Book of the Week — Fairies I Have Met


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“She noticed that the girls and boys in the books were not altogether like the girls and boys who played with her in the Square and came to tea with her. The children in the books were wonderfully brave and clever; and when they were having their magnificent adventures they always did exactly the right thing at the right moment.”

Mrs. Rodolph Stawell
London; New York: John Lane, 1907?
First edition
PZ8 S488 Fa 1907

Mrs. Stawell wrote these tales for a little girl named Penelope. This book is illustrated with eight color plates by Edmund Dulac (1882-1953), one of the premier illustrators of the golden age of children’s book. Born in Toulouse, Dulac studied art in France. He became a British citizen in 1912. He is, perhaps, best known for his illustrations for Fairies. Reviewed in the British journal Outlook in November 1907, the reviewer focuses on the detailed and whimsical illustrations of bold design. Dulac took inspiration from textile design and Japanese prints to depict the vibrant stories.


Recommended reading: For a modern-day, adult fairy tale, appropriately creepy to the season, we recommend The Changeling by Victor LaValle, in the Browsing Collection, PS3562 A8458 C48 2017

Book of the Week — A Discourse upon the Pharisee and the Publicane


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“See how ye Pharisee in the Temple stands
And justifies himself with lifted hands
Whilst ye poor publican with downcast eyes
Conscious of guilt to God for mercy cries.”

A Discourse upon the Pharisee and the Publicane…
John Bunyan (1628-1688)
London: Printed for Jo. Harris, at the Harrow, over against the Church in the Poultry, 1685
First edition

John Bunyan was born about a mile from Bedford, England in 1628. He was arrested on November 12, 1660 for preaching without the approval of the Anglican Church. He was jailed for nearly thirteen years. His best known work, The Pilgrim’s Progress, was written while in the Bedford jail. During his lifetime, about one hundred thousand copies of the work were distributed throughout the British Isles and the British American colonies. It has been continuously in print since its first printing. In spite of the popularity of his work, Bunyan was nearly penniless, a traveling tinker like his father before him. While in prison, he made shoelaces to support his family.

Printed one year after the appearance of the authentic second part of The Pilgrim’s Progress and in the same year that the Bedford magistrates ordered penal laws against Nonconformists to be enforced, Bunyan’s Discourse is a critique of the tyranny of the Church of England and of those among his readers who, like the Pharisee in the parable, prided themselves in what he considered superficial religiosity.

John Bunyan wrote during a time of phenomenal political, religious and social upheaval in England. It was also a time of remarkable literary output. Bunyan’s works kept company with those of George Herbert, Thomas Browne, Thomas Hobbes, Richard Allestree, Andrew Marvell, and others.

Illustrated with an engraved frontispiece depicting the Pharisee and the publican in the temple, within a cross-vaulted arcade. Below this is a portrait of Bunyan at age 57.



Edgar Allan Poe (Jan. 19, 1809-Oct. 7, 1849) – The Raven


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“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing”

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)
Easthampton, MA: Cheloniidae Press, 1986

First published in 1845, Poe’s narrative poem The Raven tells of a talking raven’s mysterious visit to a distraught lover, mourning the loss of his love named Lenore, and traces the man’s slow descent into madness. Although the poem did not bring Poe much financial success, its publication made him widely popular in his lifetime. While critical opinion is divided as to the poem’s literary status, it remains one of the most famous poems ever written.

Fully redesigned by Alan James Robinson, this edition of The Raven was issued in a new edition of 225 copies by Chelondiidae Press. The text, printed by Daniel Keleher at Wild Carrot Letterpress, is the original Lorimer Graham version with the author’s corrections. Wood engravings and etchings are by Alan James Robinson and printed by Harold McGrath. The paper is Magnani mould made letterpress. Bound in full leather by Daniel E. Kelm and Sarah Pringle at the Wide Wake Garage. Signed by the artist. Rare Books copy is Artist Proof number VI.

Pioneers of Science — Now Online


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photograph by Scott Beadles

“A library is as much a scientific instrument as a telescope.” — Luise Poulton

Pioneers of Science: Ten Thousand Pages That Shook the World now online.

Euclid’s Elements of Geometry was first printed in 1482, just as soon as one of the early masters of movable type figured out how to do it. Not only does the Marriott Library have this first edition, but also first editions of books by other pioneers of science: Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Galileo, Antoine Lavoisier, Carl Gauss, Charles Darwin, Michael Faraday, Louis Pasteur, Marie Curie, and more. Each of these books has its own story to tell. Together they give insight into the communication, conversation, collaboration, and controversy that made science possible: a revolution that has been going on in print for more than five hundred years.

