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New Exhibit! Terrific Tales: From Fairies to Fables

fairy-tale-cover

“Terrific Tales: From Fairies to Fables” on exhibit in the Library Colonnade.  The exhibit is brought to you by Special Collections and will be on display July 1st –  August 15th.

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New exhibit! Beyond Words: Visual Narratives from the Block Book to the Graphic Novel

Beyond Words: Visual Narratives from the Block Book to the Graphic Novel

Yesterday I posed a question on Facebook: What do Albrecht Durer, Thomas Rowlandson, Frans Masereel, and Art Spiegelman have in common?  The answer: they all published works of sequential art, which are now on view in our latest exhibition, Beyond Words: Visual Narratives from the Block Book to the Graphic Novel.

Beyond Words: Visual Narratives from the Block Book to the Graphic NovelIf, as the popular saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, then pictures and words together form an even more powerful tool for communication, expression, and storytelling than either would alone.

The materials in this exhibition are from the Rare Book Collection and the Comic Art Collection. In each, artists and writers have used sequential art to construct narratives that are complex, subtle, sophisticated, and powerful. Rather than presenting an evolutionary history of visual storytelling, these selections allow us to situate woodcuts, engravings, comic strips, and graphic novels in a long tradition of word- and image-making, in order to consider the roles of image and narrative in our culture.

Beyond Words will be on view in the Ellis Library Colonnade May 3-31, 2013.

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Giovanni Boccaccio turns 700

Giovanni Boccaccio was born seven hundred years ago in Tuscany, Italy. Special Collections and Rare Books celebrates this important anniversary by displaying editions of Boccaccio’s work as well as that of influential contemporaries and predecessors.

Il Decamerone, 1729, FlorenceBoccaccio made an inauspicious start as the illegitimate son of Boccaccino di Chellino. He was adopted by his father, but along with security and status came the duties associated with being an acknowledged scion of the merchant class. Boccaccio received training in banking and law–both of which he resented– before abandoning both for poetry.

Though Boccaccio is best known today for The Decameron, he wrote over fifteen works, many of which were valued over The Decameron in his own lifetime. Beyond the passing tides of literary taste, what remains certain is that Boccaccio’s work reflects the uncertainty of his era. Fourteenth-century Italy, with its dynastic wars, popular uprisings, and plagues favored resourcefulness. There were times to cast off the past, and there were tHistoriated Initial, Geneologia degli dei, Venice, 1547imes to cling to past models. Boccaccio began writing in the vernacular early in his career with Caccia di Diana of 1334. It is to this phase that we owe The Decameron, a work that has been called the “epic of the merchant class” and “Boccaccio’s human comedy that stands next to Dante’s Divine Comedy.” His work would take a sober turn after he became acquainted with Petrach. With Petrarch’s encouragement, Boccaccio studied the classics and began writing in Latin. To this phase we owe the existence of De genealogia deorum gentilium.

Detail, Geneologia deorum gentilium, Venice 1494Highlights of our exhibition include a combined edition of De genealogia deorum gentilium and his other reference work, de montibus & siluis de fontibus: lacubus: & fluminibus, published in 1494 in Venice. The Italian translation, Geneologia degli dei, published in 1547, also in Venice, will also be displayed. Other items of interest include sixteenth-century works of Ovid, Petrarch, Dante, and Villani. These include a first edition of the Italian translation of Dante’s De Volgare Eloquenzia.and an edition of Petrarch published by the famous printer, Aldus Manutius, in 1533. We will also display of early twentieth-Illustration from Tales from Boccaccio, New York, 1947century deluxe editions of Boccaccio’s Decameron, rated PG-13 for the portrayal  of clerics in compromising poses.

Printer's Device, De Volgare Eloquenzia, Venice, 1526

Branca, Vittore. Boccaccio: The Man and His Works, trans. Richard Monges. New York: New York UP, 1976.

Serafini-Sauli, Judith Powers. Giovanni Boccaccio. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1982.

 

 

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