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Harper Lee’s Second Book and its Publication Bring Controversy

Go Set a Watchman - cover

Imagine having a book you’ve written published for the first time. How surprised would you be if your book became a bestseller, won a Pulitzer Prize, and was even made into a motion picture starring a major actor? Would you publish another book and risk disappointing your audience? Or would you choose to leave your readers wanting more?

That book, of course, is Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. When it was released 55 years ago, one critic compared Lee’s skill to that of Mark Twain, and described her as “an artist of rare talent and control. This first novel is an achievement of unusual magnitude” (Canfield).

The recent announcement that Harper Lee’s second book to be published, Go Set a Watchman, would be released today captured the imaginations of Mockingbird’s fans and of the literary world. Watchman, however, is not a new book. In fact, Lee wrote it decades ago, before writing Mockingbird. That Lee waited so many years before publishing Watchman has raised questions about her decision, including controversy about whether she herself made this decision.

The first controversy

Harper Lee, now 88, suffered a stroke in 2007 and lives in an assisted-living facility (Trachtenberg). Her sister, Alice Lee (now deceased), in a 2011 interview, described Harper as “mostly blind and deaf” following her stroke (Berman). Alice Lee, an attorney, who had “long represented her sister and whom friends describe as Ms. Lee’s ‘protector,’ died Nov. 17 [2014].” Less than three months after Alice Lee’s death comes the announcement from HarperCollins Publishers that Go Set a Watchman would be published on July 14, 2015.

Lee has not spoken to anyone except her agent and her attorney about Watchman, its discovery or its publication. Harper publisher Jonathan Burnham insists that Lee is “very much engaged in the process,” although he bases his assessment on reports from Lee’s agent. Lee, Burnham adds, will not give interviews or other publicity when Watchman is released (Berman).

That Lee’s agent and her attorney, who appear to have everything to gain financially from this situation, have been the only ones communicating with the author Harper Leehas prompted an investigation. The Alabama Securities Commission investigated and “concluded that Ms. Lee appeared to understand what was occurring while approving the publication of ‘Go Set a Watchman’” (Stevens).

Despite the Commission’s findings, Lee’s fans have remained skeptical over the circumstances of Watchman’s discovery. These lingering doubts may have motivated Lee’s attorney, Tonja Carter, to publish an explanation in Monday’s Wall Street Journal (Carter).

The second controversy

Although Watchmen includes characters from Mockingbird, such as Scout and Atticus, the novel is set twenty years into the future, into the civil-rights movement. Fans of Mockingbird may be shocked to discover changes in Atticus. He served as Mockingbird’s “moral conscience: kind, wise, honorable, an avatar of integrity” (Kakutani).

In Watchmen, Scout, 26 and known as Jean Louise, has been living in New York City. She visits her hometown, Maycomb, Ala., to discover that Atticus now holds “abhorrent views on race and segregation” (Kakutani). Readers may wonder why Lee wrote this book as “a distressing narrative filled with characters spouting hate speech.” Ultimately, as Mockingbird “suggested that we should have compassion for outsiders like Boo and Tom Robinson,” Watchman “asks us to have understanding for a bigot named Atticus” (Kakutani).

Works Cited

Berman, Russell. “How Harper Lee’s Long-Lost Sequel Was
……..Found.” theatlantic.com. Feb 4, 2015.

Canfield, Francis X., “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Critic, 1960

Carter, Tonja B. “How I found the Harper Lee Manuscript.” Wall
……..Street Journal
, Eastern edition ed. Jul 13 2015. ProQuest.
……..Web. 13 July 2015.

Kakutani, Michiko. “Review: Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set a Watchman’
……..Gives Atticus Finch a Dark Side.” http://nyti.ms/1ULlBZv

Stevens, Laura, and Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg. “Business News: No
……..Fraud found Is Discovered in Harper Lee Case.” Wall Street
, Eastern edition ed.Mar 13 2015. ProQuest. Web. 13
……..July 2015.

Trachtenberg, Jeffrey A., and Laura Stevens. “Harper Lee
……..Bombshell: How News of Book Unfolded.” Wall Street
, Eastern edition ed. Feb 07 2015. ProQuest. Web. 13
……..July 2015.

To Dig Deeper, explore the following links, prepared by Sarah Wingo, team leader: Humanities II and also subject librarian for English, literature and theatre:

One of the big issues that has sprung up around GSAW beyond the controversy over its publication is the difference in the character of Atticus Finch and concerns that it may “tarnish” his legacy.

