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Letter from Charles Crawford to R. B. McKerrow

140 Carlingford Road, West Green, N.—Thanks him for the volumes of reprints, and refers to the probable source of a story in Greenes Newes.


140 Carlingford Road, West Green, N.

Dear Mr McKerrow,

Messrs Sidgwick and Jackson sent me last night copies of your Greenes Newes and Weever’s Epigrams, and I thank you for them. I’ve been hunting about to find a repetition, with additions, of that story re Margery and her mother, told in Greenes Newes, p. 35, ll. 8–19, but have lost the trail for the moment, although it is not long since I read it. But it will come to me some time, and may prove to be of some use. I have an idea now it is to be found in “Apophthegms deliv-ered at severall times and upon severall occasions by K. James, King Charles, the Marquess of Worcester, Francis Lord Bacon, and Sir Thomas More,” a work published in 1658. I had to examine the work a little while ago for Mr Bullen, and found it to be a fraudulent and wretched piece of hack-work, with very little in it that was new. If you are going to publish any more of those old pamphlets, I hope you will let me have proofs, not because I wish to be mentioned in your reprints, but because I like to keep my hand in and my memory from getting rusty. I’d much rather you did not mention my name in your notes, for they are not worth such recognition; and it is a real pleasure for me to find that sometimes what I notice is of some little use.

Yours very truly
Charles Crawford


Formerly inserted in McKerrow’s copy of his own edition of Greenes Newes both from Heauen and Hell, 1593 and Greenes Funeralls, 1594 (two texts in one volume) (1911) (Adv. c. 25. 82).

Copy of a letter from R. B. McKerrow to R. W. Chapman

Picket Piece, Wendover, Bucks.—Repeats his suggestion that the lectures on elementary bibliography he gave for many years at King’s College, London, might make a useful introductory book. If Chapman agrees, he will begin revising them while he is on holiday.

(Typed transcript. The original was sent to R. W. Chapman with the original of Add. MS. a. 355/6/1a and the text of ‘Elements of Bibliography’ (perhaps Add. MS. a. 355/6/2b).)




Picket Piece, Wendover, Bucks.
14th July 1939.

Dear Chapman,

You may remember that when I saw you at Oxford in March, or thereabouts, I mentioned a short series of lectures on very elementary bibliography that I had been in the habit of giving at King’s College, London, for many years past and that I thought might, if printed, be a useful introduction for people who don’t want to go far with the subject, and also perhaps for the beginnings of librarianship course (most of which are said to be very bad—far from clear and too full of detail). The stuff had become unreadable through much alteration, and so I had it typed. The idea is that if you think there is the making of a little book in the lectures (price 4/– or so), I will take them away when I go for a holiday and see about improving them—the stuff can mostly be done without books. It could be done very quickly if I felt like it, and would not interfere with anything else. The main point is (if you think it worth publishing)—should the lecture style be entirely abolished, i.e. should I turn ‘Always be careful not to mix up …’ into ‘Care should be taken not to confuse …’ or ‘to differentiate between …’ Personally I see no harm in the former. Of course one has to explain a lot that one makes clear in a lecture by showing things, but I think I have already put in most of these necessary explanations.

If you don’t want the stuff, do you think that publication elsewhere could damage your rights in the ‘Introduction to Bibliography’? I dare say Sidgwick and Jackson would do it if you would rather not, but of course this would only be if you did not think it could harm the larger book.

I need hardly say that if you approve of the book in general I should be very glad of any comments or suggestions for improvement.

Yours sincerely,
(Signed) R. B. McKerrow

P.S. | Just going to Cliftonville for a fortnight (for health, no other reason!). Am not well, but think I now see a chance of improvement, perhaps cure.


At the head is the reference ‘P.12977’.

Letter from E. M. Forster to R. C. Trevelyan

Harnham, Monument Green, Weybridge. - Forster's plans are disturbed as his aunt has not been well enough to have him and his mother to stay. Would like to come and see Trevelyan. Has just been to stay with E. H. Young near Marlborough and then walked to the White Horse, Wantage, and Goring along the Icknield Way. Sidgwick and Jackson are interested in publishing his short stories; they suggest illustrations, which he does not want; he would though be happy with illustrated end-papers and asks if Fry likes his stories enough to design these. Sidgwick and Jackson's letters originally enclosed: 'Hellfellows' is 'an awful work of Housman's' ["All-fellows: Seven Legends of Lower Redemption," by Laurence Housman] which the publishers wanted Forster's work to resemble. 'Marguerite was well rid of Mat' [Matthew Arnold]. Does not think Stokoe's idea to take a BA degree and teach a good one.

Letter from E. M. Forster to R. C. Trevelyan

Harnham, Monument Green, Weybridge. - Asks if her can come to stay from Wednesday to Friday, which means he will see [Donald] Tovey. Will visit his aunt on the way; asks if his visit can be kept quiet as surprise visits tire her less. Good news about Fry [that he is willing to design endpapers for "The Celestial Omnibus and other stories", see 3/22] but will do nothing until he hears from Sidgwick and Jackson again.

