Category Archives: Humanities

What to Read this Month: May 2017

In the summer I like to read the Duke Common Experience Summer Reading selection.  I am really excited to check out Prince of Los Cocuyos by Richard Blanco this year.  I noticed something interesting though when I looked at the list of the finalists this year.  Lots of great titles, but all the authors are men.  So I thought I’d suggest some books written by women for your summer reading, just to balance your reading list!


Homegoing: A Novel by Yaa Gyasi traces traces three hundred years in Ghana and along the way also becomes a truly great American novel.  Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery.  You can read reviews here and here.


Lab Girl by Hope Jahren was the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography and a finalist for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. Geobiologist Hope Jahren has spent her life studying trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Lab Girl is her revelatory treatise on plant life–but it is also a celebration of the lifelong curiosity, humility, and passion that drive every scientist. In these pages, Hope takes us back to her Minnesota childhood, where she spent hours in unfettered play in her father’s college laboratory. She tells us how she found a sanctuary in science, learning to perform lab work “with both the heart and the hands.” She introduces us to Bill, her brilliant, eccentric lab manager. And she extends the mantle of scientist to each one of her readers, inviting us to join her in observing and protecting our environment.


Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien has been on both the Man Booker Prize and the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlists.  In Canada in 1991, ten-year-old Marie and her mother invite a guest into their home: a young woman called Ai-Ming, who has fled China in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests.  Ai-Ming tells Marie the story of her family in Revolutionary China – from the crowded teahouses in the first days of Chairman Mao’s ascent to the Shanghai Conservatory in the 1960s and the events leading to the Beijing demonstrations of 1989. It is a story of revolutionary idealism, music, and silence, in which three musicians – the shy and brilliant composer Sparrow, the violin prodigy Zhuli, and the enigmatic pianist Kai – struggle during China’s relentless Cultural Revolution to remain loyal to one another and to the music they have devoted their lives to.


Difficult Women by Roxane Gay is a collection of stories of rare force and beauty, of hardscrabble lives, passionate loves, and quirky and vexed human connection.  The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail.  From a girls’ fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbors conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay delivers a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America reminiscent of Merritt Tierce, Jamie Quatro, and Miranda July.  If you have never read anything by Roxane Gay, her website has a great list of the short stories, essays, and interviews that have appeared in a variety of online and print publications.   You might also want to check out this NPR interview.


Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age was written by Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, the founder of muslimgirl.com.  It was a  New York Times Editor’s Pick, where the book was described as a “blunt observation, reflective of the potent message she delivers to her readers, a skillful unraveling of the myth of the submissive Muslim woman and a timely introduction to those other, very American and largely unheard 9/11 kids who bear the destructive burden of that one day, every day.”   It is a harrowing and candid memoir about coming of age as a Muslim American in the wake of 9/11, during the never-ending war on terror, and through the Trump era.  You can read an excerpt here.


As always if you’re looking for even more interesting things to read this summer, we’ve got you covered in our our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections.

The Rudolph William Rosati Creative Writing Award

Jumbled letters (photo by Laineys Repetoire – CC-BY)

What is the Rudolph William Rosati Creative Writing Award?

The Rosati Creative Writing Prize is awarded each spring in recognition of an outstanding work of creative writing. All Duke undergraduate students are eligible to submit work for consideration. Projects may be any genre and take any form (audio/video, digital media, etc.), but must include a substantial creative writing component.  The Rosati Prize was established in 1978 by Walter McGowan Upchurch in honor of Rudolph William Rosati “to encourage, advance and reward creative writing among students at the University and particularly among undergraduate students.”

Prize: $1500

Is my paper eligible?

  • You must be a Duke undergraduate student
  • You may submit multiple, different projects in a given year but each project should be submitted individually with an accompanying application cover sheet
  • Submitted projects must have been written during the current academic year
  • At this time submissions must be written in English
  • No minimum or maximum length required

How do I apply?

To be eligible for the Rudolph William Rosati Creative Writing Award, email the following to Arianne Hartsell-Gundy by May 15, 2017:

  • application cover sheet (see form)
  • The creative work (send written projects as either a Word document or pdf.  If it’s a multimedia project, please send URL of the project or email Arianne Hartsell-Gundy for alternative means of delivery)
  • A faculty letter of support (see form)
  • The faculty member should e-mail the letter of support in a separate file to Arianne Hartsell-Gundy

How is a winner chosen?