Presented for the 2017/2018 Frontiers of Science lecture series, College of Science and College of Mines and Earth Sciences, The University of Utah

Luise Poulton, Managing Curator, Rare Books, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah

Book of the Week — Liber Moamin falconrii de Scientia venandi per aves et quadrupeds


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“In quantum enim sunt reges non habent propriam delectationem nisi venationem” — Moamin

“A wise falcon hides his talons.” — Proverb

Liber Moamin falconrii de Scientia venandi per aves et quadrupeds

Facsimile. The so-called “Wiener Moamin” was created on the Italian penisula in the second half of the 13th century at the request of Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, King of Sicily and Jerusalem, king of the Germans and the Holy Roman Empire. It is illuminated with 101 historiated initials and more than 80 miniatures. The Wiener Moamin is a Latin version of an Arabic treatise on falconry, Kitab al-mutawakkili, attributed to one Moamin by the Western world. The original content was probably inspired by two oriental hunting treatises from the 8th and 9th centuries: the falcon book of al-Gitrif and the treatise dedicated to the caliph al-Mutawakkili of Baghdad, a work written by Christian scholar, physician and translator Hunayn ib Ish aq al-Ibad who resided at the court of al-Mutawakkili between 809 and 873. These two works exist only in fragments. As early as this, falconry was embraced as an empirical science as well as a sport.

The work provides an in-depth aspect of hunting with birds and dogs, formatted in five books:

The first book focuses on birds of prey.
Books two and three are devoted to diseases of birds and tried and tested methods of healing.
The last two books deal with the keeping and care of hunting dogs.

Falconer treats a bird’s headache with massage.

The translation of the Arabic version was done by the philosopher Theodore of Antioch, a Syrian naturalist and interpreter, one of the most prominent cultural representatives of the court of Frederick II. This manual became one of the earliest to circulate in medieval Europe. Several copies survive. Copies translated into the vernacular began to appear soon after the first manual appeared

Frederick II (1194-1250) was a falconer of note and participated in correcting the work in 1240, during the siege of Faenz, near Bologna. A few years after the king worked on this book, he wrote his own on the subject, De arte venandi cum avibus. This manuscript was lost in 1248 during the siege of Parma, but other copies exist. For his work, Frederick II used several sources, including the manuscript here.

Frederick II, a larger-than-life figure, counted himself as a direct successor to the Roman Emperors. He was excommunicated four times during a lifelong power struggle the papacy. He took part in a crusade (the sixth, in 1238) and spoke six languages, including Arabic. He was married three times and had at least nine mistresses, with whom he had illegitimate offspring. He was also an avid patron of art, poetry, literature, and architecture.

Frederick II ruled over most of what is now Italy and Germany as well as territories around the Mediterranean (including Malta and Palestine.) He is recognized as an enlightened ruler over a multi-cultural multitude of people.  Frederick II was an enthusiast of Arabic culture and became acquainted with falconry through personal contacts with representatives of the Islamic world. One of his teachers was Fakhr ad-d’in al-F’ars’e, a Persian Sufi and advisor to sultan al-Malik al-K’amil, who stayed at the Sicilian court as a diplomat. It is probable that he gained firsthand knowledge of Arabic falconry during wars conducted in 1228 through 1229. He obtained a copy of Moamin’s manual on falconry during this time.

Falconry was a popular sport and status symbol among aristocracy in medieval Europe, the Middle East, and the Mongolian Empire. There is some evidence of its use by commoners, although that was likely unusual due to the commitment of time, money, and space. So valuable were falcons that when Charles V ceded Malta as a fief to the Knights of Saint John, the feudal rent was the annual payment of a Maltese falcon. Scholars differ on the origin of falconry. Some speculate that it entered Europe through warring Germanic tribes. The Arab world claims a two thousand year headstart before Frederick II mastered it.

An elegant lady falconer giving medicine to a sick bird.

The text is laid out in one-column in a uniform script of dark brown ink with red chapter headings. The historiated initials range form 4 to 10 lines in size. The initials offer information along with the text. The initial opening the section on fol. 7v, for instance depicts the mouse chamber of the falcons. During the annual moulting in the late spring, the birds were secluded by the falconer in a specially made chamber.

Falcon renewing its flying feathers.

The initials are enhanced by flower and leaf forms which spread over the parchment. The painters of the manuscript added decorative interest to scientific text and image.

Marginal notes, written in Italian, give precise instructions to the illuminator, detailing which scenes to paint in the fields of the initials written by the scribe. Written by a single scribe, the script is Gothic Textura, identified by two forms of “r” and sharp, straight, angular lines.

