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The Commonplace Book of William Byrd II of Westover (Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia) Hardcover – March 26, 2001


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The commonplace book allows scholars to penetrate the interior world of this complex and often contradictory figure." -- Times Literary Supplement

Review

Byrd's commonplace book stands as a major example of [a] kind of reflective writing, another window into the mind of an extraordinary American. . . . A welcome addition to the list of William Byrd's published works.--Journal of Southern History|Scholars and Byrd aficionados alike will welcome the chance to deepen their understanding of this prolific colonial planter, whose legendary efforts at self-fashioning have long fascinated students of gender and colonial identity.--Kathleen M. Brown, University of Pennsylvania|Here the rage William Byrd II expressed against women and enslaved Africans can be seen as a reflection of a deep hatred of himself projected onto others. This extraordinary publication allows us all to investigate the process by which he altered this self-view, and his world view.--Mechal Sobel, University of Haifa|This edition of Byrd's commonplace book is a precious gift. . . . Much more than a record of a gentleman's response to his reading, it registers his struggles with the competing demands of public and private life, metropolitan and colonial identity, politeness and passion, self-mastery and sexual abandon. . . . An extraordinary entry to the interior life of eighteenth-century culture.--Lawrence E. Klein, Emmanuel College, Cambridge University-->|A lively and at times fascinating commonplace book. . . . Now . . . we have a carefully edited text of this commonplace book together with a wealth of related scholarly materials designed to make The Commonplace Book of William Byrd II of Westover at once more accessible and useful to general readers as well as academics.--Washington Times|In this beautifully edited commonplace book, we are given the record of what one intelligent, well-born, but otherwise common reader from three centuries ago thought worth keeping and thinking about. . . . Here we have the print culture of the past filtered through the mind of someone who confronted it daily.--Thomas W. Laqueur, University of California, Berkeley|An excellent foundation for further scholarly studies. This is a marvelous contribution to the understanding of an important man, an important document, an important era of human history.--Virginia Quarterly Review|This edition of Byrd's commonplace book, with its illuminating introduction and erudite commentary, is a precious gift to students of eighteenth-century culture on both sides of the Atlantic. Much more than a record of a gentleman's response to his scientific, literary, religious, and moralist reading, it registers his struggles with the competing demands of public and private life, metropolitan and colonial identity, politeness and passion, self-mastery and sexual abandon. It is an extraordinary entry to the interior life of eighteenth-century culture.--Lawrence E. Klein, Emmanuel College, Cambridge University|Regardless of whether you have found Byrd fascinating or care about the discussions historians have had about how to interpret him, the commonplace book by itself is certainly interesting. It indicates clearly just how curious his mind was and how eclectic his reading.--Richmond Times-Dispatch|The publication of [William Byrd's] commonplace book covering the period 1721 to 1726 is a major event. . . . The commonplace book allows scholars to penetrate the interior world of this complex and often contradictory figure, scion of a wealthy slaveholding family, dilettante, politician, businessman and man of letters.--Times Literary Supplement|For its scholarship, scope, and intellectual acumen, The Commonplace Book of William Byrd II of Westover deserves a wide audience. It is a model of single-author studies for contemporary scholarship.--Early American Literature|Greatly enriches our understanding of this complex, insecure, accomplished Virginian/Londoner and the society in which he worriedly flourished . . . . This is a marvelous contribution to the understanding of an important man, an important document, important era of human history.--Virginia Quarterly Review|This splendid edition of [Byrd's] commonplace book…reveal[s] the fuller dimensions of a man immersed in the print culture of the early eighteenth-century English-speaking world. The thoughtful introduction by the editors and the careful scholarship contained in the commentary on individual entries provides us with an excellent passport into that world. This book and its scholarly presentation will be of importance to those interested in the cultural and intellectual life of both early eighteenth-century England and of colonial America.--East-Central Intelligencer|[The editors] have done early American and early modern studies a great favor in producing this fine edition of [Byrd's] commonplace book.--William and Mary Quarterly|If I were asked to rank Virginia Historical Society's manuscript collection, William Byrd II's commonplace book would end up near the top because of the insights it gives us into one of the most remarkable men in colonial Virginia history. Colorful, irreverent, illuminating, never dull, this unique document should quickly take its place among the invaluable published primary sources on early American history.--Charles F. Bryan Jr., Virginia Historical Society
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Product Details

  • Series: Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; First Edition edition (March 26, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080782612X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807826126
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,466,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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The Commonplace Book of William Byrd II of Westover (Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia)
This item: The Commonplace Book of William Byrd II of Westover (Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia)
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