The System of Title Citation for Manuscripts
The Apparatus Page for each manuscript begins with a section, “Title,” which discusses the name of that manuscript—a more or less complicated topic,
depending on how many naming systems have been applied to the manuscript in question. The most familiar system historically,
and therefore the one adopted most pervasively in ERM
for hyperlinking purposes,
derives from W. G. Collingwood
ʼs bibliographical practice in
Another system derives from Ruskin
ʼs own practices of naming the manuscripts, whether in youth or old age.
Because neither of these practices was consistent and comprehensive, the traditions of naming the manuscripts require to be supplemented.
In youth, when Ruskin
was working with his manuscripts, his names for them tended to be either generic—as
in the term red book
which applied to a class of small, reddish‐brown bound notebooks used for the earliest juvenilia—or derived
from a work contained in the manuscript. For example, in March 1829
wrote to his father:
“I am trying to get that red book of mine which has the Monastery
in it finished, by the time you come home,”
referring both to MS III
a work, “The Monastery”
, included in the notebook.
The work, Ruskinʼs
versification of the novel by Walter Scott
, is not the most prominent piece contained in the Red Book
but it happened to be uppermost in Ruskinʼs
mind at the time.
In many of the initially blank, bound notebooks and ledgers that Ruskin
typically used to draft or fair copy his work—he
also used loose sheets of paper, or pamphlets folded and sewn by hand
(see Overview of Manuscripts
)—he dedicated the notebook initially to a major work,
for which he devised a decorated title page.
For example, MS I
, begin with volumes 1, 2, and 3,
respectively, of “Harry and Lucy”.
Presumably, in these cases,
referred to the manuscript by the title of its major work, using that title interchangeably
for the text of the work and for the physical manuscript witnessing its fair copy.
Thus, when Ruskin
announces in a 14 January 1832
letter that “Iteriad”
is at last finished, quite copied in, fairly dismissed,”
and that he has “put such a finis” with “innumerable flourishes with which it is decorated and the paper loaded
you would think there never was to be a beginning of that end,” he clearly means that he has “copied in” the work,
, into the bound notebook that Collingwood
would later designate as
, and “decorated” and “loaded” the “paper” of the physical object in order to celebrate
completion of the text of the poem. The title “Iteriad”
applied equally to the text of the poem and to its fair‐copy manuscript.
Such coterminous titles could not have been stable, however. We do not know what Ruskin
called the notebook containing the fair copy of
when, over time, he subjected this notebook,
like so many of his manuscripts, to additional uses. In this case, he followed
with a fair copy of a new, but never‐completed epic poem,
. Later, still more works were fair‐copied into this ledger.
Titles of manuscripts could shift with their uses. The handmade pamphlet now known as
shows “Vol 1” scrawled on the top right corner of its first recto.
The designation appears as an afterthought, inserted into a space next to the title of the first poem
of this little anthology. What the name of the manuscript means is obscure: other, complementary “volumes” may have existed,
but it is just as likely that the pamphlet only temporarily occupied the position of first in a putative series that remained only an idea.
Titles could also be kept deliberately open‐ended. On the first blank recto of the notebook now known as MS V
wrote the heading, “Miscellaneous Poetry,”
and numbered this recto as page 1. As a title for the anthology of poems contained in the notebook,
became intriguingly coterminous for both the text of the anthology and for the physical notebook containing the text,
inserted below Johnʼs
title the attribution,
“By J. Ruskin
from 10 years to 11 to 12 to [. . .] of age”—the ellipsis representing a gap that John James
left to be filled in,
as the anthology progressed. Thus, the collaborative title—along with the text of the anthology—remained open‐ended,
as the text advanced toward the physical limits
of the notebook that defined the scope of the anthology. John James
never completed his portion of the title
never filled the notebook—the unpunctuated
final line, “Away and away,” of the last poem added to the anthology trailing off into the blankness of remaining pages.
Even when Ruskinʼs
usage of a title is documented consistently over time,
the evidence may be unclear to what the title refers.
In letters of 1832
mentioned his “mineralogical dictionary,”
and both the title and (roughly) the dates of composition held good decades later,
when in 1864 Ruskin
referred to having “written a Mineralogical Dictionary
for which he “invented a shorthand symbolism for crystalline forms,
before [he] was fourteen”. Again, in 1875
, in Deucalion
, he wanted readers to know that he
“began when . . . only twelve years old, a Mineralogical Dictionary
written in a shorthand composed of crystallographic signs now entirely unintelligble to me.”
