ATG Book of the Week: Bodleian Library Treasures

by | Aug 15, 2020 | 0 comments

Title: Bodleian Library Treasures
Author: David Vaisey
Hardcover: 978-1851244775, $60; Paperback: 978-1851244089, $35
Imprint: Oxford: Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, 2018; 2015

Since its founding, the Bodleian Library has become home to treasures from throughout history and every corner of the globe. From among this remarkable and historically rich collection, David Vaisey has selected nearly one hundred treasures with a particularly fascinating story to tell.

Rare books, music, manuscripts, ephemera, and maps, many of the treasures photographed and described for this lavish volume are well-loved around the world, from Jane Austen’s manuscript of The Watsons to notebooks created by the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, a map of Narnia drawn by C. S. Lewis, and the original manuscript of the renowned children’s work The Wind in the Willows. Others are known for their beauty or historical significance, including the Gutenberg Bible, Magna Carta, and the extraordinary medieval manuscript the Douce Apocalypse. Still others hold poignant stories like the small handwritten book presented as a New Year’s present in 1545 to Katherine Parr by an eleven-year-old stepdaughter who would later become Queen Elizabeth I. Vaisey brings these and other treasures together in chronological order, showcasing the Bodleian Library’s renowned collections.

Review

Vaisey has culled remarkable treasures . . . from the [Bodleian Library’s] renowned collection, detailing their enthralling stories in this magnificently illustrated book. Lavish and informative, Bodleian Library Treasures offers a generous sampling of the riches, giving readers an in-depth look at some of history’s finest literary works.”, Boston Globe 

“Undoubtedly one of the most gorgeous and lavish of such picture-book introductory guides to famous libraries’ collections the world over. . . . The sheer variety of treasures is astonishing.”, Library and Information History

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