Characters of the Present Most Celebrated

Jessica Grose’s article “Before Lindsay or Paris, There Was Mrs. L_fle: Imagine Lindsay Lohan in 18th-century England” in today’s New York Times details the dish behind the new novel The Scandal of the Season recently published by Princeton English professor, Sophie Gee. The novel is a “a fictionalized account of the true story behind Alexander Pope’s 1712 poem, ‘The Rape of the Lock.’ ” • “The idea of gossip and scandal and celebrity culture that we have today was really coming into being in 18th-century London” notes Prof. Gee. The article is based on Ms. Grose’s interview last month with Prof. Gee in the Library. The color photograph of Prof. Gee was taken at the window of the first floor seminar room in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections in Firestone. • During the interview, Prof. Gee showed and discussed the following books from the rare book collections: Characters of the Present Most Celebrated Courtesans Exposed, With a Variety of Secret Anecdotes Never Before Published (London, 1780), The History of Betty Bolaine, the Canterbury Miser, Containing an Account of Her Avarice, Whimsical Amours, and Wonderful Escapes from Matrimony (1805?), Town and Country Magazine (London, 1769 ff) and The Spectator (London, 1711 ff). Some titles, such as The Spectator, have been in the collections for years, but, others, such as Betty Bolaine have been added as part of a recent effort to deepen the literary holdings to include popular and / or ephemeral narratives.