Finally, in 1885
, he remembered that his “fifteenth birthday gift” of Voyages dans les Alpes
by Horace Bénédict de Saussure
, assisted him in “carrying on [his] mineralogical dictionary
(Burd ed., Ruskin Family Letters
, 263, 311;
, 26: 553, 97; 35: 121).
In the 1930s
, when Charles Goodspeed
purchased “Early Geology”
included in lot 27 of
Sothebyʼs Sale of Ruskin Manuscripts and Library, 1931
he did not hesitate to advertise this manuscript for sale as Ruskinʼs “Mineralogical Dictionary”
Goodspeedʼs Book Shop, A Catalogue of Paintings, Drawings and Manuscripts by John Ruskin
and see Sotheby & Co., Catalogue of the Final Portion of the Manuscripts & Library of John Ruskin
But while this manuscript does include portions written in a boyhood “shorthand symbolism,”
it shows no title; and this manuscript, or compilation of manuscripts, which was bound in red buckram at some point during preparation of the
on the spine
may or may not include what Ruskin
meant in 1832
by his “mineralogical dictionary”
—or even in 1864
, or 1885
(Another example of Ruskin
exhibiting different ideas at different times about his early manuscripts is his docketing of some of the
, using a numbering scheme guided by some purpose that can now only guessed at).
Perhaps owing to an awareness of these ambiguities, or perhaps just for the sake of simplicity,
W. G. Collingwood
was led in 1891
to found a numerical system of identifying the early manuscripts.
In the “Preliminary Note on the Original MSS. of the Poems,”
appended to his edition of Ruskinʼs
the Poems (1891)
compiled the first systematic descriptive bibliography of selected early manuscripts,
and he identified these manuscripts according to a sequence of Roman numerals
(Poems [4o, 1891]
, 1: 261–67;
Poems [8o, 1891]
, 1: 262–68).
The primary purpose of this descriptive bibliography was to explain and justify a chronological order of the manuscripts,
supplying a “justification of the hypothetical dates assigned to some of the poems”
(Poems [4o, 1891]
, 1: 261;
Poems [8o, 1891]
, 1: 262–63).
The Roman numerals reenforced this idea of a proven chronology.
scheme was elaborated by subsequent editors.
A decade after the Poems (1891)
the editors of the Library Edition
E. T. Cook (1857–1919)
Alexander Wedderburn (1854–1931)
carried forward with Collingwood
ʼs nomenclature by reprinting and expanding his “Note”
as an appendix to
, volume 2 (1902
) of the Works
and Wedderburnʼs “Notes on the Original MSS. of the Poems [Revised and Completed from the Edition of 1891],”
the editors accounted for manuscripts that Collingwood
had omitted by inserting new descriptions
and designating them with a Roman numeral plus an English alphabet letter.
In this way, the editors attempted to maintain Collingwoodʼs
chronological order, inserting the new item into its appropriate place in the numerical order
Thus, for example, they inserted MS IA
between the manuscripts that Collingwood
, because the earliest work contained in
as a whole appeared to fall chronologically into that position.
aim of representing a chronological order of manuscripts
could never have achieved more than an approximation of the manuscriptsʼ sequence, since several of the bound manuscripts overlap one another
in the chronological range of their contents. His sequence is also erroneous in parts owing to misdating of some manuscripts.
Most problematically, Collingwood
decided from the start to omit from the “Note”
those manuscripts containing exclusively prose,
as these seemed to him irrelevant to the project of editing the Poems (1891)
intended ultimately to supply a corresponding nomenclature for manuscripts to be included in a complementary edition of the
early prose, but this project never came to pass
(see History of Bibliography and Editing of the Early Manuscripts
As a result, arbitrary and misleading limitations were built into the scope of Collingwoodʼs bibliography
confusions that Cook
perpetuated by confining their revision of Collingwoodʼs “Note”
to manuscripts containing poetry,
and relegating prose manuscripts to the Bibliography
, volume 39 (1912
) of the Works
and Wedderburnʼs bibliography
, the early prose manuscripts known to them appear in division III, “Catalogue of Ruskin MSS.”,
section B, “Diaries and Note-Books” (as opposed to manuscripts of published works, in section A), subsection b
, “Note-Books, Etc.”
, 39: 205–6).
The prose manuscripts are assigned discursive titles, rather than Roman numerals, such as “Sermon Book (1827
),” “Mineralogical Dict.
