Saturday, October 14, 2017

Things that need to be done - reprint 'Poems on Different Subjects' by Francis Boyle (1812)

This letter in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle of New York in 1916 refers to one poem (in standard English) from this almost-extinct edition. There is one copy in Belfast Central Library, or there was about 5 year ago. There had been one in Linen Hall Library but when I went looking back then it couldn’t be found. Over the years libraries have been the subject of ‘steal-to-order’ rumours but I have no evidence of that. Certainly there used to be books in libraries which now can’t be found. Hence the absolute urgency of getting them back into the public domain again.

I had a call from a reporter a few weeks ago, he wanted some comments for a piece he was writing. The question was “what needs to be done to support the language?”. Dead simple. Put the historic printed literature back into the hands and homes of the places it sprang from in the first place. In a form that people will find engaging, persuasive and relevant.

It’s not a hard thing to do. But it hasn’t been done.

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