Draft of a letter from R. B. McKerrow to Kenneth Sisam

(Place of writing not indicated.)—Asks for more favourable terms than those offered.



Dear Mr Sisam,

I ought of course also to have replied to your letter of 17 Aug. concerning the Introduction to Bibliography, but I really wanted to do a bit of calculating & have never had time.

The terms you offer are not at all bad though I think we (Sidgwick & Jackson) should generally either have offered 15 from the start (for U.K.) or suggested a (probably unattainable) 20% after 2000 or 2500. (You could of course quite safely offer this provided no considerable changes are required in later impressions.)

But on the whole I do feel that you ought to be able to give a little more than 10% (on U.K. price) on the ‘Export’ & U.S.A. sales. As the book costs $6 in U.S.A. this is only 7½% on published price, which is really a very low figure for an expensive book. One can screw the American Publisher up to this on quite cheap editions when the margin must be very small. {1} I really feel that 10% on the U.S.A. price (which would be 13⅓ on the English one) should not be at all excessive. It makes of course some difference to me, as although many of the initial sales—single copies to Libraries etc. {2}—would come through English agents, it seems probable that if, as I hope, the book is used more or less as a text book for advanced students in the American Universities, the later orders will mostly come through your American house.

Besides ‘Export’ other than to U.S.A. is (strictly between ourselves as publishers) a bit of a fraud. We at any rate—and I suppose you also—give no better terms to exporters than we do to wholesalers in England, so there is really no reason for a smaller royalty. I admit that the bulk of Export will no doubt be U.S.A., but there will certainly be some to the {3} & India & the Colonies—and perhaps a few to European countries.

I should be glad if you would consider these points.


{1} Full stop substituted for a comma, which is followed in the original by, ‘though I admit that they don’t want to pay more than 5%.’ struck through.

{2} Probable reading. The succeeding dash has been supplied.

{3} Followed by ‘Colonies’ struck through. This word should also have been deleted.

Letters and papers relating to the Review of English Studies

The papers listed under this head relate to the establishment and early progress of the Review of English Studies (RES), a quarterly journal founded by McKerrow in 1924 (the first number was dated January 1925, but it was issued during the preceding month).

Before the RES was founded the only periodical in England dealing with English studies was the Modern Language Review (MLR), of which, however, only about a third was given to English. But the idea of a journal devoted solely to the subject had been canvassed for some time. G. C. Moore Smith, editor of the MLR’s English section, had previously suggested publishing that section separately, while Percy Simpson had proposed an Oxford Journal of English Studies, and the Clarendon Press, perhaps in connection with Simpson’s proposal, had entered into discussions with members of the English Association; but none of these ideas had borne fruit.

McKerrow, as managing director of Sidgwick & Jackson, took up the idea towards the end of 1923, and began contacting interested parties. In view of the fact that the new journal must necessarily affect the one already in being, one of his first actions was to write to his friend Moore Smith, who forwarded the letter to J. G. Robertson, the MLR’s founder and chief editor. Receiving only encouragement from these sources, McKerrow began assembling an advisory board to oversee the projected publication, a task accomplished partly with the help of the indefatigable E. K. Chambers, whose monumental study The Elizabethan Stage had just been published. In due course a prospectus was drafted and printed, and contributors for the first issue were gathered. Some slight irritation was apparently felt by representatives of the Clarendon Press, who in previous discussions with the English Association had been given to understand that they would be consulted if the idea of an English studies journal were revived, but the matter appears to have been smoothed over amicably enough.

The first issue of the journal was received with general approval, but after a few months the number of subscriptions remained insufficient to finance publication for more than a year or two, and in April 1925 the publishers issued a circular and prospectus (A3/34–35) explaining the situation and soliciting further subscriptions. The subsequent rise in the number of subscriptions was large enough to keep the publication in being, but a few years later it became necessary to issue another appeal, a draft of which is preserved here (A3/39). At the time of this appeal, the date of which is uncertain, the steady increase in the number of reviews included in the journal had compelled the publishers to reduce the space given to articles, and in order to rectify this situation it was necessary to increase the number of pages, which in turn required a larger number of subscribers. It was proposed, therefore, that certain classes of persons—current students of English, recent graduates, and departmental staff under the rank of professor—should be offered the Review at a reduced subscription. Another appeal was issued in 1934, asking the journal’s well-wishers to help to obtain an additional one hundred subscribers, in order that the size of the journal might be increased from 128 pages to 160 (see Pam. c. 90. 75).

Letter to Frank Sidgwick from R. B. McKerrow

Sidgwick & Jackson, 3 Adam Street, Adelphi, London, W.C.—Returns the ‘Chanson du Synge (or Synge-Swan-Song)’, together with McKerrow’s play ‘Justice’, which he will think about further while on holiday.

Letter from G. C. Moore Smith to R. B. McKerrow

[Sheffield.]—Comments on passages in the Works of Nashe. Is thinking of publishing extracts from Gabriel Harvey’s marginalia.

(With envelope, postmarked at Sheffield.)



13 Nov. 1908

Dear McKerrow,

I have been turning over the pages of your Vol IV—It is indeed a marvellous storehouse of out of the way information. Are you going to provide an Index? I suppose so.

