Books, specifically the Bible, began to be divided into chapters during the early modern period to better pinpoint specific quotes and annotate accordingly. Though there were chapter separations before that, going back to Cato the Elder, the chapter is always essentially the understanding of a beginning, middle, and end to the action.


The action in The Antiquary happens during July and August of 1794, possibly somewhere in Northeast Scotland, focusing on the hero, Major Neville, who renames himself Lovel to follow to the woman he loves, Isabella Wardor, home and disguise his illegitimate birth to her father, who would disapprove of marriage otherwise. Lovel meets the neighbor of Isabella's father, Oldbuck, who we find to be the antiquary of the novel, becoming a foil to the young hero.

To investigate these pages, hover over the book and click within the highlighted areas, whichever interests you first, or start scrolling.

To read more about chapter history from The New Yorker, click on the button below.



Foxing usually refers to moisture disrupting the paper, making the aging process and the acid spread to speed up and create discoloration, usually green, while oxidation creates mostly a coppery color. Most foxing stops at a certain point, as in when moisture is removed from the equation or the book is moved, but can cause the "old book smell" that most of us associate with the joy of reading and acquiring vintage and antique books. It's probably actually mold, and most rare books dealers try to make sure that the "smell" of their books is kept to a minimum. 

This foxing and oxidation is most likely not only from moisture and exposure but also travel and use, so dirty hands and not so newly washed clothes, affecting the quality and cleanliness of the paper. 

To see the process of removing foxing and oxidation from paper from Period Fine Bindings, click on the button below. 



Epigraphs, or quotations at the beginning of documents, books, or sections, are usually thought to set the new scene for the reader with something they would have known from popular culture or context, automatically creating a tone for the chapter or volume. They can also be used as summaries, introductions, or counter-examples, though usually meant to be read in conjunction with what follows them. 

This chapter, and volume, begins with an epigraph from Chrononhotonthologos, a satirical parody play from 1734, written by English playwright Henry Carey. This play is thought to play a central role in the creation and the development of English nonsense verse. This may then set the tone of the novel as one that shouldn't be taken seriously, and one which is meant to be loved for the fun of it. 

Though it does not include any epigraphs from The Antiquary, the Tumblr blog Epigraphic is a searchable array of epigraphs from many different texts, and is linked through the button below.

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