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2013 Symposium, 17–18 October

This year’s symposium followed the format of the 2012 event, with a plenary address on Thursday evening at the Dunedin Public Library by Jim Traue (former Alexander Turnbull Librarian),  followed by a day of panels on Friday, at Toitū Otago Settlers Museum.  A full programme of presentations for Friday is available here.

“Maths, Politics, & Concrete,” University of Otago Library Special Collections, 28 June–20 September This exhibition aims to highlight some of the influences that the ancient Greeks and Romans have had on western civilisation. Mathematics, democracy, medicine, literature, philosophy, law, architecture and engineering are just some of the areas where western cultural heritage owes much to ancient Greece and Rome. From Homer’s Odyssey and the nascent secular intellectualism of the early Greek philosophers, to the recipe for concrete and the perfection of archway construction, the Classical World has left a legacy which we now take for granted. The exhibition features works by, among others, Ovid, Apollonius, Archimedes, Xenophon and Marcus Aurelius—names no necessarily familiar to all but once which have definitely shaped the past and are still very important today. Please enjoy yourself as you view volumes from Special Collections and take time to discover how the ancient world has impacted on yours.

Public Lecture by Michael Wyatt, “‘A World of Words’ in Early-Modern English Print,” 5:15 pm, Monday 19 August 2013 The linguistic world that Shakespeare and his English contemporaries inhabited in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries was rich in innovation and ripe with promise, but the English language itself was then little-known outside the British isles. It took a considerable amount of time before the results of the great cultural laboratory that we now recognize as early modern England were to find a world-wide audience: a version of The Taming of the Shrew was published in Dutch in 1654, though most of Shakespeare’s plays had to wait until the second half of the eighteenth century before being translated into other European languages; Milton’s Paradise Lostwas published in Italian, French, and Dutch translations for the first time only in the 1730s. This time-lag in the reception of English cultural benchmarks is in striking contrast to the speed, even rapacity, with which European and other cultures – accessible largely through their dissemination in printed books – were consumed in early modern England. This lecture will examine the significant space that English printers of the period dedicated to language-learning-manuals, bi- and multi-lingual dictionaries, and translations in order to demonstrate the impact that foreign languages and literatures had on the elaboration of early-modern English culture. Michael Wyatt is the Associate Director of the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Stanford University. He works on the cultural histories of Italy, England, and France in the early modern period. Having Studied in Rome, he taught at Gonzaga College High School (Washington, D.C.) before pursuing graduate studies at Stanford. Teaching first at Northwestern Unversity and then at Wesleyan University, he returned to Italy in 2001 to complete the research for his first book, The Italian Encounter with Tudor England: A Cultural Politics of Translation (Cambridge University Press, 2005). A former fellow of Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence, and co-editor with Deanna Shemek (UC Santa Cruz) of a volume in honor of the Italian cultural historians Armando Petrucci and Franca Nardelli, The Politics of Writing Relations, American Scholars in Italian Archives(Florence: Olschki, 2008), Wyatt is currently editing the interdisciplinary Cambridge Companion Guide to the Italian Renaissance, co-editing with Diego Pirillo (UC Berkeley)‘Devils Incarnate or Saints Angelifide’? Anglo-Italian Transactions in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, and has just published John Florio: A World of Wordes(University of Toronto Press, 2013).

2013 University of Otago Library Otakou Press Printers in Residence, July The Printer in Residence Programme in July 2013 will involve three printers (Tara McLeod, Rob Lamb, Dr. John Holmes) hand-printing six posters. Each poster will feature a bookish quotation from a Kiwi writer. The quotations will provide starting points for the printers to create their own typographic magic. One hundred copies will be printed; the paper used will be Italian hand-made Fabriano. To date expressions of interest have come from Cilla McQueen, Riemke Ensing, Emily Perkins, Elizabeth Knox and Charlotte Grimshaw. Details on price still to be determined.

Talk by Peter Simpson on his current research, 5 June 2012 We were pleased to offer an opportunity to hear Assoc. Prof. Peter Simpson talk about the book he is currently writing for which he was awarded the Michael King Fellowship in 2012. His working title is ‘Bloomsbury South: The Arts in Christchurch 1933-53′. In this talk he will discuss the implications of his working title. In what ways is the Christchurch scene of that era analagous to London’s Bloomsbury? He will also discuss the relationship between nationalism and modernism in that period and outline some examples of the unusual degree of collaboration linking artists across different disciplines – music, poetry, theatre, painting, publishing. Peter Simpson is Director of The Holloway Press in the University of Auckland where he was previously Associate Professor and head of English. He has written and/or edited around twenty books in the last thirty years, including books on Ronald Hugh Morrieson, Allen Curnow, Kendrick Smithyman, Colin McCahon, Peter Peryer and Leo Bensemann. His most recent book is Fantastica: The World of Leo Bensemann (AUP, 2011) Venue: Central University Library staff room, 2nd floor Day/Time: Wednesday 5 June, 4.00- 5.00 pm.

