George Eliot's 'Greek Vocabulary' Notebook' (c. 1873) as Commodity and Rare ArtefactShow full item record
George Eliot's 'Greek Vocabulary' Notebook' (c. 1873) as Commodity and Rare Artefact
Hughes, Linda K.
The material object on which this essay focuses, a notebook bound in leather (originally with blank pages), is one of thousands sold by stationers and others in the later decades of the nineteenth century. It is unique, however, as the undated notebook that George Eliot kept while she was reading Greek poets. In it she wrote out Greek vocabulary words from Sappho, Homer, Theocritus, and others, sometimes accompanied by translations, brief comments, or metrical notations. The notebook has hitherto eluded documentation or acknowledgement by other George Eliot scholars, and one purpose of the article is to rectify this omission. More particularly, the essay assesses the merits of approaching such a material object as a commodified authorial tool and as a rare artefact that illuminates the career of a canonical British author. The essay additionally sheds light on women authors' study of classical Greek in the 1870s and 1880s, offers an informal description (and four images) of the notebook's textual contents and inks, and explains the historical route by which the notebook arrived at Special Collections, Mary Couts Burnett Library, Texas Christian University, in Fort Worth, Texas.