Victorian Passions: An Exhibition and Symposium Honoring The Mark Samuels Lasner Collection at the University of Delaware Library


Geoffrey Chaucer, –1400, The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer Now Newly Imprinted. Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1895. Presentation copy from William Morris to Robert Catterson-Smith. Mark Samuels Lasner Collection, University of Delaware Library.

Geoffrey Chaucer, –1400, The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer Now Newly Imprinted. Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1895. Presentation copy from William Morris to Robert Catterson-Smith. Mark Samuels Lasner Collection, University of Delaware Library.

Starting 14 February, when walking up to the second floor of the University of Delaware’s Morris Library you will encounter a Kelmscott Chaucer; the copy of The Stones of Venice Ruskin gave to Thomas Carlyle; Anthony Trollope’s copy of Forster’s The Life of Charles Dickens; more than seven original Max Beerbohm caricatures; artwork by Aubrey Beardsley, Barbara Bodichon, Edward Burne-Jones, and Lizzie Siddall; association copies from writers such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Christina Rossetti, W.B. Yeats, Michael Field, and Oscar Wilde; and a stuffed toy wombat named Murdoch. These are just some of the items on display at the University of Delaware Library’s exhibition “Victorian Passions: Stories from the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection,” curated by Margaret D. Stetz, on view in the Special Collections Gallery, UD Library, from 14 February-3 June 2017.

Mark, a collector of Victorian books, manuscripts, and artworks, has recently donated his collection to the University of Delaware Library. This exhibition is occasioned by his donation. For more about the collection, please see https://library.udel.edu/msl-symposium-2017/exhibition/.

In addition to honoring this donation through the exhibition, the University is hosting a symposium, “Celebrating the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection: Rare Books and Manuscripts, Victorian Literature and Art,” 17-18 March 2017. Events start at 3pm on Friday and go until 4pm on Saturday. Elaine Showalter, the noted feminist scholar and critic, and Professor Emerita of English, Princeton University, will be the keynote speaker. Additional participants include Mark Dimunation (Library of Congress), Barbara Heritage (Rare Book School, University of Virginia), Edward Maggs (Maggs Bros. Ltd., London), Joseph Bristow (UCLA), Linda K. Hughes (Texas Christian University), Margaretta S. Frederick (Delaware Art Museum), William S. Peterson (Emeritus, University of Maryland), David Taylor (UK historian and author), and Margaret D. Stetz (University of Delaware).

The symposium’s talks fall into two main categories: a commentary on the significance of original printed sources, manuscripts and graphics, both in preserving and using them, and discussions of the Victorian writers and artists themselves. Joseph Bristow’s topic is Oscar Wilde’s library and what happened to it, Linda Hughes will comment on New Women writers of the period, and Margaret Stetz will also be giving an exhibition talk to open the symposium. A final panel will consider how the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection—and similar collections—can be of benefit for research, exhibition, and aesthetic pleasure.

More information, including online registration, will be available at https://library.udel.edu/msl-symposium-2017/. The symposium is free and open to all, so please join UD in celebrating Mark’s collection.

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