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"The Occult, Classical Bibliography, and Fairness in New Jersey Courts": Latest JRUL Available Now

July 2, 2015
Volume 67 of the JRUL

Volume 67 of the JRUL features essays on the occult and esoteric sciences, the publishing history of a famous reference manual, and the intrigue of a court case from New Jersey’s colonial past.

Readers with interests ranging from horror films to New Jersey’s colonial history will be pleased to learn that the latest issue of The Journal of the Rutgers University Libraries (JRUL) is now available online and in a limited print edition.  Volume 67, entitled “The Occult, Classical Bibliography, and Fairness in Colonial New Jersey Courts,” features four essays based in large part on the holdings of Rutgers’ Special Collections and University Archives.  It also marks the 20th anniversary of the editorship of professor emeritus Robert G. Sewell.

In “Forbidden Words:  Taboo Texts in Popular Literature and Cinema,” an essay based on a Bishop Lecture of the same name delivered in 2014, film critic Stephen Whitty traces a recurring motif in literature and film of an esoteric book containing “forbidden words” that enable its reader to unleash great evil.  Whitty’s survey draws upon a wide variety of texts, from the Bible to Weird Tales magazine, and examples from cinema, from the classic horror film Nosferatu (1920) to the contemporary romantic comedy Ruby Sparks (2012).

Occult Collections and Mysterious Coincidences at Rutgers” by archival associate Erika Gorder calls upon the author’s experience as curator of Unheard of CuriositiesAn Exhibition of Rare Books on the Occult and Esoteric Sciences, last spring’s exhibition in Special Collections and University Archives.  Gorder explores the provenance of the Fairweather Occult Collection and the J.F.C. Fuller Papers, detailing some mysterious coincidences that inadvertently turned Rutgers into a hotbed for occult studies.

Hendrik Edelman’s “New Wine in Old Bottles:  Lempriere’s Classical Dictionary and the Development of Scholarly Publishing in America—A Bibliographic Essay” builds on the well-established tradition of bibliographies appearing in the JRUL.  Edelman, former university librarian and professor at Rutgers, traces the nearly 200-year publishing history of John Lemprière’s Bibliotheca Classica (1788), the first attempt to provide a comprehensive English reference resource in mythology and classical history.  In discussing the numerous revisions of the Bibliotheca, Edelman illuminates differences in copyright policy between England and America.

Lastly, “Who was Elizabeth Dodderidge Thorp Powell and Why is the Fact She Took Her Former Father-in-Law to Court in 1693 Important?” by Maxine Lurie, history professor emerita of Seton Hall University, is preoccupied with an East New Jersey colony court writ from 1693 that was received by the author as a retirement gift.  Beyond illuminating colonial notions of property inheritance and equity in court, Lurie’s article provides valuable insights into the multifaceted process of researching an obscure historical document.

JRUL is an open access journal that publishes articles of scholarly merit based on the holdings of the Rutgers University Libraries and in the areas of New Jersey history, Rutgersensia, bibliography, and the history of libraries, books, and printing.  For more information, visit the journal online or contact the editor.