Sunday, April 28, 2013

Benjamin R. Tucker in the Boston Globe

One of the aspects of Benjamin R. Tucker's career that has received comparatively little attention is his interest in European literature, and his translation efforts. His Five Stories a Week remains half-mythic for many of us who have devoted a lot of attention to Liberty and the Radical Review, but the same is true for quite a bit of the fiction that appeared in those magazines as well. I'll admit I've only read parts of Sarah E. Holmes' translation of Georges Sauton's "Ireland," despite all the time I have recently devoted to radical feuilleton literature. But as I have been working on migrating material from the old Libertarian Labyrinth to the new one, one of the things I've been try to do is follow up on as many of the notes and unfollowed leads tucked away in the old archive as I can, and one of the things that involved was to make sure I had a complete text of "The Handsome Orlando," Tucker's translation of a work by Oliver Chantal, which was widely published in newspapers in 1890. 

The peculiarities of newspaper archives being what they are, completing a serial can require coming at the material with a number of strategies and through a number of search engines, where possible. A long-shot Google News search didn't advance my "Handsome Orlando" search much, but it did suggest that I had been missing a real trove of Tucker translations, tucked away behind a paywall in the Boston Globe archives. The access was fairly cheap, and the search apparatus was perhaps a little less than I paid for, so the first keyword searches, on several variations of Tucker's name, returned about 50 articles by or about him, with indications of about five stories, some of them serials, that he had translated for the paper. The peculiarities of newspaper archives being what they are, a variety of other searches has brought the count to five serials, one with roughly seventy-five installments, and a total of close to 200 articles. There are also just a couple of political articles. The Globe was consistent in announcing at the end of each installment when the next would appear, so completing the research will be fairly straightforward busy-work, once I print out a couple of 1890s calendar pages. And then I'll be able to begin to tell if the stories themselves are of interest. 

But it's certainly not everyday anymore that I can add close to 200 records to one of my author bibliographies.

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