2014 marks the 250th anniversary of Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, usually celebrated as the first Gothic novel. The British Library will be celebrating the anniversary with an exhibition that opens on October 3 this year: Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the most comprehensive exhibition on the subject in the UK so far:
William Morris (1834–1896) was a voracious reader from an early age, but it was only in his later years that he became a determined book-collector, and all the evidence suggests that he then began to acquire books and manuscripts on a large scale primarily because of his interest in the history of book illustration and typography. Hence when he founded the Kelmscott Press in 1891, his fascination with printing led him on to increasingly ambitious purchases for his library, especially of medieval books and manuscripts. But it should also be noted that he owned more nineteenth-century books than one might suppose, many of them dealing with folklore and the history of illustration and the printed word.
The New York Public Library has abandoned controversial plans to renovate its Fifth Avenue central research branch, a 100-year-old beaux-arts landmark that was set to be converted into a lending library. The NYPL will instead renovate its Mid-Manhattan branch, a large but fairly rundown lending branch across from the research institution.
Monica Langwe’s most recent book is a more extensive follow-up to her previous work on limp bindings from the City Archives in Tallinn, Estonia (see Langwe, 2008). In Limp Bindings from the Vatican Library, the author cleaves to the same format, providing descriptions and diagrams for 11 historical bindings and includes a gallery of 11 contemporary works from international book artists. The Vatican Library is not the easiest institution to access, and from the author’s long list of acknowledgements, it is clear that a great deal of planning and coordination was required to make this project happen. With equal parts history, manual, and exhibit catalog, this volume is a delight to read and would be a welcome addition to any binder or bibliophile’s collection.
Between museum visits and sightseeing, traveling can be a tiring sport. What better way to take a break than settle down somewhere beautiful and historic with a book?
Sydney’s Mitchell Library Reading Room should be kept as a place of books and readers and intellectual exchange, not transformed into a social hub, writes Evelyn Juers.
Private libraries continue to be created despite the inexorable advance of the internet. Jeremy Musson visits three recent examples