NASSR 16th Annual Conference, August 21 - 24, 2008

A Selection of Items from Rare Books and Special Collections at Victoria University Library on the Occasion of the 16th Annual Meeting of the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism at the University of Toronto, 21-24 August, 2008.

Organized by H. J. Jackson and PhD candidates from the Department of English, University of Toronto: Lindsey Eckert, Christopher Laxer, Nora Ruddock, and Rebecca Walker. Special thanks to Lisa Sherlock, Paul Wilson, and Roma Kail of the Pratt Library for logistical and curatorial support.

The exhibits on display during the Conference at the Pratt Library of Victoria University have been chosen to represent Romantic "diversity" in two senses of the word. In the common, broader sense, diversity is a synonym for variety, particularly within human populations, and we have taken this opportunity to show various political, social, and literary aspects of Romantic culture. In a more specialized sense as defined by the Conference Committee, the awareness of diversity represented a formidable challenge to explorers and thinkers of the time, when "abiding universality, unity, continuity, and totality confronted the consciousness of variety, otherness, difference, and divergence." Inner intellectual and emotional struggles have their place here as well.

We have drawn on two collections of international importance housed at Victoria University, the Coleridge Collection associated with Kathleen Coburn, who taught here, and the Blake Collection recently donated by Drs. E. B. Bentley and G. E. Bentley, Jr.  To these we have added items of interest from several smaller collections, notably Baxter, Frye, and Jones.

Cover Image
Engraved by William Blake from a drawing by J.G. Stedman.
J.G. Stedman. Narrative of a Five Years’ Expedition against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam, in Guiana.
London: J. Johnson, 1796