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ILAB Library - All You Need To Know About Rare Books and the Antiquarian Book Trade

  • [+] More Germany buys back 1000-Year old Liesborn Gospels 

    Germany buys back 1000-Year old Liesborn Gospels
    Published since 30 Aug 2017

    Printing with movable types was only invented 500 years later, the Liesborn Gospel from the year 980, one of the oldest manuscripts still in private possession has now returned to its original place, the diocese of Münster in Germany after a 3Mill Euro investment by the German state and a number of regional trusts. 

  • [+] More Video link to "Walking Tour of the Medieval Book Trade in Paris" by Les Enluminures 

    Video link to "Walking Tour of the Medieval Book Trade in Paris" by Les Enluminures
    Published since 15 May 2017
    On April 8, 2017, Christopher de Hamel and Sandra Hindman led a "Walking Tour of the Medieval Book Trade in Paris". Setting off from Notre-Dame, the small group of participants had the opportunity to step into the Middle Ages and learn all about the life and practice of illuminators, scribes, printers and binders. In the video - see link below - Les Enluminures presents snippets from the guided tour to discover. 
  • [+] More COLOUR: The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts 

    COLOUR: The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts
    Published since 04 Aug 2016

    A brilliant exhibition of illuminated manuscripts opened this weekend at the Fitzwilliam Museum. If you have any chance of getting to Cambridge before the end of the year this is something you absolutely should not miss.

  • [+] More Collecting - Famous Manuscripts and the History of Handwriting 

    Collecting - Famous Manuscripts and the History of Handwriting
    Published since 27 Jan 2016

    In the digital age, it is no secret that calligraphy is a dying art. Why work laboriously and imperfectly on something that takes days to cross the country, when the computer will set it in flawless text that can be transmitted instantly? A careful look at the grand history of handwriting is not kind to the craft, either. Some historians consider Gutenberg’s press, the very device that liberated us from writing by hand, to be the single most important invention of the second millennium. Not only did it make books more accessible, it gave the works themselves unprecedented longevity. Think of all the masterpieces of antiquity (if you can bear) that were lost to rot and ruin because scribes could only produce a handful of them at a time. Aeschylus wrote some eighty plays, of which only seven survive. Shakespeare may have suffered a similar fate, as a writer who luckily had the printing press to immortalize his works - he leaves us with nearly nothing written by hand.

  • [+] More Manuscript Collecting - An Endangered Species 

    Manuscript Collecting - An Endangered Species
    Published since 27 Nov 2013

    I am the owner of Barry R. Levin Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature, a firm of rare book dealers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, and I was discussing with her the acquisition of a manuscript written by one of her authors. When I say manuscript, I mean the physical artifact — the words on the paper. Manuscripts are the most important literary collectible and over the years my firm has handled many of the major ones, a number of them for award-winning novels. We always try to purchase all notes and drafts, so that the creative process can be traced from the original idea to the final setting-copy. To that end I asked Perkins to make sure that her client included in the final manuscript package the final draft, the setting-copy (this is the manuscript copy sent to publisher from which the publisher's printer sets the type). She told me that the author had submitted his copy on a disk - that no setting-copy was sent to the publisher at all. From the standpoint of collectors, archivists and literary scholars, this has to be the last straw.

  • [+] More Rare Books on the Blog - Manuscript Road Trip: Mappa Mundi Wisconsinianae 

    Rare Books on the Blog - Manuscript Road Trip: Mappa Mundi Wisconsinianae
    Published since 11 Nov 2013

    Lisa Fagin Davis is currently serving as Acting Executive Director of the Medieval Academy of America. Since 1996 she has been travelling through North America collecting data on the numbers and cataloguing status of pre-1600 manuscripts. Her blog Manuscript Road Trip takes readers on a (virtual) state-by-state tour of manuscripts focusing on less-well-known collections, some of them in very surprising locations. Read her recent blog post

  • [+] More 50 unseen Rudyard Kipling poems discovered 

    50 unseen Rudyard Kipling poems discovered
    Published since 26 Feb 2013

    “Kipling scholars are celebrating the publication of lost poems by the author whose exhortations in "If" to "keep your head when all about you / Are losing theirs and blaming it on you" are regularly voted the nation's favourite poem. Discovered by the American scholar Thomas Pinney in an array of hiding places including family papers, the archive of a former head of the Cunard Line and during renovations at a Manhattan house, more than 50 previously unpublished poems by Rudyard Kipling will be released for the first time next month.”

  • [+] More Rare Books in the Press: Saluting a Serial Seducer and His Steamy Tell-All 

    Rare Books in the Press: Saluting a Serial Seducer and His Steamy Tell-All
    Published since 30 Nov 2011

    “Giacomo Girolamo Casanova was a gambler, swindler, diplomat, lawyer, soldier, alchemist, violinist, traveler, pleasure seeker and serial seducer. He was also a prolific writer who documented his adventures and love affairs in a steamy memoir that is one of the literary treasures of the 18th century. Born in Venice, he considered France his adopted country but was forced to flee Paris in 1760 after seducing the wives and daughters of important subjects of King Louis XV and cheating them out of their money.”

  • [+] More Buried Books - The Cairo Genizah 

    Buried Books - The Cairo Genizah
    Published since 30 Jun 2011

    Linda Hedrick has discovered a very special place in Egypt: "The most famous for both its size and contents is the Cairo Genizah. Almost 180,000 Jewish manuscript fragments were found in the genizah of the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Old Cairo. More fragments were found in the Basatin Cemetery east of Old Cairo, and some old documents were bought in Cairo in the late 19th century. The first European to "discover" them was Simon van Geldern (an ancestor of Heinrich Heine, the 19th century poet) who visited the synagogue about 1752."

  • [+] More Rare Books in the Press: New York Public Library Buys Timothy Leary’s Papers 

    Rare Books in the Press: New York Public Library Buys Timothy Leary’s Papers
    Published since 16 Jun 2011

    “’The first time I took psilocybin - 10 pills - was in the fireside social setting in Cambridge,’ Ginsberg wrote in a blow-by-blow description of his experience taking synthesized hallucinogenic mushrooms at Leary’s stately home. At one point Ginsberg, naked and nauseated, began to feel scared, but then ‘Professor Leary came into my room, looked in my eyes and said I was a great man.’ Ginsberg’s ‘session record,’ composed for Leary’s research, was in one of the 335 boxes of papers, videotapes, photographs and more that the New York Public Library is planning to announce that it has purchased from the Leary estate. The material documents the evolution of the tweedy middle-aged academic into a drug guru, international outlaw, gubernatorial candidate, computer software designer and progenitor of the Me Decade’s self-absorbed interest in self-help.”