The facsimile is bound in a manner of a time later than the text block — a mid-century fifteenth sample — green patterned velvet covers and two metal clasps. Facsimile edition of three hundred and eighty-one, two hundred and twenty of which are reserved for the Arab Region. Rare Books copy is no. 39.


Thank you, Dean White and Dean Butt!


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Isaac Bromley-Dulfano and Luise Poulton love Galileo — photograph by Ben Bromley

Thank you, Dean Henry White, College of Science and Dean Darryl Butt, College of Mines and Earth Sciences for the opportunity to present at the Frontiers of Science, last Thursday night.

Rare Books had a great time!

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Photographs by Scott Beadles


On Jon’s Desk: Pictures of an Inland Sea – Every Book a Treasure


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“Across the distance there comes a change. The horizon is melted away; the mountains are all blurred. Distant chains appear to part and to become peaked islands. The sky seems water; the water, sky. Soon substance and shadow are indistinguishable. In plainer words, it is the beginning of a noonday mirage.”

– From Chapter III “Sea Horizons,” Pictures of an Inland Sea, page 39

Title page of Portraits of an Inland SeaTitle: Pictures of an Inland Sea

Author: Alfred Lambourne

Published: Boston: Samuel E. Cassion, 1895

Call Number: xPS3523 A44 P53 1895

First edition

An entire month has escaped me. It seems to have fallen into a crevasse. It was mid-August and then suddenly here we are at the end of September. I looked at the calendar today and realized it has been a month since I wrote and published the last On Jon’s Desk post. Subsequently, having no idea whatsoever as to what I should write my next post on, I began scanning my desk to see what books I may find. That is when I found an amazing book. It just goes to show that every book is a treasure, waiting to be found. This book was on my desk because I needed to follow up on a question posed by someone who came to Special Collections to read it and was then waiting to be returned to its place on the shelf. Little did I know that this amazing book, only a few feet away from me this whole time, is such a gem. I had no previous knowledge of the author or this work. I am very happy that I now do. Here is what I found.

Portrait of Alfred LambourneAlfred Lambourne was born in Chieveley, Berkshire (on the River Lambourn), England, on the second of February, 1850. Alfred manifested artistic talent while young and his parents (William and Martha) encouraged him in the pursuit of this interest. During the 1860s, Alfred’s family converted to Mormonism and subsequently immigrated to the United States, residing in St. Louis, Missouri for a time before completing its journey to Utah. Alfred arrived in Salt Lake City at the age of sixteen (having kept a sketch book of scenery along the way from Missouri to Utah) and upon arriving in Salt Lake City began painting set scenery for the Salt Lake Theatre. In 1871, he accompanied Brigham Young (then President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and former Governor of Utah Territory) to Zion Canyon, where he made the first known sketches of that area. During his mid-life, Alfred traveled not only throughout the West but also across the continental United States painting many natural settings and geologic features he visited. In his later life he concentrated on writing, sometimes illustrating his books. He wrote fourteen works in total before he died in Salt Lake City on the sixth of June, 1926.

Page twenty-three from Portraits of an Inland SeaWhen most of us think of the Great Salt Lake, we think of a stinky place with lots of bugs. Alfred was enthralled by the Great Salt Lake, referring to the body of water as an “inland sea.” It was a source of adventure and joy for him and his preferred place for solitude. It also acted as a source of artistic inspiration for him. His relationship with the lake spanned decades and resulted in a body of beautiful works, of which this book, Pictures of an Inland Sea, is one. He sketched and painted the lake from multiple vantage points. At the same time, his paintings focused on his favorite aspects of the lake: travel by boat, soaring birds, and of course the ever-changing water, sky, and atmospheric phenomena of the lake.

List of sketches in Portraits of an Inland SeaPictures of an Inland Sea is a transcendentalist work that provides both factual information on the lake from a nineteenth century vantage point and images of divinity sketched out for us by Alfred both visually and textually. This book is a treasure because through it we are drawn into a world of natural phenomenon that he could see and with this work interprets for us. So next time you catch an unsatisfactory whiff of the Great Salt Lake and fail to appreciate its fascinating existence, just look to Alfred and his sketches and you may find it just a little easier to appreciate our inland sea.