  • The selection committee, consisting of two Libraries staff members and two faculty members, judges the papers
  • Projects are judged based on quality and originality of writing
  • The committee reserves the right to split the award among more than one author, or to award no prize

For More Information

Contact Arianne Hartsell-Gundy, Librarian for Literature and Theater Studies (arianne.hartsell.gundy@duke.edu), for more information.

What to Read this Month: April 2017

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As always if you’re looking for something interesting to read, we’ve got you covered in our our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections.  In honor of National Poetry Month I’m highlighting poetry books this month. Also, check out our Collection Spotlight this month featuring poetry.  It’s on the first floor of Perkins near the Perkins Service Desk!


sythbookcoverSo Much Synth by Brenda Shaughnessy.  Subversions of idiom and cliche punctuate Shaughnessy’s fourth collection as she approaches middle age and revisits the memories, romances, and music of adolescence. So Much Synth is a brave and ferocious collection composed of equal parts femininity, pain, pleasure, and synthesizer. While Shaughnessy tenderly winces at her youthful excesses, we humbly catch glimpses of our own.  Check out this recent interview with Shaughnessy.


minotaurbookcoverWhosoever Has Let a Minotaur Enter Them, Or a Sonnet- by Emily Carr is part of the McSweeney’s poetry series.  How does a love poet fall out of her marriage and back in love with the world? What happens when you grow up to be the “kind of person who…”? These fairytales are for the heartbreakers as much as the heartbroken, for those smitten with wanderlust, for those who believe in loving this world through art.


poetryandprotestbookcoverOf Poetry & Protest: From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin edited by Philip Cushway and Michael Warr.
Included in this extraordinary volume are the poems of 43 of America’s most talented African American wordsmiths, including Pulitzer Prize-winning poets Rita Dove, Natasha Tretheway, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Tracy K. Smith, as well as the work of other luminaries such as Elizabeth Alexander, Ishmael Reed, and Sonia Sanchez. Included are poems such as “No Wound of Exit” by Patricia Smith, “We Are Not Responsible” by Harryette Mullen, and “Poem for My Father” by Quincy Troupe. Each is accompanied by a photograph of the poet along with a first-person biography.


quarterlifebookcoverQuarter Life Poetry: Poems for the Young, Broke and Hangry by Samantha Jayne, who is the creator of the popular Quarter Life Poetry Tumblr and Instagram.  She captures real-life truths of work, money, sex, and many other 20-something challenges in this laugh-out-loud collection of poetry. Samantha knows that life post-college isn’t as glamorous as all undergrads think it’s going to be… because she’s currently living it. At 25, Samantha began creating doodles and funny poems about her #struggle to share with friends on Instagram. To her surprise, these poems were picked up by 20-somethings all around the world who agreed, “This is literally us.”


dotheadbookcoverDothead: Poems by Amit Majmudar is a captivating, no-holds-barred collection of new poems from an acclaimed poet and novelist with a fierce and original voice.  Dothead is an exploration of selfhood both intense and exhilarating.  From poems about the treatment at the airport of people who look like Majmudar (“my dark unshaven brothers / whose names overlap with the crazies and God fiends”) to a long, freewheeling abecedarian poem about Adam and Eve and the discovery of oral sex, Dothead is a profoundly satisfying cultural critique and a thrilling experiment in language. You can listen to an interview with Majmudar here.

For the 20th time: It’s that time of year again!

 20th Annual Full Frame
Documentary Film Festival

Lilly Library offers a selection of Full Frame titles

Each spring since 1998, Durham has hosted international filmmakers and film lovers who flock to the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Festival goers revel in the latest in documentary, or non-fiction, films which are presented in venues throughout historic downtown Durham.

Because it is the 20th anniversary, this year’s festival’s thematic program is a cinematic retrospective of the twenty years of Full Frame. Curated by Artistic Director Sadie Tillery,  notable films, filmmakers, and special moments that have distinguished Full Frame since it was founded in 1998 are to be highlighted this year.

