Poets & Writers

Secrets Hidden in the Stacks

of Virginia(UVA) professor Andrew Stauffer sent his class to the library in the fall of 2009, he expected them to focus on the printed text of the books they brought back. But Stauffer and his students soon realized that was just one story being told in these volumes. While looking at nineteenth-century copies of work by Felicia Hemans, a poet wildly beloved at the time for her sentimental verse, the students were immediately drawn to everything else happening in these books: not just the expected underlining and dog-ears, but bookplates, diary entries, letters, quotes, pressed flowers, and readers’ own poetic flights of

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