Two subjects very close to my heart. Who doesn’t get a little hot under the collar at the thought of incunabulae, grimoires and morocco bound folios?
Surely it’s not only me?
Some people like to dwell on photographs of young men wearing a hat and little else in order to show off a musculature as defined as an anatomical drawing , but a closed book offers far more in the way of mental stimulation, as far as I’m concerned. Also the dust jacket can be ripped and the inside filled with scrawly notations but that just makes the thing more interesting. AND you don’t have to worry about hurting its feelings or it hurting yours. Books don’t judge. Best companions ever whether hand written on vellum or $0.99 on Smashwords.
And I love museums too so was very happy to spot not one but 2 cracking book based exhibitions reviewed in the Museum’s Journal this month.
Memory Palace, at the V&A, is a temporary art exhibition based on a novel specially written for the event by Hari Kunzru. Memory Palace describes a dystopian future where all forms of learning and the recording of information have been banned. 20 artists were each given a different excerpt of the novel and asked to interpret it in their own way. Here is a video describing the process of putting the exhibition together.
If you’re in London before the 20th October why not take a look.
The other exhibition is open until the 27th October at the Bodleian Library in Oxford and has the delightful title “Magical Books: From the Middle Ages to Middle Earth”.
In it, parallels are drawn between the work of British fantasy writers and ancient texts from the library collection.
The Ashburnham Fragment is paired off with Tolkein’s own facsimile of the Book of Mazarbul, while C S Lewis’s description of Narnia echoes elements of the Ripley Scroll.
This 20 feet by 2 feet scroll describes in glorious illustrated detail the steps required to make the Philosopher’s Stone! Other modern authors are Alan Garner [The Weirdstone of Brisingamen], Susan Cooper [The Dark is Rising story cycle – please ignore the film, it was rubbish] and Philip Pullman [His Dark Materials]. You can also see the First Folio Macbeth, in the witchcraft section, and that’s not something you’ll see anywhere else.