Do you know that Duke University is a major supporter of Full Frame?
Of special note, because of his support and commitment to the arts, Duke University President Richard Brodhead will be honored with the Full Frame 2017 Advocate Award.  In addition, the Duke University Libraries support and highlight films from past festivals.   If you don’t attend the festival, consider the Libraries’ collections.  A major resource is the Rubenstein Library’s Full Frame Archive Film Collection, that includes festival winners from 1998 through 2012.  In addition, the film and video collection at Lilly Library on East Campus contains a selection of Full Frame titles available to the Duke community.

 

 

Comics and Graphic Novels at the Library

Underground & Independent Comics collection

Did you know that Duke University Libraries can provide you with access to a variety of comics and graphic novels?  Keep reading to find out more!

Rare and Original Issues at the Rubenstein Library

The Rubenstein’s comic collection spans many decades, publishers, and styles: from Golden Age Batman to modern graphic novels, and everything in between.

Edwin and Terry Murray Comic Book Collection

With more than 67,000 comic books from the 1930s to the 2000s, this is our largest collection.  All of the comic book titles are in the process of being added to the library catalog, so you will be able to search the catalog for your favorite superhero!   The titles currently available can also be found in the catalog by searching for “Edwin and Terry Murray Collection (David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library).”   You can try searching by genres, such as “Detective and mystery comics” and  “Underground comics,” as well.

Comic Book and Graphic Novel Collection

Contains thousands of additional comics and graphic novels with rich materials in international comics, especially Argentina and France, and comics created by women.  Find them in the Guide to the Comic Book and Graphic Novel Collection, 1938-2012.

The Underground and Independent Comics Database

The Underground and Independent Comics database is the first-ever scholarly online collection for researchers and students of adult comic books and graphic novels. It features the comics themselves along with interviews, commentary, and criticism. Includes artists such as Jessica Abel, Jaime Hernandez, Jason, Harvey Pekar, Dave Sim, and many more. There are comics from around the world, including Canada, France, Italy, Spain, England, Sweden, Norway, Australia, Korea, Japan.

Comics and Graphic Novels in the Stacks

You can check out comics and graphic novels from our circulating collections.  We also have comics and graphic novels scattered throughout our libraries, with most of them housed at Lilly Library on East campus.  You’ll find everything from The Walking Dead to Persepolis.

There are several ways to identify titles.  If you want to browse, relevant call number sections include PN6700-6790 and NC1300-1766. You can do a title search in our library catalog for specific titles.   You can also use the subject headings Comic books, strips, etc. and graphic novels to discover more titles.

Manga

We have manga in the East Asian collection on the second floor of Bostock.  We hold about 600 titles in Japanese and 150 titles translated into English just in PN6790.J3 – PN6790.J34.  You can also find Korean manhwa in PN6790 K6 – PN6790.K64.  Popular titles held at Duke include One Piece, Dragon ball, Naruto, Astro Boy, as well as the complete works of Tezuka Osamu.

Come Visit Us This Week!

We’ll have a table outside of the Perk on Tuesday March 28th from 1-2 and on Wednesday March 29th from 11-12.  We’ll be showing off some of the works in our collections, demonstrating The Underground and Independent Comics database, and answering questions!

Celebrate National Poetry Month with the Low Maintenance Book Club

In honor of National Poetry Month the Low Maintenance Book Club will be reading Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine.  We will be reading the following selections:

“I” (pages 5-18)

“V” (pages 69-79)

“VII” (pages 139-161))

You can find several copies of this collection at our libraries.  Durham County Library also has copies.

When: April 11th at 6:00pm

Where: The Edge Workshop Room  on the first floor of Bostock

How: Registering in advance helps us know how many to expect

Light refreshments will be served.

If you have any questions, you can contact Arianne Hartsell-Gundy at aah39@duke.edu.

What to Read this Month: March 2017

Check out our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections for some good reads this month!


A profound and dazzlingly entertaining novel from the writer Louis Menand calls “Jane Austen with a Russian soul.”  In her warm, absorbing and keenly observed new novel, Still Here, Lara Vapnyar follows the intertwined lives of four immigrants in New York City as they grapple with love and tumult, the challenges of a new home, and the absurdities of the digital age.  It was featured in The Millions’ The Great Second-Half 2016 Book Preview.