Here is another point from yesterday

You can read the first chapter or listen to Reese Witherspoon read it

NPR piece from yesterday

NPR piece from Feb

NPR piece from 2014 indicating that if Lee is being taken advantage of with this publication it may not be the first time

SarahDig Deeper links selected by Sarah Wingo, team leader- Humanities II, subject librarian for English, literature and theatre. Article by Gerald Dierkes, senior copy-editor for the Communication and Service Promotion team and a liaison to the Department of Theater. 

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Foto Friday: A Summer Beauty

Lily Pad

Laura Hutelmyer is the photography coordinator for the Communication and Service Promotion Team and Special Acquisitions Coordinator in Resource Management

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St Joseph, Patron Saint of Fathers


Saint Joseph is a protector of the Augustinian order. Early in the fifth century, Saint Augustine addresses the issue of how Saint Joseph can be said to be the ‘father’ of Jesus, since God is the father of Christ Jesus, the Incarnate Logos, and Saint Joseph never had any conjugal relations with the Theotokos, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“On account of that faithful marriage both of them deserved to be called the parents of Christ. Not merely was [Mary] called his mother, but as the spouse of Christ’s mother, [Joseph] was called his father, for he was both of these by his mind, not by the flesh. Though he was [Jesus Christ’s] father only by his mind and she was his mother also by the flesh, they were both parents of his humble condition, not of his lofty condition, of his infirmity, not of his divinity.” (Augustine, “Marriage and Desire” I. 11.12. Translated by Roland J. Teske, S.J. The Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century. Volume I/24: Answer to the Pelagians, II, 37. Edited by John E. Rotelle, O.S.A. Hyde Park, New York: New City Press, 1998. Many volumes from this contemporary edition in English of The Works of St. Augustine are available via the Past Masters database.)

In a signed article, “Marriage” (from Augustine Through the Ages: An Encyclopedia, edited by Allan D. Fitzgerald, O.S.A., available via Falvey’s Digital Library), David G. Hunter states: “Augustine’s initial response to Pelagian critics of his views on marriage is found in the first book of De Nuptiis Et Concupiscentia, addressed to Count Valerius (ca. 418).” De Nuptiis Et Concupiscentia, “Marriage and Desire,” book one by St. Augustine is the work quoted above.

Around the time of the writing of this work, Augustine’s doctrine of grace was vindicated. The Catholic Church affirmed against the perfectionism of Pelagianism that human will is ineffective in doing good, including in marriage, unless first perfected by God’s gracious gift of participation in the divine life of the holy Trinity. A preeminent father of the church and one of the four great doctors of the Latin, i.e., Western, church, the sobriquet of Saint Augustine, the spiritual father of the Augustinian order, is doctor of grace.


The Highlighter: Navigate EBSCO-Provided Databases Like a Pro


Falvey subscribes to over 250 databases, and many of these are supplied through EBSCO, a database provider. This video shows how to navigate EBSCO-provided databases.  (Enable Closed Captioning for silent viewing):

For additional “How to” videos, click the “Help” button on Falvey’s homepage.


A Brief Look at Italian and English Renaissance Drama

Did yesterday’s blog post about Renaissance Faires whet your appetite for Renaissance Drama? Look no further than this thoughtfully assembled blog by Sarah Wingo, Subject Librarian for English Literature and Theatre.

When you hear the word Renaissance you may think of Michelangelo painting the ceiling of the Sistine chapel and Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, or you may think of Queen Elizabeth I and Shakespeare. In both cases you’d be right, but you may not be aware that you’re thinking of two fairy distinct (though overlapping) time periods. The European or Italian Renaissance spanned the 14th to the 17th century beginning nearly a century before the Renaissance would truly gain momentum in England in the late 15th century and extend to beginning of the 17th century.

The Renaissance period in Italy and England were both characterized by a “revival of the arts and high culture under the influence of classical models” (OED), but each also had traditions and art forms distinctly their own.

One area in which Italian arts and English arts diverged was theatre.

Taglia Cantoni and Fracasso

Two Pantaloons Dancing. Bello Sguardo, Couiello. Dances of Sfessania (Balli di Sfessania 1621) series by Jacques Callot, 1592 – 1635.

