Rare Book Workshop to Be Held at CMU
January 11-12 event a chance to explore how
books made and used in the past
WINNIPEG, Man. — People interested in old and rare books and Bibles can learn
more about them at the Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) Rare Book Workshop,
January 11 and 12, 2008.
The workshop, led by CMU English professor Paul Dyck, will explore how books
were made and used in the past, and what they meant for people back then.
Participants will also be able to examine a range of medieval and renaissance
books from the collections at CMU and the University of Manitoba, including a
1611 edition of the King James Bible, a novel, a book of plants and musical
manuscripts dating back as far as 500 years.
“The idea of what books meant between 1300 and 1700 is just as important as
how they were made,” says Dyck, noting that books were decorated and illustrated
for special reasons—not just to make them look nice.
“Things like illuminated capital letters at the beginning of chapters were
there to help form an impression in the mind, to help people remember the text,”
he says. “In one old hymn book a song about Pentecost is surrounded by fire,
reminding people of the Holy Spirit.”
During the workshop, which runs from 7:30 to 9 PM on January 11 at CMU and 9
AM to 4 PM on January 12 at the U of M, participants will learn about the change
from handmade books, or manuscripts, to printed books, and what that meant for
people back then. The workshop will also discuss the development of the
book—things like title pages and table of contents.
“The book as we know it today didn’t appear in a complete form,” says Dyck,
who teaches a course about the history of the book at CMU. “It was developed
over time as people adjusted to the new technology.”
In fact, says Dyck, the introduction of the printed book in the 15th century
was, for people at that time, like what the Internet is for people today—a
revolution. And, like people today, people back then felt overwhelmed by the
amount of information that was suddenly available, and a little bit suspicious
of it too.
“Until then, people who read were accustomed to using handmade books, books
that took a long time and effort to create,” he says. “They wondered if
something so ephemeral as a mass-produced printed book could really be trusted.”
Click here for more
information or to register for the workshop.
Posted November 17, 2007
[an error occurred while processing this directive]