 


My Life, My Love, My Legacy is the life story of Coretta Scott King–wife of Martin Luther King Jr., founder of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center), and singular twentieth-century American civil and human rights activist–as told fully for the first time, toward the end of her life, to Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds.  Coretta’s is a love story, a family saga, and the memoir of an extraordinary black woman in twentieth-century America, a brave leader who, in the face of terrorism and violent hatred, stood committed, proud, forgiving, nonviolent, and hopeful every day of her life.


The Signal Flame by Andrew Krivak is the second novel from National Book Award finalist Andrew Krivak–a heartbreaking, captivating story about a family awaiting the return of their youngest son from the Vietnam War.  Beginning shortly after Easter in 1972 and ending on Christmas Eve this ambitious novel beautifully evokes ordinary time, a period of living and working while waiting and watching and expecting.   You can read reviews here and here.

 


A Life in Parts is a memoir by Bryan Cranston, star of Breaking Bad and Malcolm in the Middle.  He maps his zigzag journey from abandoned son to beloved star by recalling the many odd parts he’s played in real life–paperboy, farmhand, security guard, dating consultant, murder suspect, dock loader, lover, husband, father. Cranston also chronicles his evolution on camera, from soap opera player trying to master the rules of show business to legendary character actor turning in classic performances as Seinfeld dentist Tim Whatley, “a sadist with newer magazines,” and Malcolm in the Middle dad Hal Wilkerson, a lovable bumbler in tighty-whities.  He has much to say about creativity, devotion, and craft, as well as innate talent and its challenges and benefits and proper maintenance.


Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life is by Helen Czerski, a a physicist and oceanographer at University College London. She provides the tools to alter the way we see everything around us by linking ordinary objects and occurrences, like popcorn popping, coffee stains, and fridge magnets, to big ideas like climate change, the energy crisis, or innovative medical testing. She guides us through the principles of gases, gravity, size, and time.  You can read reviews here and here.

 

Marathon Reading of Toni Morrison’s BELOVED

On Thursday, March 30, the Department of English is hosting BELOVED, a marathon reading of Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel.   BELOVED will run 8 hours (9AM-5PM) in the Carpenter Conference Room (Rubenstein Library 249), where there will be a podium, microphone, audience seating, and T-shirts for all participants.  Sign up to read via THIS LINK by March 23rd.

The library of course has several copies of this novel available.  If this marathon inspires you to read more by this amazing author, we can help you there too!

 

From Kielbasa to Sfincione: A Personal and Academic Exploration of Urban Foods

Guest post by Ashley Rose Young, Ph.D. candidate in History at Duke and the Business History Graduate Intern at the Hartman Center.

My life has always revolved around the sale and distribution of food. My food-centric lifestyle is not all that surprising, as my family owns and operates gourmet food stores in Pittsburgh. By the time I was three years old, I was working behind the counter, standing on a plastic milk carton so that customers could see me while I earned my family “business degree.” After years of practice (and a growth spurt or two) I could easily reach over the counter to hand my family’s homemade kielbasas to customers. My grandfather made those sausages. He established the family business, too, by starting as an itinerant vendor at a roadside food stand in the 1940s. Over time, he worked his way towards opening a series of grocery stores with the support of my grandmother, mother, aunts, and uncles. Together, my family created a business committed to supporting small-scale local farmers and artisans while preserving the culinary heritage of Pittsburgh.

A profile of McGinnis Sisters Special Food Stores featuring a photo of the author (age 6) with her grandparents, mother, and aunts.

Inspired by my own experiences and those of my family, my dissertation research focuses on urban food economies in the United States. Specifically, I study street food and market vendors in New Orleans and the global influences on the city’s Creole cuisine. As a major Atlantic port city, New Orleans was connected to communities and food cultures throughout the Atlantic Rim, adopting ingredients like okra from West Africa and cooking techniques like starting soups with a French-style roux. Tracing those influences, I have visited archives and conducted fieldwork in countries like France, Italy, and Morocco, all of which influenced the development Creole cuisine. At the National Library in France, I studied the parallels and dissimilarities between artistic renderings of street food vendors in Paris and those in New Orleans. While the images were different in the ways they revealed cultural bias, in both places it was common for artists to pair images of food vendors with sheet music that captured their cries of “Piping hot rice fritters!” and “Beautiful cakes!”

