Notes from the Archive, Lilly Library Edition

I’ve been at I.U. in Bloomington all week, looking at the American proofs of Mrs. Dalloway. On my first day here, Tuesday, I sailed through the first forty pages in an hour, but then I needed a break, so I looked around to get my bearings. There are all these nice looking graduate students walking around, feeling happy and proud to be working here. The two men who are working the desk were English grad students, I think. One was reading Shakespeare in a big one-volume edition and the other was studying for his Old Irish exam.

The proofs came out of the vault magnificently wrapped, in a gold or bright orange slipcase--fabric covering hard boards--with a red spine. From this, the archivist extracted a folder of the same golden cardboard. Within that folder, a cream-colored box made of thin paper, like a file folder. Finally, within that, the proofs themselves.

They are modest. Small. They are on yellowing but sturdy book-quality paper and look just like unbound pages of a book--which is, of course, what proofs are. But in this computer-driven age, proofs don’t look this way.

On the first page, stamped in purple is FIRST PROOF. At the bottom of the page, also in purple ink, is a stamp reading R. & R. CLARK at the top, EDIN---(it fades out to the bottom & right) within the double lines of the oval. In the middle, it reads 13 JAN 1925.