Public Lecture by Dr. Fenella France of the Library of Congress, 8 May 2013 Dr. Fenella France, Chief, Preservation Research and Testing Division, Library of Congress, gave a public lecture on “What Covers (and Protects) our Past.” Dr. France was formerly Lead Scientiest in Preservation Research and is an expert on textiles. In 2010 France made a major discovery concerning the Library’s draft copy of the Declaration of Independence, in Thomas Jefferson’s handwriting with edits by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. Using hyperspectral imaging equipment to distinguish discrete layers of ink using various spectra of light France revealed that Jefferson in the draft declaration initially wrote the word “subjects,” then carefully rewrote over it to make that word “citizens.” She is an alumna of the University of Otago.

Exhibition of Pharmacy Books, April–June In 2013 the School of Pharmacy at the University of Otago celebrates its fiftieth jubilee, a milestone that also represents half a century of a degree qualification for New Zealand pharmacists and the first four-year pharmacy degree in Australasia. The School started life as the Department of Pharmacy in 1960 and the first three students completed their Bachelor of Pharmacy in 1965.  An exhibition entitled From Apprentice to Graduate, 50 Years of Pharmacy Education at the University of Otago, 1963-2013 will begin at the de Beer Gallery, Special Collections on 5 April. It will feature a selection of early botanicals, and books that highlight the development of pharmacy in Britain and Europe. The focus then moves to pharmacy in New Zealand and the history of pharmacy education, especially at the University of Otago.  The exhibition closes on 25 June 2013. For further information on the exhibtion, and the School of Pharmacy celebrations, contact Dr Susan Heydon (, or Dr Michael Bagge (

Visit of Professor Vincent Gillespie A William Evans Fellow based in the Department of English, Professor Vincent Gillespie will be in Dunedin for several weeks in late summer.  He is the J. R. R. Tolkien Professor of English Literature and Language at Oxford University and a respected medievalist.  He is delivering an English Department Seminar on Friday, 14 March at 4 pm in Burns 4 on “Medieval Authorship.” His presentation will survey European attitudes and ideas about authorship, focusing on Chaucer’s House of Fame.  All are welcome. Professor Gillespie will also be speaking at 5:15 on Thurs. 21 March in Quad 1.  His topic will be “Fatherless Books: Authorship, Attribution and Orthodoxy in Later Medieval England.”  Once again, all are most welcome. Finally, please join us for a conversation evening over drinks with Prof. Gillespie to discuss the insights he gained into books through his role as editor of the BoydellCompanion to the Early Modern Book (forthcoming).  We will gather in the Central Library Staff Room on Tuesday March 26th at 5 pm.

Bindings Exhibition An impressive array of books, or at least their covers, is on display for the first part of this year in the University Library Special Collections exhibition area.  We do judge books by their covers, even if we ought not to, and those chosen for display cry out for our approval.  Curated with Romilly Smith, a binder herself as well as Special Collections assistant, this exhibition covers all time periods and types of books and thus offers something for everyone. For an more detailed discussion of the exhibition, see the ODT’s coverage of the launch.

Annual Centre for the Book Talk and Dinner The Centre for the Book talk for 2013 was held on the 7th of March, the UK date for celebrating World Book Day.  Mr. Alan Duff spoke for an hour, discussing, among many other topics, his charity, Duffy Books in Homes, and why he thinks books are so important.  He provided a lively set of views on many aspects of contemporary NZ and answered an equally wide-ranging set of questions for a further twenty minutes Mr. Duff joined 25 Centre for the Book folk at Palms Restaurant, Queen’s Garden at 7 pm.  Tickets were $50 for a three-course dinner and there were a series of books raffled off courtesy of University Book Shop.  We also welcome Rachel Scott as the new University of Otago Press publisher, and Philippa Duffy as the new manager of University Book Shop.