In Italy a form of theatre known as commedia dell’arte[i] was popularized between 1575 and1650. Performed in open spaces and at fair grounds commedia dell’arte was largely improvised versions of familiar tropes. Commedia stories relied upon stock characters which were divided into 3 categories the lovers, the masters, and the servants, with distinctive characters belonging to each category such as Pantalone a greedy Venetian merchant. These characters were easily recognized by their distinctive clothing and the masks that they wore, thus allowing audiences to immediately identify heroes and villains within any story being told.[ii]

Most people will be more familiar with the theatre of the English Renaissance due to the enduring popularity of William Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s earliest plays were likely performed in the mid-1580s. From 1594 onwards his works were performed by the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, a company of players of which he was part owner, who later became The King’s Men after being awarded a Royal Patent by King James I in 1603.

Shakespeare is the most well-known playwright from the English Renaissance at least in part due to the fact that more of his plays survive, thanks to their publication in the First Folio in 1623, than do the plays of most other playwrights from that era. Because plays were considered common entertainment rather than high art plays were not regularly published[iii], in fact of the 36 plays published in the Shakespeare’s First Folio only 16 existed in published form prior to the printing of the folio meaning that a full 20 of Shakespeare’s plays including Macbeth, The Tempest, and Twelfth Night would be unknown to us were it not for the printing of the First Folio. Likewise of the thousands of plays produced by numerous playwrights throughout the English Renaissance only a small percentage survive to this day.

Swan Theatre

The Swan Theatre: Arnoldus Buchelius (Aernout van Buchel) (1565-1641), after a drawing of Johannes de Witt (1566-1622). Utrecht, University Library, Ms. 842, fol. 132r.

Although there were some indoor performance spaces such as those at court and Blackfriars most theatres including The Globe where Shakespeare’s plays were performed from 1599 until it burnt down in 1613, were rounded open air structures with seating around the walls of the building and cheaper standing space in the center around the stage as can be seen in this image of The Swan Theatre, a contemporary of The Globe.

Theatre companies functioned as repertory, with a rotation of plays in performance, rarely performing the same play two days in a row. Theatre companies were also comprised entirely of men, female characters famously being played by “boy actors,” though the term “boy” may be misleading as it is believed that while the female roles were played by young men, they were not as was once believe played by children.

One reason that theatre from this period is so important is that it is really the first time that the Western World begins to see secular theatre performed in much the same way that modern theatre is performed today. The plays themselves also being very recognizable as modern theatre in stark contrast the highly stylized and religious liturgical dramas and morality plays which preceded the theatre of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. [iv]

[i] Katritzky, M A. The Art of Commedia: A Study in the Commedia Dell’Arte 1560-1620 With Special Reference to the Visual Records. Amsterdam ; New York: Rodopi, 2006.

[ii] Read more about Commedia dell’arte at the Metropolitan Museum of Art website.

[iii] For more information about printing and publishing of plays during the English Renaissance see : Jowett, John. Shakespeare and Text. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 2007

[iv] Andrew Gurr has written prolifically on the topic of English Renaissance drama, and his books The Shakespearean stage, 1574-1642 and Playgoing in Shakespeare’s London would be of particular interest to anyone wishing to learn more on this subject.


SarahArticle by Sarah Wingo, team leader- Humanities II, subject librarian for English, literature and theatre.


All new for 2015! Recommended Summer Reading from English Faculty

Hey, blog fans, have you discovered the wonderful blog published by the Villanova Department of English? Not only is it an informative site for events, and people news, it’s also a place for unexpected delights, such as first dibs on job and internship opportunities and cookies at the coffee breaks!  Be sure to check it out regularly!
Associate Professor and departmental chair Evan Radcliffe, PhD, has kindly granted permission to reprint one of our favorite posts of theirs –  a real book lover’s dream! Below you’ll find a first-class summer reading list compiled by Department of English professors, written in their own voices. Ranging from classics to books just under the radar, you can be sure that time spent with these picks will be worthwhile – and if you’re not careful, you just might learn something! We’ve reprinted their recommendations here, including links, when available, to their Falvey catalog information.

Recommended Summer Reading from English Faculty


I’ve got two books to share! The first is We Need New Names, a novel by NoViolet Bulawayo. You should read it, if not for anything else, for the author’s arresting name! But, seriously, it’s a great story on migration and the different levels of displacement that attend to it when economic and racial pressures are applied. The young and sassy first person narrator Darling will reward you with shock, amusement, and much to think about for choosing to hang out with her this summer. If you are an English senior, Bulawayo is also on the reading list for my section of the senior seminar this fall.

The other novel is Bernardine Evaristo’s The Emperor’s Babe. I haven’t read it yet, but the blurb is intriguing. Having read Evaristo’s earlier work, Lara, a semi-autobiographical verse novel that deliciously presents the myriad diasporic roots of Evaristo, reaching to Ireland, Germany, Nigeria and Brazil, I am excited to read The Emperor’s Babe, which is also in verse form. But this is no turgid verse. It flows. The Emperor’s Babe is set in AD 211 London (or, Londinium as the Romans called it) and features Zuleika, the daughter of Sudanese immigrants who marries a Roman merchant. Evaristo likes taking poetic risks in language and I look forward to reading about romance and power play in third century London. By the way, Evaristo will be here at Villanova in spring 2016 as keynote speaker at the Cultural Studies Association conference. Not a bad idea to read one of her novels before she arrives.
New Names
Emperor's Babe


This summer I plan to read through the Library of America’s collection American Science Fiction: Nine Classic Novels of the 1950s. As Junot Díaz says, “These novels testify to the extraordinary range, profound intelligence, and indefatigable weirdness of ‘50s American science fiction. A must-have for anyone interested in one of the most vital periods of our literature and for anyone who wants a wild wild tumble down the rabbit hole.”



For a break from literature, I recommend Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (1997), a readable Pulitzer-Prize nonfiction winner. Many years ago, a New Guinean asked Diamond “why white people developed so much cargo [steel tools and other products of civilization] while we black people had little?” It took Diamond 25 years to answer that question. As Bill Gates notes: “this book lays a foundation for understanding human history.”





Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day (1989). This is an exquisitely—even perfectly—crafted novel. The story is told as a series of post-World War II diary entries by an English butler, Mr. Stevens, who reflects on a career of dutiful service to his aristocratic employer even when it became clear that Lord Darlington was abetting the Nazis. The novel is a poignant, elegant, and subtle study of how moral will and personal fulfillment are effaced by the constraints of duty.

Joan Didion, Play It As It Lays (1970). This novel of Los Angeles makes me homesick and heartsick. It captures the rhythm and industrial beauty of the LA freeway system and offers an uncompromising depiction of the existential vacancy of Hollywood values: youth, beauty, celebrity, surface. In Didion’s long, distinguished career, Play It As It Lays remains a standout.





Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs. The narrator of this slim novel, a writer, travels from Boston to coastal Maine for a summer of uninterrupted work. What she finds, however, is a concentrated lesson in the stages of friendship across difference: from the uneasy hesitations of initial meeting to the gradual accumulation of shared knowledge.

Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric. We’re maybe used to novels and even poems capturing something exceptional and, for that reason, noteworthy. In this book-length poem about being black in a white supremacist nation, Rankine makes the mundane noteworthy. If you’ve read Whitman’s “Song of Myself,” you’ll recognize the epic scale Rankine locates in everyday occurrences, where casual gestures and offhand remarks recall hundreds of years of history and the clash of competing hierarchies.

Tana French, The Secret Place. French writes smart murder mysteries set in contemporary Ireland. I love them all. This one, her most recent, deals with a murder on the grounds of a girls’ boarding school. The chapters oscillate between the procedural perspective of the adult police and the meandering perspective of teenagers, a structure that allows it to highlight adolescence in all its unknown and terrifying in-betweenness.

Adam Phillips, On Kissing, Tickling, and Being Bored: Psychoanalytic Essays on the Unexamined Life. One essay here begins with Phillips, a practicing psychotherapist, asking his patient, an anxious ten-year-old boy, to define “worries.” The boy thinks for a bit and then responds: “Worries are farts that don’t come out.” For most of you, that will be all the endorsement this volume needs. For the rest, let me add that Phillips is an enviably beautiful writer who will leave you smarter, more self-aware, and maybe even happier than you were before.



The Age of Miracles, by Karen Thompson Walker. It is a moving story of a young girl coming of age in a near future in which the Earth’s rotation is gradually slowing–a phenomenon that is wreaking physical and social havoc across the globe.



I seem to be in the habit of recommending books that are about poetry, or that are almost poetry, but that achieve this while remaining stubbornly free of line breaks. Here are two more for this summer, one short (that I’ve already read) and one long (that I’m reading right now):

1. 10:04, by Ben Lerner. This novel (by a poet) is set in New York City and bookended by two hurricanes, Irene and Sandy. It’s a slim book–quiet, ruminative–and reads like a dream. What’s it about? Too many things to name, but, chiefly, the porous line between life and art. Plus the best use (ok, the only use) of the film “Back to the Future” in any novel I’ve ever read!

2. James Merrill: Life and Art, by Langdon Hammer. Full disclosure: the author of this book, a biography of the poet James Merrill, was my dissertation adviser. Merrill was a fascinating figure, gifted beyond belief, and fully committed to a life in the service of art. And this biography again and again rises to the task of making its subject come alive, without sacrificing any of the subtlety of his art. I’m far from impartial, but totally taken by this book.





Lucy Gayheart, by Willa Cather. This short novel is extremely well written. The plot is nicely constructed. The language, as almost always with Cather, is a perfect fit. And the ending is extremely powerful. A moving love story.





I’d like to suggest the novels of Glenn Patterson, who will be our Heimbold Chair for 2016. He is a Belfast novelist, and I loved Lapsed Protestant and The Mill for Grinding Old People Young, which was selected as the One Book, One City for Belfast in 2012.



I’ve got God Help the Child on my bedside table, waiting.  Nothing to say but, ‘It’s Morrison!’





First on my summer reading list is Zia Haider Rahman’s In the Light of What We Know (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2014), because it sounds big in the best possible way: epic, global, provocative. Its story roams from Kabul to London, New York, Islamabad, Oxford, and Princeton, and I’ve heard that it considers, in one way or another, many of the key challenges of our contemporary moment in history. I’m curious.

As a teacher of the modern American novel, my summer pick is The Professor’s House (1925) by Willa Cather. It’s complex, ambitious and atmospheric. Although it does feature a middle-aged college professor, at the novel’s center is the grand story of a young adventurer who stumbles upon the remnants of an ancient civilization in the Southwest.





Redeployment by Phil Klay recently won the National Book Award. This collection of short stories highlights the brutal nature of war in Iraq and the haunting memories that follow soldiers home. By showing both the battle and home-front, Klay provides readers with a searing and unflinching look into the Iraq War that will ultimately change one’s perspective on soldiers and war as a whole. Excellent read!





I have three books waiting to go for summer. First, My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard. I’m desperate to start this book. The New York Times Magazine’s “Travels Through North America” can give you a sneak peek: click here. I’ve already started and am enjoying Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See and since it just won the Pulitzer, I better finish and see why! Finally, I’ve been sucked in by the hype surrounding the reclusive Elena Ferrante and her trilogy, starting with My Brilliant Friend. I can’t wait to see what the excitement is about!



I’m a fan of the archetypal film noir The Maltese Falcon (1941) starring Humphrey Bogart as the detective Sam Spade (as well as of “Tequila Mockingbird,” the episode of the TV show “Get Smart” that parodied it). But I’ve never read the original 1929 novel by Dashiell Hammett, which is a classic of noir crime fiction and the original “California noir” novel. I’m reading it this summer as a prelude to next summer, when Alan Drew’s own California noir novel, Santa Ana, will be published.



Orpheus Lost, by Janette Turner Hospital, adapts elements of the Orpheus legend in this engaging contemporary novel that takes its characters through the long-lived consequences of wars past and present.

Martin Blaser’s Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics is Fueling our Modern Plagues is as interesting for changing how we think about boundaries of bodies, of selves and others, as it is for its pragmatic prescriptions.





Some of the above titles are in the library collection, in which case you can click on the links provided. If the title isn’t linked, consider using the E-ZBorrow or Interlibrary Loan services to request the book from another library.

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May the Fourth Be With You! A Star Wars Dig Deeper


To say Star Wars is the best movie franchise of all time might be overselling it (especially considering the execrable episodes I-III), but it was the first movie I ever saw on the big screen, and yes, it was brand new when I saw it in 1977. I was five, and even though I didn’t understand the subtext, it helped define my lifelong love of science fiction and high fantasy and the same can be said of millions of fans worldwide. The question is “why”? Why is it so important to so many people? Why has it been translated into dozens of languages, spawned more movies, cartoons, dozens of novels, and a fanatical global following? Why are my friends handing down their original 1970’s Kenner action figures to their children, like some ancient sword passed down from their father’s, father’s, father? Why is it being reborn, yet again, by Disney and directed by the highly respected J.J Abrams?

Two simple words: It’s awesome.

Prior to Star Wars (now known as Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, an inelegant name for an inelegant time) a “Space Opera” was a pejorative term for the cheap, pulp comics of the 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “a science fiction story or drama set in space; space fiction esp. of an unsophisticated or clichéd type.” These stories are known for their melodramatic and overly romantic portrayals of enemies fighting each other in outer space using advanced, futuristic weaponry and technology.

By 1977, Space Opera was a well-established – if fringe – genre in comic books like Flash Gordon (1934), television shows like Star Trek (1966), and films like Barbarella ( 1968). But Star Wars brought something new to the equation; a complex coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of a totalitarianism and rebellion.


Themes of mysticism, oppression, community, colonialism, trade politics and self-discovery gave the first trilogy a depth that did not jibe with the “unsophisticated” definition of Space Opera. The genre had suddenly become something for grown ups: The number of times you saw “Jedi” became a badge of pride for geeks and non-geeks alike. Its state-of-the-art special effects blurred the line between reality and fiction to the point that robots and fighting teddy bears became lovable – and essential – characters. Discussions about hyperdrive, Jedi mind tricks, and the feasibility of real world light sabers became water cooler conversation. It marked a sea change that first legitimized Space Opera and, by extension, science fiction as a mainstream genre.

Viewership for shows like Star Trek and Battlestar Gallactica swelled as fans hungered for more and the success of these shows and ancillary movies spawned hundreds of sci-fi knock-offs and permutations. Whether you love Star Wars or not, it can be argued that all modern science fiction, from blockbuster movies like Interstellar and Transformers to TV shows like Futurama and Doctor Who, owe their continued success, and even their genesis, to a low budget 1970’s film trilogy about a farm boy, a scoundrel, a sassy princess, and a few droids who toppled an oppressive empire and saved their galaxy a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

To learn more about the Star Wars universe and its influence, check out these Falvey Memorial Library resources:

Non-Fiction Books:
Star Wars and Philosophy : More Powerful than you Can Possibly Imagine
by Kevin S. Decker
PN1995.9.S695 S76 2005 – Falvey Main 4th Floor

Empire Building : The Remarkable, Real-life Story of Star Wars
by Garry Jenkins
PN1995.9.S695 J46 1999 – Falvey Main 4th Floor

Culture, Identities, and Technology in the Star Wars Films : Essays on the Two Trilogies
by Carl Silvio
PN1995.9.S695 S55 2007 – Falvey Main 4th Floor

From Star Wars to Indiana Jones : The Best of the Lucasfilm Archives
by Mark Vaz
PN1995.9.S695 V3913 – Falvey Main 4th Floor

Fiction Books:
Star Wars: Darth Plagueis
by James Luceno
PS3562.U254417 D37 – Falvey popular reading collection, Main floor

Star Wars: Heir to the Empire  by Timothy Zahn  PS3576.A33 H45 1991 – Falvey Main 4th Floor

How Star Wars Conquered the Universe : The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise
by Chris Taylor

Search for articles using the search terms “Star Wars” (in quotes) and Film. Other useful search terms: politics, mysticism, influence, impact, technology, etc.

For help with research on the movies and their influence, contact Rob LeBlanc, first-year experience & humanities librarian at robert.leblanc@villanova.edu.

Rob LeBlanc is first-year experience & humanities librarian.Rob-ed


‘Caturday: Poets, Then and Now

Five years ago Christine Simmons, ’10, then editor-in-chief of Arthology, presented the newest issue of Villanova’s student literary-art magazine at Falvey’s Open Mic Poetry Reading. This link will take you to the full blog article that mentions other poets and artists, including the Senior Class Poet of 2010, Emily Southerton, whose work was published in Arthology.

I wonder who will be featured this year at the Open Mic event on April 22.

Christine Simmons

Christine Simmons, ’10










LuisaCywinski_headshot thumbnail‘Caturday feature by Luisa Cywinski, writer, Communication & Service Promotion team, and team leader, Access Services.


Women’s History Month: Power & Magic in the Kitchen

Historically speaking, the kitchen is a woman’s domain. Women were chained to their stoves for hours on end. Cooking skills were right up there with other desirable traits, such as purity, appearance, and obedience to men. As Laura Schenone puts it in her book, A thousand years over a hot stove, “cooking reveals itself as a source of power and magic, and, at the same time, a source of oppression in women’s lives.”

To paraphrase Schenone, what women learned and what they knew wouldn’t be found in a book. It was passed down in the oral tradition, shared with daughters and friends. Women shared information and found support for more than just cooking. They relied on each other to learn healing remedies, to craft utensils and containers, to secure moral support, and to learn survival skills.

When times made life difficult and challenged even the most experienced cook, women found ways to feed their families with what little food was available. They would pool their resources or come to the aid of a hungry family. Women created new recipes to stretch the limited types and quantities of food.

Not unlike other American households, during World War II, Eleanor Roosevelt’s housekeeper, Ms. Henrietta Nesbitt found ways to deal with meat rationing and developed “meat-stretcher” recipes. There is one such recipe in The Husbandman, an agricultural newspaper. This newspaper was published during America’s Gilded Age, a period when the women’s suffrage movement was strengthening in the United States.

The original recipe for scrap pie is below. My adaptation follows the image.

Scrap Pie – 1886

The husbandman, v. XIII, no. 640, Wednesday, November 24, 1886

Scrap Pie Women's History









Scrap Pie – 2015

1 lb. ground beef

1 lb. white or red potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks

½ large onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp. chicken, beef, or vegetable broth

1 egg, beaten

4 tbsp. butter

¼ tsp. pepper

½ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare and assemble all ingredients.

Brown the ground beef in a skillet. Drain and set aside. Sauté onion and set aside. Use 1 tbsp. butter to coat the inside of a 9” pie plate. Cover the inside bottom of the pie plate with ground beef. Drizzle broth over beef. Layer the sautéed onion over the beef. Boil chopped potatoes in large pot of water until potatoes are tender. Turn off burner, drain and return potatoes to pot. Mash potatoes until smooth. Add the beaten egg, 1 tbsp. butter, salt, and pepper to the mashed potatoes. Whisk by hand or use an electric hand mixer until smooth. Cover the beef with the mashed potato mixture. Use a dinner fork to create a design on the potatoes. Use remaining 2 tbsp. of butter to dot the top of the potatoes.

beefbeef onionsbeef potato






Bake at 375° until top is browned, about 30 – 35 minutes.

Scrap Pie done










Makes 4-6 servings. Serve with salad or cooked vegetables.

Below are links to books, articles and blogs for your reading, watching and listening pleasure.

A thousand years over a hot stove can be requested through E-ZBorrow or Interlibrary Loan.

What we lose in losing Ladies’ Home Journal (Thanks to Laura Bang, Special Collections, for the link.)

The First Kitchen

Women’s History and Food History: New Ways of Seeing American Life

#FoodieFriday: 5 Kitchen Appliances and Food Creations that Transformed Women’s Lives in the 20th Century

Women’s History Month – Audio and Video

My thanks to Michael Foight, Special Collections, for sending me the link to our digitized copy of The Husbandman.

LuisaCywinski_headshot thumbnailMonthly food blog feature by Luisa Cywinski, writer, Communication & Service Promotion, and team leader, Access Services.


Art of Spring Break: See Rare Illustrations that Complement Cortona Painting—A Conservation Update

What is the latest news about the conservation of “The Triumph of David,” the large painting attributed to Pietro da Cortona, located in the Reading Room of Falvey Hall (aka Old Falvey)?

Conservation is well under way. The painting has been cleaned, areas where paint is missing have been filled (these are the reddish brown areas visible), the painting has been varnished several times and the conservator,



Kristin deGhetaldi, and her interns are now in-painting (filling in with color the areas where paint was lost). This in-painting is a slow process, using very soft, fine pointed brushes to make tiny strokes. Thus, you are not likely to see dramatic changes day to day or even week to week.

However, one very obvious change to the room is the addition of a small exhibit housed in two cases, one on each side of the gated entrance to the painting. This exhibit, designed by Laura Bang, Digital and Special Collections curatorial assistant, will remain on display until the conservation of “The Triumph of David” is completed.

In her introduction to the exhibit, Bang explains, “Princess Ruspoli’s adopted daughter, Maria Theresa Droutzkoy, also a princess after marrying a Russian prince in 1945, provided funds for the framing and conservation of “The Triumph of David” in the 1950s. [The painting itself was donated to Villanova University by Princess Ruspoli.] She and her husband, Prince Alexis Droutzkoy, donated some other art to the University at the same time, as well as four books that were donated to the Library’s Special Collections, on display in these cases.”

The two books in the left case are both open to show illustrations. The first book is Catalogue of Paintings Forming the Private Collection of P. A. B. Widener: Ashbourne, Near Philadelphia, written by Aliene Ivers Robinson and published in Paris in 1885. The large black and white illustration shows a man with two horses in an expansive landscape. At the time this catalog was published, it was not possible to print photographs in books, so what is shown is a black and white engraving of the painting.

P.A.B. Widener

P.A.B. Widener

P. A. B. Widener, Peter Arrell Brown Widener (1834-1915), was a wealthy Philadelphia businessman, an art collector and a former Philadelphia city treasurer. His collection included works by Rembrandt van Rijn, Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Edouard Manet and Auguste Renoir. Ashbourne, the residence named in the book’s title, still stands in Elkins Park although it is now called Lynnewood Hall. In 1940 P. A. B. Widener’s sole surviving son, Joseph, donated over 2,000 items from his father’s collection—sculptures, paintings and decorative arts—to the National Gallery of Art.

The Catalogue of Paintings itself was donated to Special Collections in 1961. It is number 17 of an edition of 250. Widener gave this signed book to Aliene Ivers Robinson. One wonders how it made its way into the possession of the Droutzkoys.

In the same case is volume three of the 12 volume set of Cérmonies Et Coutumes Religieuses De Tous Les Peuples Du Monde: Représentées Par Des Figures Dessinées De La Main De Bernard Picart [Religious Ceremonies and Customs of All the Peoples of the World: Illustrated by Hand Drawn Pictures by Bernard Picart]. The text, in French, is by Jean Frederick Bernard of Amsterdam; the engraved illustrations, as noted in the title, are the work of Bernard Picart. This large volume was published in Paris in 1807.

Picard and Bernard intended to document the rituals and ceremonies of all the religions known at the time. Cérmonies Et Coutumes Religieuses …, volume three, discusses the Greeks and Protestants. It is opened to show text on the right and three illustrations on the left page. Two of the illustrations show ceremonies on Pentecost in The Hague (Netherlands) and Schmerhorn (Germany); the third illustration is titled “The Kings’ Star Carried (or on Parade) through Amsterdam[Netherlands].” The three Kings are likely the Magi. Falvey’s Digital Library has all 12 volumes of this edition digitized.

The series of Cérmonies Et Coutumes was first published between 1723 and 1737. Picart was a famous 18th century engraver. Cérmonies Et Coutumes is the first work undertake such a broad view of the known religions, and it was reprinted several times. Falvey’s set is a later reprint. For the significance of Cérmonies Et Coutumes, see The Book That Changed Europe.

The second case holds two additional books donated by the Droutzkoys: Shelley and Keats As They Struck Their Contemporaries: Notes Partly From Manuscript Sources by Edmund Blunden, and an untitled photograph album. Shelley and Keats … was published as an edition of 310 copies in London in 1925. Falvey’s copy is number five, and it is signed by Blunden, the editor; by the designer, Wyndham Payne; and by the publisher, binder and typographer, Cyril W. Beaumont. Payne also designed the cover, a wallpaper-like pattern, as well as the decoration of the title page. Prince Droutzkoy donated this book in 1960.

The most fascinating book in this small exhibit, for this writer, is the photograph album. Bang says, “This appears to be a photograph album containing original photographs of the city of Florence.” The album is opened to two photographs, one of the Piazza Santa Croce and the other of the cloister of the church of Santa Croce and the Pazzi Chapel designed by Brunelleschi. In the lower left margin of each photograph is “Edizione Brogi.” The photographs seem to be albumen prints.

A bit of research provided additional information: Giacomo Brogi (1822-1881), an Italian photographer, founded a company in Florence which published photographs. In the late 1800s the company employed 85 people. Brogi photographed not only Florence but also other sites in Italy, and he traveled to the Middle East in 1868. Giacomo Brogi had shops in Florence, Naples and Rome.

Carlo Brogi, retrieved from http://www.giacomobrogi.it

Carlo Brogi, http://www.giacomobrogi.it

His son, Carlo Brogi (1850-1920), continued the business after his father died. Carlo Brogi sold both his own and his father’s photographs under the label “Edizione Brogi Firenze.” This writer speculates that the photographs on display date from the 1880s and that the album may have been purchased as a souvenir of someone’s trip in a time, very unlike ours, when few people owned cameras.

One wonders where and when Prince and Princess Droutzkoy acquired these books. And did they purchase them as collector’s items, or did they enjoy them for their aesthetic appeal?

The exhibit will remain on display for the duration of the conservation of “The Triumph of David.” Small though it is, the display is fascinating and well worth a very detailed examination. And if the conservators are working on “The Triumph of David” during your visit, feel free to enter the fenced area for a closer look and to ask questions. The conservators are very gracious about sharing their knowledge.

imagesArticle by Alice Bampton, digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Service Promotion team. 


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Last Modified: March 3, 2015