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Rare Books Virtual Lectures

from Paradise Lost, John Milton, 1688

“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven..”

We miss our books, we miss holding our books, we miss our classroom, we miss our students, we miss putting our books in the hands of students. One fine day, we will be back.

In the meantime, we have produced a few virtual lectures using images we have collected over many years from our books.

The philosophy behind the Rare Books Department has long emphasized the importance of the book as a physical object as well as textual inspiration. Some of the most meaningful interactions with our collections occur in the classroom, where participants are able to hold history in their hands.

We extend our reach with this series of virtual lectures – part of our commitment to provide reference, research, and educational access for students, faculty, and community members.

Lectures range from 18 to 48 minutes and broach topics from the why of rare books

from Collection of Plants Found in the Arctic Regions…Henry Parkyns Hoppner, 1821

“Some books become books by accident, making them one of a kind and extremely rare.”

to a very brief history of the book

from an Arabic prayer book with Quranic verses

“The elegant Arabic alphabet lent itself to numerous decorative forms and abstract patterns, entrancing the eye even when direct images were considered sacrilege.”

to medieval manuscripts and their reach into the future

from the Godescalc Evangelistary, ca. 781

“Books reflected an appreciation for the written word and a conscientious determination that the written word was known and passed on from one generation to the next.”

to books that questioned everything and changed our view of the universe and humanity

from Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, Mary Shelley, 1831

“The anonymity here was not a matter of dangerous religious or political rhetoric, but because it was written by a woman.”

to the rich heritage of Latinx writings captured by book artists

from Gonzalez Videla el Laval de la America Latina, Pablo Neruda, 1949

“A little book with a short but big message, quickly printed on inexpensive paper to hand out to the masses. It is a pamphlet not without danger associated to it. Writing it was dangerous, printing it was dangerous. Owning a copy of it was dangerous.”

to putting your own work into a creative book form

from Animal, Mineral, Vegetable Book #1, Alicia Bailey, 2013

“For even when language is lacking, we can use materiality to develop meaning in our stories.”

May these virtual lectures help soothe and salve your bibliophilic soul!

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