~ Contributed by Jon Bingham, Rare Books Curator


Twilight of Marshes Sketch from Portraits of an Inland Sea




Join Us Tonight! — Pioneers of Science


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Thursday, September 28, 2017

ASB 220

Pioneers of Science: Ten Thousand Pages That Shook the World

Luise Poulton, Managing Curator, Rare Books, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah

Euclid’s Elements of Geometry was first printed in 1482, just as soon as one of the early masters of movable type figured out how to do it. Not only does the Marriott Library have this first edition, but also first editions of books by other pioneers of science: Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Galileo, Antoine Lavoisier, Carl Gauss, Charles Darwin, Michael Faraday, Louis Pasteur, Marie Curie, and more. Each of these books has its own story to tell. Together they give insight into the communication, conversation, collaboration, and controversy that made science possible: a revolution that has been going on in print for more than five hundred years.

reception and rare book showing to follow lecture


Banned! — Le XIII Piacevoli Notti


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“Of a truth I confess they [the tales] are not mine, and if I said otherwise I
should lie, but nevertheless I have faithfully set them down according to the manner in which they are told…”

Le XIII Piacevoli Notti…
Giovanni Francesco Straparola (ca. 1480- ca. 1557)
In Venetia: 1580
PQ4634 S7 P5 1580

Le XIII Piacevoli Nottie (The Pleasant Nights,) a collection of seventy-five stories, was first published in 1550 with twenty-five stories. Giovanni Straparola added stories to the next two editions, including what are considered to be the first “fairy tales” printed in a European vernacular. The collection of stories was reprinted in at least twenty-three editions between 1550 and 1620 and translated into German, Spanish, and French within only a few years after the first printing. The book was placed on the Index of Prohibited Books the year this edition was published, for its seeming justification of magic. Pope Clement VIII placed it on the Prohibitorum again in 1601. After 1608, the work was no longer published in Italy until Giuseppe Rua’s scholarly 1899-1908 edition.

Almost nothing is known of Giovanni Francesco Straparola except what he tells of himself in this book: he was from Caravaggio. Whoever he (or she) is, he is considered to be the progenitor of the literary form of the fairy tale. The surname “Straparola” is not a typical family name of the period or location. It is likely a nickname, meaning “babbler.” Straparola anthologized already-known folk tales and presented them to an urban audience. Straparola’s Nights is modeled after Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decamaron. Sixteen characters are engaged in a thirteen night-long party on the island of Murano, near Venice, and tell seventy-four stories that range from bawdy to fantastic. Straparola’s work was a sourcebook for Shakespeare.

Several of these tales, such as “Beauty and the Beast” and the cunning “Puss-in-Boots,” were retold and made famous by Charles Perrault and the Grimm Brothers. In “Puss-in-Boots” a cat is inherited by the youngest of three brothers. The cat — a lowly gift to the last, and therefore most redundant, son — requests of his master a pair of boots and, through a series of magic tricks (he is a cat, afterall!), proceeds to introduce his master to the king’s court and have the king’s princess-daughter fall in love and marry him. Supernatural indeed: a talking animal, an ogre and magical transformations — all bringing good results: the acquisition of wealth and a rise in social standing.

And that is why we love cats (and books) and, perhaps, why Pope Clement did not.

Banned! — Lettre de Thrasibule a Leucippe


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““How could the human mind progress, while tormented with frightful phantoms, and guided by men, interested in perpetuating its ignorance and fears? Man has been forced to vegetate in his primitive stupidity: he has been taught stories about invisible powers upon whom his happiness was supposed to depend. Occupied solely by his fears, and by unintelligible reveries, he has always been at the mercy of priests, who have reserved to themselves the right of thinking for him, and of directing his actions.”

Lettre de Thrasibule a Leucippe
Paul Heinrich Dietrich, Baron d’Holbach (1723-1789)
…a Londres : [no printer or date, but probably Paris, circa 1768]
First edition

An anti-religious and atheistic attack on superstition, this work compares ancient religions and considers Christianity to be a mixture of Judaism and the religions of Egypt. The work was attributed to Nicolas Freret (1688-1749), but is now considered to be by Paul Holbach, who frequently used the names of deceased writers on the titles of his books in order to disguise his authorship. Nicolas Freret was well-known and highly esteemed in his lifetime, but left little of his own writings.

Here, the French text is presented as a translation of an English text that, in turn, is presented as an original Greek text.

Paul Holbach was a French-German encyclopedist and prominent as a salonist in Paris during the French Enlightenment. He supported Denis Diderot financially and contributed articles and translations to L’Encyclopedie – in all about 400 pieces. His salons were exclusively male and attended by such notables as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Adam Smith, David Hume, Horace Walpole, Edward Gibbon, David Garrick, Laurence Stern, Cesare Beccaria and Benjamin Franklin. Well-fed, his guests were surrounded by Holbach’s three thousand-volume library.

Holbach is recognized today for his philosophical writings, published anonymously or under pseudonyms, and printed outside of France. His writings, however, were certainly recognized in his own day. Voltaire, who was sometimes accused of writing these polemics, made it known that he was not a fan of the « anonymous » Holbach’s work.

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