Fascinated by the prevalence of street cries in New Orleans’ historic soundscape, I sought connections to modern day street food cultures. In order to do so, I conducted fieldwork in Palermo, Sicily—a city known for its musical food vendors. Although most people do not associate New Orleans with Italian food culture, in the late nineteenth century, the city had one of the largest Sicilian immigrant populations in the world. In fact, at that time, New Orleanians colloquially referred to the French Quarter as “Little Palermo.” The sonorous voices of Sicilian food vendors rang throughout the city. Folklorists captured their calls on the page in compendiums like Gumbo Ya-Ya: Folktales of Louisiana (1945). In that volume, an Italian vendor is described as singing while he hawks his wares: “Cantal—ope—ah! Fresh and fine, just off a de vine, only a dime!”

A drawing and sheet music depicting a rice fritter vendor in twentieth century New Orleans. “The Calas Girl,” Cooking in the Old Créole Days: La Cuisine Créole à l’Usage des Petits Menages (New York, R. H. Russell, 1903).

Modern-day Palermo’s urban food scene shares similarities with New Orleans’ historic one. Like the Big Easy, Palermo’s streets are crowded with food vendors who entreat passersby with humorous and delightful calls. One of their more popular grab-n-go foods in the city is sfincione, or street pizza. Sfincione is simple and economical—a tasty combination of spongy crust, tomato sauce, olive oil, and a healthy sprinkling of dried parsley. Commenting on those humble origins with a bit of humor, one of the traditional Palermitano street cries is: “Scarsu d’ogghio e chinu i prubulazzo!” Or, in English, “Lack of oil and plenty of dust!” Another more enticing cry is, “Uara u sfuinnavi uara! Chistu è sfinciuni ra bella viaro!”—“I’ve just taken it out of the oven! This is a very beautiful sfincione!” The street cries of Palermo work in similar ways to those of historic New Orleans, attracting the attention of potential customers with a witty, entertaining performance. For food vendors past and present, charm is a major component of their business strategy. I had witnessed the power of charisma so long ago, perched on my milk carton while my mother wrapped parcels of sausage and joked with customers.

Sfincione vendor, Palermo, Sicily, 2014. Photo by Ashley Rose Young.

Entranced by that charm and my newfound academic approach to food, a dissertation (or one might say obsession) was brought to life. Even when traveling without a research agenda, I was constantly analyzing the local food cultures around me to connect what I observed in New Orleans with what I witnessed abroad. There were a few surprises along the way. While in Peru for an academic conference, for example, I learned about a maize beer called chicha de jora that resembled a fermented corn beverage popularized by Choctaw Indians in colonial New Orleans. Although I had originally focused my dissertation research on New Orleans’ connections to Europe, West Africa, and the Caribbean, the discovery of chicha de jora encouraged me to study Latin American influences on Creole cuisine as well.

Municipal Market, Cusco, Peru, 2014. Photo by Ashley Rose Young.

Photography was a means of crystalizing these connections while also honoring the distinctiveness of community food cultures. Over the years, as I wandered through countless markets, I sought to capture the vibrancy of locally grown produce, the entrepreneurial spirit of food vendors, and the enduring presence of local food cultures in an age of homogenized industrial food.

I now have the opportunity to share these dynamic cultures in an exhibit I’ve curated for Perkins Library: To Market, to Market! Urban Street Food Culture Around the Globe. Through this exhibit, you can compare the texture and shape of ruby red radishes in Paris with their kaleidoscopic counterparts in Durham. Or you can draw parallels between curbside displays of fish in Essaouira, Morocco with those for sale at the Vietnamese Farmers’ Market in New Orleans East. The exhibit, which consists of twenty-four photographs, is loosely organized, encouraging you to create your own narrative of the interconnectivity of urban food around the world.

The exhibit is installed on the Student Wall on the first floor of Perkins Library, opposite the Thompson Writing Studio. It runs through March 31, 2017.

What to Read this Month: February 2017

Check out our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections for some good reads this month!


Hannah Hart, a YouTube star, has written an at times very funny and very heartbreaking memoir called Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded.  She writes about her internet fame, her family, mental illness, love, friendship, sexuality, and more.  John Green describes the memoir like this: “By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Hannah Hart’s new book is a roaring, beautiful, and profoundly human account of an extraordinary life.”  To find out more about Hannah and her memoir, check out this NPR interview.

