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Couple's book on H.G. Wells' cartoons to be celebrated May 25

Andrea Lynn, Humanities Editor
217-333-2177; andreal@uiuc.edu

5/24/2006

Gene and Margaret Rinkel
Click photo to enlarge
Photo by L. Brian Stauffer
Local authors Gene Rinkel, a U. of I. librarian, and Margaret Rinkel, a former high school English teacher, display their collaboration: “The Picshuas of H.G. Wells: A Burlesque Diary,” published by the University of Illinois Press.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is hosting a celebration for a new book conceived and born right under its roof.

The event, a book signing, discussion and reception, is in honor of local authors Gene Rinkel, a librarian at Illinois, and Margaret Rinkel, a former high school English teacher, and of their collaboration on “The Picshuas of H.G. Wells: A Burlesque Diary,” published by the University of Illinois Press. (“Picshua” is a cockney pronunciation of “picture.”)

The free and public event begins at 3 p.m. Thursday (May 25) in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, 346 Main Library, 1408 W. Gregory Drive, Urbana.

Gene Rinkel is the curator of special collections, including the H.G. Wells Collection, at Illinois’ Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Since retiring from teaching, Margaret Rinkel is a frequent Rare Book Library volunteer.

The Rinkels’ new book, which is being published this month, is an original analysis of the collaboration of another literary couple, the prodigious author H.G. Wells and his second wife, Amy Catherine Robbins, later to be known as “Jane” Wells.

The Rinkel book analyzes the heretofore-unexplored territory of hundreds of cartoons the famous author sketched for his wife during their 30-year relationship, which although literarily productive, was also highly unconventional and unusually conflicted.

For their research, the Rinkels drew primarily from Illinois’ Wells Collection, considered to be the largest and most important Wells archive in the world.

The U. of I. Rare Book & Manuscript Library bought the first group of Wells materials in 1954, and having secured right of first refusal, has added successive acquisitions through the years.