Sunday, May 04, 2008

Links & Reviews

- ILAB has made the 8th edition of John Carter's ABC for Book Collectors is available online in PDF form here.

- The BBC reports today that Vivaldi's long-lost opera "Argippo," which debuted in Prague back in 1730, has been performed for the first time in 278 years after "most of the score was discovered in Germany by a young Czech musician [Ondrej Macek] who completed the missing parts."

- A new exhibition at the University of Virginia, ""The Monster Among Us: 'Frankenstein' from Mary Shelley to Mel Brooks.", "documents various reactions to Mary Shelley's story: not only printed editions in cloth and paper, but also Frankenstein comic books, Frankenstein movies (and stills and posters), Frankenstein masks and clothing, Frankenstein dishware – even Frankenstein breakfast cereal. The exhibition explores how the monster has interacted with American culture over the past century and more." The show was curated by UVa student Shannon Gorman and coordinated through Terry Belanger's Rare Book School.

- LIS News noted that Encylopaedia Britannica is offering free access to certain bloggers; I've signed up and received my subscription, so look for more links to EB articles in upcoming posts.

- Laura found several interesting book-related films over at the Internet Archive. Check them out.

- Ian notes a new exhibit at the National Library of Medicine of materials from the library's "Bathtub Collection" (materials found in the old bindings when rare books in the library were conserved"). Some fascinating discoveries.

- The Harry Ransom Center at UT Austin has acquired an eight-volume Plantin Polyglot bible (1568-1572), which contains "parallel texts in Hebrew, Greek, Syriac and Aramaic with translations and commentary in Latin." [h/t RBN]

- J.L. Bell does some mythbusting about Washington's first inauguration - turns out that whole "so help me God" ad-lib addition to the oath probably didn't happen. He also passes along this Times-Union article about conservation efforts at the New York State Archives (to repair some of the damage caused by the catastrophic 1911 fire).

- The Scotsman reported this week that "A selection of poems by the man hailed as the world's worst poet are set to fetch up to £6500 when they go under the hammer. Edinburgh-born William Topaz McGonagall has been mocked more than any other bard for his unintentionally humorous writing. Thirty-five of his original poems are to be sold at the Lyon and Turnbull auction house in the Capital next month." [Update: Paul Collins has more, including a link to the online database of McGonagall's poems and a sampler.]

- Travis recommends (and highly, too), Jason Shiga's graphic novel Bookhunter.

- Rare Book Review reports that a complete set of John Gould's books of bird illustrations sold for $2.4 million at Christie's on 30 April as part of the Foljambe Collection. Quite a few other notable examples of illustrated books and early printing.

- The Legacy Libraries VSL debut garnered another very nice mention, in the LATimes book-blog Jacket Copy.


- Chuck Leddy reviews The Man Who Made Lists for the Boston Globe.

- Tony Horwitz's new book, A Voyage Long and Strange is reviewed this weekend by Andrew Ferguson for the NYTimes, Nina Burleigh for the Washington Post, and Roland Merullo for the Boston Globe.

- In the NYTimes, Laura Miller reviews Christopher Benfey's A Summer of Hummingbirds: Love, Art, and Scandal in the Intersecting Worlds of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Martin Johnson Heade. Sounds like a rather strange book, although Miller writes that it is "very pleasant to float alongside so curious and playful a writer as he drifts from one anecdote or observation to the next."

- Leo Hollis' The Phoenix: St. Paul's Cathedral and the Making of Modern London is reviewed by Roderick Graham for The Scotsman. This will be published on this side of the pond as London Rising: The Men Who Made Modern London by Walker & Company later this month.