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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
Rebecca Lawton
Manuscripts

'My year in St. Andrews was one of the best in my life'‘

Published on 03 July 2018
Rebecca Lawton (M.Litt Mediaeval History 2015) has been working on a collection of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts as part of a collaborative PhD between the University of Leicester and the British Library. ILAB would like to share her original blog post to demonstrate the work and research currently taking place in the field of rare books.
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Manuscripts

Germany buys back 1000-Year old Liesborn Gospels

Published on 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.
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Manuscripts

Video link to "Walking Tour of the Medieval Book Trade in Paris" by Les Enluminures

Published on 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.
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Manuscripts

Collecting - Famous Manuscripts and the History of Handwriting

Published on 25 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.
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Manuscripts

Manuscript Collecting - An Endangered Species

Published on 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.
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Manuscripts

Rare Books on the Blog - Manuscript Road Trip: Mappa Mundi Wisconsinianae

Published on 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
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Manuscripts

50 unseen Rudyard Kipling poems discovered

Published on 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."
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Collecting Cricket Fiction

Cricket fiction may seem a small subject, but a collection could rapidly and relatively cheaply grow to several hundred items dating from 1820 to 2008. Among the earliest items would be In School and Out of School (1825) which contains a description of the game and an illustration, and Mary Mitford's Our Village (also published in the 1820's).
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Article

Melbourne Rare Book Week and 39th ANZAAB Australian Antiquarian Book Fair - July 19th to 29th, 2012

On Thursday night the The Australian and New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers (ANZAAB) launched the inaugural Melbourne Rare Book Week, which culminates in the 39th ANZAAB Australian Antiquarian Book Fair from 27th to 29th September 2012, when 35 leading Australian, English and American dealers will be exhibiting rare and valuable books, manuscripts, autographs, maps, prints and photographies of all ages and for all prices at the ANZAAB Rare Book Fair at Wilson Hall, The University of Melbourne.
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Article

Five hundred new fairytales discovered in Germany

A collection of fairytales gathered by historian Franz Xaver von Schönwerth had been locked away in an archive in Regensburg for over 150 years. Now they have been rediscovered, writes Victoria Sussens-Messerer in The Guardian
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Article

Rare Book Collector Spotlight: Modern First Editions of Moshe Prigan

Moshe Prigan is an accomplished book collector, freelance writer, and retired teacher of art and history. He lives in Haifa, Israel but searches globally to make new acquisitions for his collection. While mainly interested in English and Italian volumes of Umberto Eco, he also collects other authors including Alice Munro and Margaret Atwood. Moshe has generously shared his collecting insights with us in the following interview.
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Article

Women Who Read and Write Too Much

In 1844, French painter and caricaturist Honoré Daumierpublished Les Bas Bleus, a series of forty lithographs satirizing bluestockings, i.e. intellectual women. They turn traditional gender roles topsy-turvy and cramp a man's style. Instead of doing the laundry they hang men out to dry. Sacrebleu!
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Article

ILAB Internship in London. Part II: Sokol Books Ltd.

First of all, I'd like to mention: Sokol Books is a small London company run by Mr. Christopher Sokol himself, the founder and director, Grant McLean and Brooke Palmieri as his associates. There are also two interns: me and Laura Lebarbey, a young antiquarian bookseller from France. My first task after the London International Antiquarian Book Fair was unpacking and checking all the books together with Laura from France, and, afterwards, putting the books back into the shelves. This gave me a chance to take a closer look at the books (and to take an unplanned fitness exercise).
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