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Centre for the Book
Events and Opportunities related to Books at the University of Otago

Shef Rogers: A Double Dose; or, More than Enough

Dr. Shef Rogers, co-director of the Centre for the Book, will present two 20-min conference papers back-to-back as part of English and Linguistics Departmental research seminar series.  The presentation will take place at 4 pm on Friday, 28 April, in Burns 4.

The first paper focuses on the textual history of Alexander Pope’s Rape of the Lock within the context of Pope’s coming of age and coming to grips with the realities of his physical handicaps.  Entitled “Profound Learning or Puerile Puns? Pope’s Use of Petronius via Rochester,” the talk examines an allusion to Rochester not previously noted by Pope scholars.  The implicit parallels between Pope and Petronius’s Encolpius further illuminate the highly sexual nature of Pope’s best-known poem.

The second paper also concerns Pope and his contemporaries, looking at how they used mock-scholarly indexes to satirise an increasingly professionalised world of scholarship and academia.  Entitled “The Satiric Literary Index as a Measure of Cultural Authority,” this talk considers satiric indexes from William King’s 1698 ‘index’ to Charles Boyle’s second edition of Dr. Bentley’s Dissertations … Examin’d through Alexander Pope’s Dunciad in Four Books (1743).  These experiments with form and arrangement show authors striving to enrich their satire even as they objected to the reduction of literature to taxonomic analysis.

Postponed for some time–Richard Overell on The John Emmerson Collection

Photo by Teagan Glenane

We regret that due to a family bereavement, Richard Overell will not be able to deliver his talk as scheduled, but we hope to hear from him on this topic next time he is in Dunedin.

Join us on Wednesday 26 April at 5:30 in Archway 2 for an engaging illustrated public lecture on

The John Emmerson Collection at the State Library of Victoria

Nicolas Barker, editor of The Book Collector, described the late John Emmerson as ‘one of the great book collectors of our time’. In 2015, the John Emmerson collection, comprising over 5,000 books and pamphlets on 17th-century English literature and history, was donated to the State Library of Victoria. This session will look at some of the highlights from the Emmerson Collection.

Richard Overell was until the end of 2014 the Rare Books Librarian at Monash University Library. He now works at State Library Victoria helping to catalogue the John Emmerson Collection.

Current Exhibition: Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation

Recently opened in honour of the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses, the current exhibition at the University of Otago Special Collections runs through to 9 June 2017.  The display provides good historical insights into the events and significance of the reformation, while also allowing the Library to show off some very attractive items.  The exhibition includes Hartmann Schedel’s famed Nuremberg Chronicle, printed in 1493; a late 15th century medieval Book of Hours; a sheet of the German Bible, printed in 1483, an early guidebook to Rome (1515), and most notably, a rare Latin Bible (1481) that contains fragments of indulgences printed by William Caxton, England’s first printer. Luther’s own work features, including his Deuteronomy (1525), his Works (1550), and a facsimile of his Bible, Die Propheten Alle Deutsch [1534]. Works by Johannes Cochlaeus, Erasmus, and Philip Melancthon, Luther’s friend and colleague, also feature. Also on display are colourful facsimile leaflets (flugblatt) from the period. They include Weiditz’s ‘Käsebauer und Käsefrau’ [Cheesemaker and his wife] (1521) and Erhard Schön’s ‘Der Teufel mit der Sackpfeife’ [The Devil playing the Bagpipe], 1535.

TV 39’s story on the Exhibition–

City of Literature Comes to the Screen

Luke Chapman has done a lovely job of capturing the story of how Dunedin became a City of Literature.  These two segments not only reveal the wide range of people engaged with City of Literature, but also show how the idea has further enriched Dunedin’s sense of community.  Many thanks to Luke for these segments of viewing pleasure.

Dunedin – A City of Literature – In the Beginning

Dunedin – A City of Literature – Potential

Jim Sullivan on the History of Dunedin Bookshops

We all know Dunedin is a bookish place, but we may not be as aware of the various elements of infrastructure that create that atmosphere.

