Poetry Month and ARB-Dublin's Easter Rising

By: Kevin Grace

A Voice of Insurgency     Ninety-eight years ago in 1916, the Irish Republican Brotherhood staged an uprising during Easter Week, the intent being to reclaim Ireland from the British and establish a republic.  Though the rebellion failed, as so many others had in the previous two centuries, the rising galvanized the Irish people in a way that would ultimately lead to the country’s independence following a bloody civil war.  The Easter Rising and the years following it are complicated ones in sorting out the loyalties and issues, though there has been no shortage of histories and autobiographies and polemics.

In the Rare Books Collection, there is another view of the rising: a poetry chapbook by Maeve Cavanagh.  Entitled A Voice of Insurgency, Cavanugh’s collection of verse documents the six days of the rebellion from Monday, April 24 through Saturday,April 29 and the men and women who were in the forefront of it as gunshots and cannon fire reverberated around Dublin.  Cavanagh was a dedicated supporter of the republican movement, and friends with many of the leaders of the insurgency.  Her poems capture the fear and exhilaration of that Easter week. Continue reading

Poetry Month and ARB-Phillis Wheatley's Poetry

By:  Kevin Grace

anthropodermic binding     Last week we had the pleasure of hosting an English Department lecture by visiting University of Texas professor John Rumrich on John Milton’s poetry, who spoke on the sometimes very literal connection between a physical book and an author.  In the case of Milton, Professor Rumrich related the poet’s work to the curious custom that developed in the 18th century of binding books in human skin.  And, in preparation for his remarks, Rumrich examined the Archives & Rare Books Library’s anthropodermic binding.

An odd volume in our holdings for over half a century, this binding encloses the poetry of Phillis Wheatley, an 18th century African American poet.  Though there is no indication at all that the binding has a connection to the poet in any way, and really is an altogether other topic for discussion, it did call our attention to the Wheatley body of work, appropriate enough for a month devoted to poetry. Continue reading

On John Milton and "Reading Blood"

By:  Kevin Grace

On the south parapet of Blegen Library are carved these words from John Milton’s Areopagitica written in 1644:

For books are not absolutely dead things

But do contain a potencie of life in them

To be as active as those whose progeny they are.

John MiltonMilton (1608-1674) is one of the greatest poets and essayists in the English language.  The quote, which is part of his work condemning censorship and pleading for free speech, is part of the architectural design in the library, which opened as the University of Cincinnati’s Main Library in 1930.  Intended to inspire students and scholars, they are words meant both to establish the primacy of books and the written word in human culture and to draw the reader within the building to explore, to learn, to consider, and to share knowledge.

The Department of English and Comparative Literature sends this information for a lecture this Friday at 1:00 pm in 814 Blegen, the Schott Seminar Room in the Archives & Rare Books Library: Continue reading

National Poetry Month and ARB

By:  Kevin Grace

Poem Illustration of TrumpeterBecause April is celebrated as National Poetry Month, over the next few weeks the Archives & Rare Books Library will blog about some of its significant holdings in the Rare Books Collection.  Perhaps the best subject with which to begin is ARB’s outstanding collection of 18th century poetical pamphlets.  Eighteenth-century literature is one of the hallmarks of the rare books holdings, encompassing drama, poetry, fiction, philosophy, theology, travel, history, and geography.  And the core of this area is what we have traditionally called the Anonymous Poetical Pamphlet Collection.

Poem Illustration Continue reading

Culture of Books and Reading Students Deposit A Ghost Story in the Archives

By:  Kevin Grace

Recently returned from a study tour to Edinburgh, Scotland over spring break, the students in the University Honors Program seminar “The Culture of Books and Reading” added one of their assignments to the ARB website – a story entitled “The Sin-Eaters Ghost.”  A group project written by each student contributing a page, the story is just one of the assignments for this course in which the traditional and emerging reading habits and the heritage of books are explored in cultures around the world.

Edinburgh Skyline

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ARB's Final Lunchtime Lecture for 2013-2014

By:  Kevin Grace

McCay Little NemoThe Archives & Rare Books Library will hold its final “50 Minutes-1 Book” presentation of the academic year on Thursday, April 17, at 12 noon in 814 Blegen Library.  Greg Hand, associate vice president for Government Relations and University Communications, will talk about Winsor McCay, a recognized pioneer of American comic strips.   McCay’s genius as an artist, cartoonist and animator has been hailed by Maurice Sendak and celebrated by a “Google Doodle.” His “Little Nemo In Slumberland” is recognized as the pinnacle of comic strip art and his “Gertie The Dinosaur” was unsurpassed until the Golden Age of Walt Disney and Chuck Jones. It is little known that McCay spent 13 years in Cincinnati. Continue reading

A Heart-Shaped Book for Lovers

By Mark Palkovic, CCM Library

In honor of St. Valentine’s Day this Friday, the CCM Library and the Archives and Rare Books Library present an item from the Rare Books Collection, Le Chansonnier Cordiforme, or Chansonnier de Jean de Montchenu. The original manuscript dates from the 1470s and is owned by the Bibliothèque de France (Ms. Occ. Rothschild 2973). The UC Libraries’ copy is a facsimile of the original, bound in red velvet and created by Vicent García Editores of Valencia, Spain in 2007.

Open book

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Upcoming 50 Minutes-1 Book Lunchtime Talk and Welcome Reception for Eira Tansey

smallbookThe December presentation for 50 Minutes-1 Book features CCM Librarian Mark Palkovic talking about the new “World’s Smallest Book!” It is a 22-page micro-book measuring just 0.75 millimeters (or for the metric-impaired, 0.03 inches). Entitled Shiki no Kusabana, this book of flowers was published by Toppan Printing in Japan. Toppan printed the volume using its ultrafine printing technology, the same method used to avoid forgery of paper currency.

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