At this stage comments are of no use to you—but I will give you one or two. {1}

I 183. 17. In the expression ‘S. Nicholas Clerks’ is it clear that there is any reference to the devil? Chambers Book of Days II p 661 bot. explains the phrase in relation to a legend of St Nicholas.—On the other hand our ‘Old Nick’ is often said to be a name transferred to the Devil from Macchiavelli.

(Your page of Vol IV) 141. mid. {2} ‘at the university town of which’ should be ‘at the university of which town’ I suppose.

I p. 274. 21. I dont understand what you mean by saying the real point of the saying against ropemakers has not been explained.—Do you mean their ‘walking backwards’? In a little book I have on Trades &c. (titlepage lost) the ropemaker, it is said, fixes the hemp to his wheel—‘He then runs backwards giving out hemp as he goes!’ {3}

I 285. 21. {4} Better to have said ‘a pedant’ or ‘a scholastic philosopher’ as Pedantius himself is also a pedant, indeed, as a Schoolmaster, a pedant par excellence.

II 184 11. {5} In his MS. notes on Gascoigne’s ‘Notes of instruction on rime. &c’ in the Bodleian copy Harvey dissents from Gascoigne’s approval of monosyllables ‘the more monosyllables you shall use the truer Englishman you shall seem’—‘Non placet. A great Grace and Majesty in longer Wordes, so they be current Inglish. Monosyllables ar good to make up a hobling and hudling verse.’ {6}

III. 16. 10. If you mean St John’s College, Camb.—the Visitor at present is The Bishop of Ely. & he was so from the foundation of the College [without any break I imagine] {7}

III 41. 35 arsedine. {8} Edward Carpenter {9} was telling me the other day that Sheffield grinders say (or did till lately) ‘as thin as an assidine’ tho’ none of them know what an assidine is

III 43 14. There is a well known inn between Whittlesey & Thorney called ‘The dog in a doublet’ with a sign. An uncle of mine had a seizure on the ice & died there.

III 46. 6. The DNB. says that Harvey practised in the Court of Arches I think. I had thought there was some authority—but I dont remember it.

III 116 33. Our Johnian antiquary Thos. Baker has transcribed a lot of notes of Harvey made in a copy of his own Ciceronianus & other books—Among them a letter from Tho. Hatcher remonstrating with him for not having mentioned Haddon in his Ciceronianus—also Harvey’s reply. both in Latin Hatcher’s letter is 23 Nov 1577 and refers to Harvey’s having recently visited him at Careby near Stamford.

III 126 31. {10} Cp. Pedantius l. 194. At occuritur Aristotelem non vidisse verum in spirituali-bus.

I have been looking through my extracts from Harvey’s marginalia—& I believe they would make a very interesting book for a limited audience. {11} One might start with a sketch of Harvey’s life & character, & attainments, as illustrated by the marginalia—& then print a selection of marginalia from each annotated book of his that I have been able to see. It occurred to me today that it would be very nice if Sidgwick & his partner {12} would do it. But I should not wish to involve Sidgwick in any loss over it.

Thank you for your letter about the English Association. {13} Boas is Secretary. It is like the Mod. Language Association, but for English only.

I hope when you have finished with Nashe, you will start an edition of Dekker’s plays.

Ever yours
G. C. Moore Smith

I shall look forward eagerly to your Vol V.

[Added on the back of the envelope:] Ellis has just sent me the Harvey book to copy the notes. Not of much importance.

[Direction on envelope:] R. B. McKerrow Esq. | 4 Phoenix Lodge Mansions | Brook Green | Hammersmith | London W


The envelope was postmarked at Sheffield at 11 a.m. on 14 November 1908, and at Paddington, W, at 5.15 p.m. the same day. Besides the note by Moore Smith mentioned above, the envelope is marked ‘Work | From Prof G. C. Moore-Smith’, and elsewhere ‘See to this’.

{1} The succeeding notes relate to Nashe’s works Pierce Penilesse, Strange Newes, Christ’s Teares over Jerusalem, and Have With You to Saffron-Walden. Several of the suggestions were incorporated in the Errata and Addenda appended to the fifth volume of McKerrow’s edition; see below.

{2} Cf. Works of Nashe, v. 375 (note on i. 227, 3–239, 2).

{3} Closing inverted comma supplied.

{4} Cf. Works of Nashe, v. 376.

{5} Cf. Works of Nashe (1958), v. Supp., p. 32.

{6} Single inverted comma supplied in place of double inverted commas.

{7} The square brackets are original.

{8} See OED, s.v. ‘orsedue’.

{9} Edward Carpenter lived at Millthorpe, between Sheffield and Chesterfield. See ODNB.

{10} Cf. Works of Nashe, v. 379.

{11} Moore Smith’s selection of Gabriel Harvey’s Marginalia was published in 1913.

{12} R. C. Jackson. The firm of Sidgwick & Jackson had only just been established, on the 2nd of the month.

{13} The English Association was founded in 1906 by a small group of English teachers and scholars including F. S. Boas, A. C. Bradley, and Israel Gollancz.