We are delighted to be able to host a public lecture by Jim Sullivan, extensively published historian and much loved as the host of Radio NZ’s Sounds Historical.  Jim will present an illustrated lecture on the history of Dunedin bookshops that will help us all to understand and appreciate one of the distinctive elements of our fair city.

Please join us on Wednesday, 3 May, in Archway 2, for what promises to be a very engaging and enjoyable talk.


Bioethics Seminar on Anatomy Books

Dr Katherine H. Hall, Senior Lecturer, Department of General Practice and Rural Health, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, will speak on

Images of Anatomy:
Reflections on a Mirror

Monday 13th March 2017 1:00-2:00 pm, Bioethics Seminar Room, Level one, 71 Frederick Street (entry on Frederick Street)

Anatomical atlases have been used for centuries; they used to be called a catoptrum microcosmicum – a mirror into a small world. Three anatomical atlases separated by 400 years will be presented, arguing each reflects not only the times and culture in which they were produced but also the values that the then contemporary medical culture wishes the student to uphold. This acquisition of values endorsed by medicine and the acculturalisation of students can be unconscious and ‘invisible’ to both. Consequences for the ethics of the teaching and learning of contemporary anatomy will be discussed.

World Book Day Dinner this Coming Thursday

Our annual lecture and dinner for World Book Day will take place on Thursday, 2 March at 5:30, followed by a buffet dinner at the Staff Club.  Our speaker this year is David Eggleton, well-known reviewer and poet, speaking on “Landfall Days.”  The lecture will be held in Archway 2.  The dinner will follow immediately afterward with a cash bar and buffet.  The dinner costs $45 and payments by cash or cheque should be given to Donald Kerr in Special Collections.

Thanks to all who have already expressed an interest in the dinner.  It is always a fun occasion and we look forward to the usual raffles and scintillating conversation.

Back Beach Poetry Trail Opening this Sunday–All Invited

The Back Beach Writers Group would like to invite you to
the opening of the BACK BEACH POETRY TRAIL, this Sunday, 26 February at 2.30 pm at the Yacht Club, Port Chalmers.

This event would not have been possible without our sponsors and supporters

Creative New Zealand via Dunedin City Council
Port Chalmers and District Lions Club
Bendigo Valley Sports Foundation
Otago Polytechnic
Architecture Van Brandenburg
West Harbour community Board
John Holmes Frayed Frisket Press

Port Otago and Dunedin City Council for Site Permission
Ngāi Tahu for supporting the idea of the Project

Rare Book School Speaker to Give Foxcroft Lecture

Latin MSFor those lucky enough to be in Melbourne or unlucky enough not to be able to hear her speak in Dunedin, you will have a chance to hear Rosamond McKitterick on “Roman Authority in Early Medieval Europe” when she delivers the Foxcroft lecture on Tuesday, 7 February at 6 pm at the State Library of Victoria.

Cambridge scholar Rosamond McKitterick will examine the role books played in creating a cultural link between ancient Rome and its medieval inheritors.  She is Professor Emerita of Medieval History at the University of Cambridge, formerly Director of Research in the Faculty of History, a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College and, since 2011, Chair of the Faculty of Archaeology, History and Letters of the British School at Rome.

And for those of us who are in Dunedin, we hope you can join us as Prof. McKitterick kicks off the Centre’s 2017 public lectures at 5:30 on Wednesday, 1 February in Archway 2.  Her talk has also been notified to the University of Otago Classics Association and will be a highlight of the 2017 Rare Book School week.

End of Year Wishes

for blogJust a quick post to say thank you to all our loyal Centre for the Book supporters.  2016 has been a bit of a distracted year for both co-directors, but we are eagerly planning activities for 2017, starting with a public lecture on Wednesday 1 February by Professor Rosamond McKitterick of Cambridge University on “The Authority of Rome in the Manuscripts of Early Medieval Europe.”  We’ll also have the annual World Book Day lecture and dinner on Thursday 2 March, and our usual symposium later in the year, on the theme of “Books and Users.”  That event is likely to dovetail with a City of Literature UNESCO-sponsored symposium, so stay tuned.  In the meantime, enjoy John Grisham’s “10 Reasons for Giving Books as Gifts.”  We wish you all a very festive and relaxing holiday season, with plenty of time to read and talk about books.