Peering Into the Exquisite Life of Rare Books
The Rare Book School in The New York Times
"On a steamy morning last week Mark Dimunation, the chief of the rare book and special collections division at the Library of Congress, was in a windowless basement room here at the University of Virginia, leading a dozen people in a bibliophile’s version of the wave. He lined up the group and handed each person a sheet of copier paper with a syllable written on it. After a few halting practice runs — “Hip-na-rah-toe ...” — the group successfully shouted out, “ ‘Hypnerotomachia Poliphili,’ 1499!
The phrase wasn’t an incantation ripped from the pages of a lost Dan Brown novel, but the title and publication date of a long erotic love poem printed in Venice by Aldus Manutius and often described as one of the weirdest and most beautiful books ever produced.
And the occasion was just an ordinary class meeting at Rare Book School, an institution whose football team, if it existed, might well take “Hypnerotomachia Poliphili!” as its official rallying cry."
Snippets from Jennifer Schuessler's article on one of the most important institutions for young booksellers and the whole rare book trade: Rare Book School at the University of Virginia.