients of their largesse. Meanwhile, construction has been completed on the new wing, which at least as of this moment, does not carry the Bogonis' name. The Bogonis still have the option to appeal this decision as in New York, the Supreme Court is only the second highest court.
AbeBooks has released its list of the top ten highest prices paid on their website during September: