I had a good trip to Dublin recently and confirmed that there was a letter in the National Library of Ireland that we didn’t have in the edition, though I don’t know how we missed it when we did our trawl (we had others from that library). Sometimes it’s because of the way that items have been catalogued. In any case, we have it now and it’s an interesting letter from Davy to Richard Lovell Edgeworth from 1810. The lovely people at the NLI allowed me to take pictures of this and the other letters they hold. Unlike Trinity College, Dublin, who did not. I was only checking transcripts of letters there but found we had a little bit of both addresses missing. I can’t get one of the words on two letters but it’s going to cost me 25 Euros to get an image made of these pages that I need. I know that this is a way for cash-strapped libraries to make money but this is also going against the grain of the open access that should be offered by publicly-funded institutions. In all other respects Dublin was lovely. I went to a really great Yeats exhibition in the NLI and an excellent exhibition about the 1916 Easter Rising in the GPO itself. All very emotive stuff.
I’m trying to charge ahead with 1820 letters while returning each evening to 1818 and the continuing difficulties there. I really don’t enjoy going back to a year once I think it’s done and especially since all you have to do is the difficult stuff that you weren’t able to do the first time round. For example, there’s a really tricky letter about a lease owned by the Davy family which seems to be being contested by the landowner’s tax man. This is well out of my comfort zone! I need help with this — maybe a local historian but I don’t know who to ask.
In cheerier news, we had interviews and presentations for a long-awaited post in Gothic Literature at Lancaster last week. By the time I return to teaching in October there will be no less than 5 new staff in our dept, which is just amazing. Right, back to it. I have 15 whole days at home now (whether in Manchester or Lancaster) and I need to make the most of them).