On Friday 29th and Saturday 30th April 2016, the Department of Italian here in TCD is hosting the Society for Italian Studies Interim Conference ‘Turning Points: Cultures of transition, transformation and transmission in Italy’. To coincide with this, Professors Corinna Salvadori-Lonergan and Cormac Ó Cuilleanáin, in conjunction with the Department of Early Printed Books, have prepared an exhibition in the Long Room of some of our Italian treasures.
April 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of the death of both William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes, both of whom are the best-known writers in their respective countries of birth. They died, in fact, on consecutive days: Cervantes on the 22nd April, Shakespeare on the 23rd. The former was probably 68 years old, the latter younger at 52. The Library holds many editions of their works, both in their native languages and in translation, dating from the 16th century to the present day. Three editions of “Don Quixote” have been chosen to go on display at the entrance to the Berkeley Library, in celebration of the quatercentenary of the Spanish writer’s death and the enduring popularity of his great novel.
We recently received an enquiry from Dr Ian Doyle, former Keeper of Rare Books at Durham University Library, about two printed books from our collections with an intriguing provenance. The volumes form parts two and three of a six-volume set of a Latin Bible with the commentary of Nicholas de Lyra (c. 1270-1349), printed by Johann Froben and Johann Petri de Langendorff in Basel in 1498. Our two volumes, at shelfmark FF.dd.4-5, are recorded as having once been connected to a cell of Durham’s Benedictine cathedral priory of St Cuthbert by evidence of an ownership mark belonging to a monk of one of its religious houses.1 The volumes bear the inscription of Christopher Wyllye, monk of Durham, transcribed here from the first leaf of FF.dd.5: Liber dompni Xtoferi Wyllye monachi Dunelmensis.
Two of our regular visiting researchers, Professor Andrew Pettegree (a Long Room Hub Fellow) and Arthur der Weduwen, both from the University of St. Andrews School of History, have been living in the reading room for the past fortnight, working their way through about 2,500 pamphlets in the Fagel Collection and identifying, with a hit-rate of 12-13%, unique copies for the Universal Short Title Catalogue, of which Andrew is director.
… and a happy, peaceful and healthy New Year.
Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin, is closed 24 December 2015 – 3 January 2016 inclusive.
The reading room will open as usual at 10am on Monday 4th January and, as we are immediately in term-time hours, will remain open until 8pm on Tuesday and Wednesday of that week. We look forward to welcoming you back.
Christmas is a time for homecomings and in EPB we are delighted to welcome back a copy of William Wittich’s ‘A lexicon to Homer …’ (London, 1843). The volume, originally part of the old lending library, has been away for some time.
In September we received an envelope containing the book, a note and a cheque for €34 from Arthur Pritchard in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire. Arthur, who graduated from TCD in 1965, had visited the College for the August alumni celebrations this year and thoughtfully brought along the volume which he had recently discovered when clearing out his loft! Unfortunately the Library was closed when he attempted to return the work in person. His humorous note includes a photograph of his valiant effort to return the overdue text. Arthur’s generous cheque more than makes up for any accrued fines!
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was written in 1865 by the mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898) under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. The story of the title character’s fall down a rabbit hole, the strange creatures she meets and the odd circumstances in which she finds herself have made this fantasy one of the most popular children’s books ever written.
The first print run, of 2,000 copies, was suppressed because John Tenniel, the illustrator, objected to the ‘disgraceful’ print quality and fewer than 25 of these withdrawn copies survive. A new edition was released in time for the Christmas market the same year, but carrying an 1866 date. Trinity’s copy is at shelfmark Press K.3.7.
The Department was delighted to host the Masters Students from the Literature and Publishing Group (NUIG) on their recent trip to Dublin. Led by Dr. Rebecca Barr the group also visited the Royal Irish Academy and Marsh’s Library. It was interesting to learn from Dr. Barr that the taught course includes a module on book history and early modern print and manuscript cultures. As well as the working though the modules the students are also responsible for the publication of the annual edition of ROPES: review of postgraduate studies. Busy people! The trip to the library included a tour of the Old Library by Anne- Marie Diffley (Visitors Services) and a presentation by Shane Mawe on the role of the Library with a display drawn from the collections.
Durante degli Alighieri, usually known simply as Dante, was born in Florence, probably in 1265. He held various political posts and was among the White Guelphs exiled in 1302. An amnesty was offered in 1315 but Dante refused it as it involved a heavy fine and public penance. He died in 1321, never having returned to his native city and was buried in Ravenna. Florentines eventually came to regret his absence – an empty tomb was built in 1829 in the hope of repatriating his remains and in 2008 the city council finally passed a motion rescinding his sentence.