‘Jane Austen and the Chawton House Library’ A public lecture to be delivered at 5:30 pm on Thursday 28 February in Archway 3 Lecture Theatre, Central Campus, University of Otago. Sandy Lerner co-founded Cisco Systems before leaving in 1990. Since then she has pursued her passion for Jane Austen as a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America and founder of the Stanford Jane Austen Society (1984). In 1992 Lerner purchased and refurbished Chawton House, a 300-acre manor house and farm dating back to the 1580s in Hampshire, England. Formerly the estate of Jane Austen’s brother Edward, the property is now Chawton House Library, containing the Centre for the Study of Early English Women’s Writing. This is a non-profit resource, comprising a collection of more than 7,000 books. The Chawton House Library is anchored by Lerner’s donated private collection. Under the nom de plume Ava Farmer, Sandy Lerner is also the author of Second Impressions, a continuation of all the Austen novels. Published as the first book from Chawton House Press, it draws its history from novels, maps, and other volumes from the Chawton House Library. She is visiting Australia and New Zealand to give talks and to launch Second Impressions in this Pride and Prejudice bicentenary year. Her book will be available for $32 at the venue (cash only) and the author will gladly sign it for you. All profits from Second Impressions go to Chawton House Library. The Library is a registered charity reliant on sponsors. To learn more, visit their website and click on ‘Get Involved’. Link to Jocelyn Harris’s ODT story.

Update to Janine Barchas’s talk, “Jane Austen between the Covers” For a nice slide show with a few new items and interesting commentary, see the NY Times story on Prof. Barchas’s study of Pride and Prejudice book covers.

Visiting Speaker, Dr. Don Nichol We are pleased to support the visit of Dr. Don Nichol from Memorial University in Newfoundland as the public speaker during Rare Book School 2013.  Dr. Nichol will speak on “Alexander Pope: The First Million Books” at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, 30 January 2013 in St. David Seminar Room 2. Dr. Nichol has edited the six parts of the later eighteenth-century New Foundling Hospital for Wit (1768-1773) in 3 vols. for Pickering & Chatto (2006) and is the author of Pope’s Literary Legacy: The Book-Trade Correspondence of William Warburton and John Knapton with other letters & documents 1744-1780 for the Oxford Bibliographical Society, new series vol. XXIII (1992).

Printer in Residence 2012
The 2012 Printer in Residence programme starred Dr. John Holmes, owner-operator of The Frayed Frisket Press, Dunedin, who printed a commemorative volume of poems by Kevin Cunningham, poet. This edition was selected by Bill Manhire.  Copies are available for purchase from the Otakou Press. And for an engaging story on the project and John’s work, see Charmian Smith’s lovely ODT story. Hear John in his own words on National Radio’s Afternoon programme. For another angle, see TV9′s interview with Donald about the project. (For details of previous Printer in Residence projects, see Publications.)

Visiting Speaker, Professor Isabel Hofmeyr The Centre for Research on Colonial Culture and the Centre for Book were pleased to support the visit of Professor Isabel Hofmeyr of the University of Witwatersrand. Prof. Hofmeyr spoke on “Gandhi’s South African newspaper Indian Opinion: Towards a Theory of the Imperial Textual Commons” at 10 AM on Monday, December 3rd, in the Humanities Divisional Board Room, 5th floor of the Arts Building. Professor Hofmeyr is one of the most influential humanists working in South Africa. While she is perhaps best known as the author of The Portable Bunyan: A Transnational History of The Pilgrim’s Progress (Princeton University Press, 2004), her published work has spanned several fields, including postcolonial and transnational approaches to literary texts, African literature, the relationships between oral history and literature, Indian Ocean studies, and histories of reading and writing.

BSANZ Conference, 14–17 November 2012 The program and abstracts from the conference are available here. For further information about the Bibliographical Society, see the Society’s web page (

Centre for the Book Annual Talk and Dinner, 17 August 2012 The Centre held its first annual talk on the evening of 22 August with an after-dinner talk by Professor Vincent O’Sullivan on his forthcoming edition of the works of Katherine Mansfield.  He spoke to a full house of fifty loyal Centre for the Book supporters and a good time was had by all.  In future, the annual dinner will move to align with the UK International Book Day in March.

Centre Launch and Symposium, 29–30 March 2012 Professor Sir David Skegg officially launched the University of Otago Centre for the Book at the Dunningham Suite in the Dunedin Public Library.  He also welcomed the evening’s guest speaker, Mr. John Quilter, a very knowledgeable Welllington rare book dealer, who spoke about his life with books illustrated with very evocative black and white images of older shops piled high with treasures. The next day the Centre hosted a symposium on “The Book: A Life Cycle,” with Professor Leslie Howsam, President of SHARP (Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing) as the guest speaker.  The full list of speakers and topics is available here.

Public Lecture by Janine Barchas, 30 January 2012 Professor Janine Barchas of the Department of English at the University of Texas at Austin spoke on “Jane Austen between the Covers,” drawing a crowd of over a hundred to enjoy her many images of Austen book covers capturing the author’s varied reputation and cultural significance through the ages.  Janine’s talk was a marvelous prelude to the activities of the Centre and she will be welcomed back whenever we can lure her across the Pacific.

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