“Juvenilia”. The latter title subsumes three early notebooks, collected together and separated without explanation from other prose manuscripts of the
listed under their own titles; presumably, the editors associated them, because all three are
. These three notebooks are given brief descriptions rather than titles
, the three notebooks correspond, respectively, to
MS Juvenilia A
MS Juvenilia B
MS Juvenilia C
Elsewhere in Cook
and Wedderburnʼs bibliography
, the editors list “Minor Writings” that are quoted thoughout the Works
including brief “extracts” from “Juvenilia” (some prose, some poetry)
, 39: 92).
One solution to this complexity would be to scrap Collingwoodʼs
nomenclature, and start anew with a corrected and comprehensive system,
but this drastic move would cause unnecessary confusion.
More than a centuryʼs accumulation of scholarship has relied on the nomenclature in Collingwoodʼs “Note”
as expanded in the Library Edition
Moreover, the “Note,”
however faulty, retains considerable historical interest, as Collingwood
compiled it when Ruskin
was still alive;
and while the ill and elderly Ruskin
is unlikely to contributed in any extensive way to this descriptive bibliography,
one cannot discount the possibility that the “Note”
conveys some of Ruskinʼs
ideas about the preservation and classification of these manuscripts.
Even if Ruskin
played no part at all in Collingwoodʼs
editing of the
the involvement of the fin de siècle Brantwood circle in the project is just as significant.
Helen Gill Viljoenʼs
solution was to compile her own version of Collingwoodʼs “Note,”
in competition with Cook
In her typescript, “Dating MSS. of Boyhood”, a descriptive bibliography that she attached as “Appendix VII”
to her unfinished biography of Ruskin
, “Dark Star”
, in “Helen Gill Viljoen Papers”
practice in the Library Edition
of fitting additional manuscripts into Collingwoodʼs
Roman‐numeral scheme of chronological sequence; for example,
the “Sermon Book” that Cook
list in their bibliography
, 39: 206])
becomes MSS No. II.A, B, C, D, and E, containing the
Sermons on the Pentateuch
item is expanded to include all five of these handmade pamphlets, only one of which was known to Cook
and she situates it following MS II
, another handmade pamphlet with sermon content, and which Collingwood
had included in his original “Note”.
Reverential of Collingwood
was, she recognized that his original “Note”
contained dating errors;
and so in order to preserve his Roman‐numeral nomenclature, while also correcting, yet remaining faithful to the spirit of his chronological ordering of manuscripts,
layered a Roman‐numeral re
ordering over top of Collingwoodʼs
original Roman‐numeral designations.
Thus, “Dating MSS. of Boyhood” proposes a sequence identifying manuscripts as follows:
- I. MS No. I
- II. MS No. IA
- III. MS No. III
- IV. MS No. IIIA
- V. MS No. II
- VI. MSS Nos. IIA, B, C, D, E
- VII. MS No. IV
And so on, in which the first Roman numeral in a given entry represents Viljoenʼs
attempt a chronological reordering,
while the second (the manuscript number per se) is drawn either from Collingwoodʼs
original scheme or represents Viljoenʼs
of a manuscript into that scheme. (Viljoen
wanted nothing to do with Cook
insertions, so she ignored their assignation of “MS IA”
to the collection of manuscripts that they bound under that name, and instead assigned “MS IA”
to the manuscript of “The Puppet Show”
, which Cook
called “MS IB”.
Whatever the other merits of Viljoenʼs
“Dating MSS. of Boyhood,” her solution for naming and numbering manuscripts fails to lend clarity to what
was already a losing proposition of ordering objects linearly that Ruskin
did not use in that fashion.
He protracted use of some manuscripts over several years,
and he overwrote others, building up layers of chronological sequence within a given manuscript.
Fortunately, electronic publication provides alternatives to linear ordering
(see Plan of the Archive
As for Cook
accretions of manuscript designations to Collingwoodʼs “Note,”
the practice in ERM
is, in any case, to document fully as possible the history of naming manuscripts and works in the “Title” sections
of apparatuses, while for hyperlinking purposes to use short titles for which a clear trail exists in bibliography and scholarship.
Therefore, manuscripts are designated by Roman numeral if they were assigned one either in Collingwood
or in Cook
revision of the “Note”
additional Roman‐numeral designations (and even re
designation, in one case) were never published,
prefers the short discursive titles established in Cook
and Wedderburnʼs bibliography
titles that typically are also reflected in the provenance of modern bindings, sales catalogs, and library catalogs for the collections that ultimately
preserved these manuscripts.