Monday, August 1, 2011

Where can I learn more about Hoyle's writing?

Here I list the seven best bibliographical sources for the writings of Edmond Hoyle, along with my comments about each source. Modesty prevents me from adding this blog or my own publications to the list! With the exception of Marshall, all are enumerative, rather than descriptive bibliographies. (see Belanger for definitions).

Marshall, Julian. “Books on Gaming,” Parts 1-13, Notes and Queries
  • 7th ser., 7 (June 15, 1889): 461-2, (June 22, 1889): 481-2. Available for download (~60MB). 
  • 7th ser., 8 (July 6, 1889): 3-4, (July 20, 1889): 42-3, (August 3, 1889): 83-4, (August 24, 1889): 144-5, (September 14, 1889): 201-2, (October 5, 1889): 262-4, (November 2, 1889): 343-4, (November 23, 1889): 404-5, (December 21, 1889): 482-3. Available for download (~60MB).
  • 7th ser. 9 (January 11, 1890): 24-5, (February 22, 1890): 142-4. Available for download (~60MB).  
Marshall was the first bibliographer of Hoyle in a series of articles in Notes and Queries. He provided descriptions of all the editions he knew about through the "fourteenth" edition. As I discuss in Was Hoyle a "Careless Editor?", Marshall's writing has too often taken on a life its own by the uncritical researcher. Nonetheless, Marshall is the essential starting point for any work on Hoyle. His enthusiasm for the literature and the joy he finds in a new discovery permeate the writing.

Horr, Norton Townsend. A Bibliography of Card-Games and of the History of Playing-Cards. Cleveland: Charles Orr. 1892. 
Reprinted in Frederic Jessel and Norton T. Horr. Bibliographies of Works on Playing Cards and Gaming. A reprint of A Bibliography of Works in English on Playing Cards and Gaming by Frederic Jessel and A Bibliography of Card Games and of the History of Playing-Cards by Norton T. Horr. Montclair: Patterson Smith, 1972. Available for free download (2MB) from the Google eBookStore.
Horr was a collector of books about gaming and, finding no check list, he compiled his own. Horr lists about 1350 books on gaming in English and many continental languages. He clearly was not aware of the earlier work by Marshall, and his list of early Hoyles has many inaccuracies. The major defect of Horr is that he had not seen most of the books he listed--he relied on other lists and catalogues. Certainly for English books, Horr was quickly superseded by Jessel...

Jessel, Frederic. A Bibliography of Works in English on Playing Cards and Gaming. London: Longmans, Green, and Co. 1905.
Reprinted in facsimile as noted under Horr, above. Available for free download (6MB) from Google eBookStore.  
Jessel worked at the Bodleian Library and over the course of more than three decades built up a personal collection of 3400 works on gaming, which he left to the Bodleian. He listed 1700 English language books in his bibliography, including many dozens of editions of Hoyle. Although the bibliography is enumerative, Jessel annotated many of the listings. The Bodleian has three copies of his bibliography with his hand-made corrections (shelf marks Jessel d.136, d.137 and d.138). The few errors and omissions in his listings of early Hoyle have generally been corrected in one or more of those copies. Jessel remains the first place to look for nineteenth century and earlier gaming literature in English.

Hargrave, Catherine Perry. “Bibliography” in A History of Playing Cards and a Bibliography of Cards and Gaming. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1930, 368-446. Reprinted in facsimile New York: Dover. 1966.

Hargrave is not a bibliography as such, but a catalogue of the collection of the United States Playing Card Company. The collection, unfortunately no longer open to the public, is fabulous. One only wishes that Hargrave better understood what she was looking at. She erroneously misplaces some editions of Hoyle in a section called "Gamesters" rather than in "Hoyle" because the Irish reprints were called The Polite Gamester and the "ninth" edition was called The Accurate Gamester's Companion. She lists the "ninth" edition of Pigott's New Hoyle (clearly 19th century as the "fifth" edition is dated 1800) earlier than the genuine "tenth" edition (1750) because of the stated edition. Despite her misconceptions about the literature, the description of the collection is much fun to read. Would only that the library reopen!

Rather, John and Goldwater, Walter. According to Hoyle… 1742-1850. A bibliography of editions by or based on the writings of Edmond Hoyle. New York: University Place, 1983.

Chess player Walter Goldwater was researching a chess bibliography through the year 1850. When he ran into health issues he abandoned that project, but worked with his bookseller friend John Rather to bring out a bibliography of Hoyle, since so many of the early chess books were by him. They were well familiar with the works of Marshall and Jessel and identified 159 editions in English through 1850 and listed another twenty translations. Rather and Goldwater is clearly more complete than anything that came before, yet there are occasional ghosts and omissions.

Depaulis, Thierry. Les Loix du Jeu. Bibliographie de la Littérature Technique des Jeux de Cartes en Français avant 1800. Suivie d’un supplément couvrant les années 1800-1850. Paris: Cymbalum Mundi, 1994.

Depaulis is now the definitive source for the French literature of card games, supplanting Horr. Among the more than 300 entries are twenty editions of Hoyle, beginning with a 1761 translation from the 1750 London edition and reprints of Hoyle in the French gaming anthology Académie Universelle des Jeux. The introduction to the bibliography provides a thoughtful international history of gaming literature.

Zollinger, Manfred. "Whist-Regeln in Kontinentaleuropa bis 1800" The Playing-Card 33 (3): 198-210. (Jan-Mar 2005). Available for download (2MB).

Zollinger's most important work is his bibliography in German of gaming literature through 1700. He had hoped to write a second volume covering the the 18th century, but the project was unfortunately interrupted. We are fortunate to see the partial fruits of his research in an article in The Playing Card covering continental translations of Hoyle through 1800. Zollinger traces the spread of Hoyle from English first to Portuguese, then German, French and Italian, not to mention Dutch, Danish and Russian.The article is important both for its bibliographical content and for the discussion of the cultural transmission of games and gaming literature throughout Europe.

My long-term plan is to write a descriptive bibliography of editions of Hoyle through 1800, together with the history of their publication. The seven works listed here provide much of the foundation, yet there is a huge gap between a listing in an enumerative bibliography and a description of the physical book. As you have seen elsewhere in this blog, particularly in the essays about cancels, the physical book can reveal much about its publication history. Despite all the scholarship discussed above, I have a great deal of work to do!

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