 


Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction by Mary Ellen Hannibal is a wide-ranging adventure in becoming a citizen scientist by an award-winning writer and environmental thought leader. As Mary Ellen Hannibal wades into tide pools, follows hawks, and scours mountains to collect data on threatened species, she discovers the power of a heroic cast of volunteers–and the makings of what may be our last, best hope in slowing an unprecedented mass extinction. Digging deeply, Hannibal traces today’s tech-enabled citizen science movement to its roots: the centuries-long tradition of amateur observation by writers and naturalists.  Read an excerpt here.


In Neither Snow nor Rain: A History of the United States Postal Service, journalist Devin Leonard tackles the fascinating, centuries-long history of the USPS, from the first letter carriers through Franklin’s days, when postmasters worked out of their homes and post roads cut new paths through the wilderness.  It is a rich, multifaceted history, full of remarkable characters, from the stamp-collecting FDR, to the revolutionaries who challenged USPS’s monopoly on mail, to the renegade union members who brought the system–and the country–to a halt in the 1970s.  This book is the first major history of the USPS in over fifty years.  Read a review here and here.


Refugee Tales, edited by David Herd & Anna Pincus, collects tales from poets and novelists who retell the stories of individuals who have direct experience of Britain’s policy of indefinite immigration detention. Presenting their accounts anonymously, as modern day counterparts to the pilgrims’ stories in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales , this book offers rare, intimate glimpses into otherwise untold suffering.  You can learn more about this project here.   Also check out this review in the Guardian.

 


 Just in time for Valentine’s Day, check out Love is Love: A Comic Book Anthology to Benefit the Survivors of the Orlando Pulse Shooting from IDW Publishing and DC Entertainment.  This oversize comic contains moving and heartfelt material from some of the greatest talent in comics, mourning the victims, supporting the survivors, celebrating the LGBTQ community, and examining love in today’s world.  Some of the talents include Cecil Castellucci, Damon Lindelof, Patton Oswalt, G. Willow Wilson, Steve Orlando, James Tynion IV, Gail Simone, and Dan Parent.


Speaking of Valentine’s Day, if you’re looking for more things to read, check out our Blind Date with a Book.  You may need to hurry before all the matches are made!

Come Read the Novella that Arrival is Based on!

The Low Maintenance Book Club is going to be reading the novella Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang, which won the Nebula Awards’ Best Novella in 1999.  More famously this is the story that the recent movie Arrival is based on!

You can find several copies of the short story collection that contains this story at our libraries, including an e-book version.  Durham County Library also has a copy.

When: February 21st at 6:00pm

Where: The Edge Workshop Room  on the first floor of Bostock

How: Registering in advance helps us know how many to expect.

Light refreshments will be served.

If you have any questions, you can contact Arianne Hartsell-Gundy at aah39@duke.edu

What to Read this Month: January 2017

I hope you’re settling in to the new semester.   Why not pick up something new to read? Check out our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections.


The Sobbing School by Joshua Bennett is a “sharp and scintillating” (Publishers Weekly) debut collection of poetry, selected by Eugene Gloria as a winner of the National Poetry Series, Joshua Bennett’s mesmerizing debut collection of poetry, presents songs for the living and the dead that destabilize and de-familiarize representations of black history and contemporary black experience.  What animates these poems is a desire to assert life, and interiority , where there is said to be none.  Figures as widely divergent as Bobby Brown, Martin Heidegger, and the 19th-century performance artist Henry Box Brown, as well as Bennett’s own family and childhood best friends, appear and are placed in conversation.


I think many of us are still feeling the pain of losing Carrie Fisher.  One way to cope may be to check out her new The Princess Diarist.  When Carrie Fisher recently discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved–plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naivete, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized.  With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, this is Fisher’s intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time–and what developed behind the scenes. Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty.  If you enjoy this read, I’d highly recommend reading the rest of her writings.


In Entanglement: The Secret Lives of Hair, Emma Tarlo travels the globe, tracking the movement of hair across India, Myanmar, China, Africa, the United States, Britain and Europe, where she meets people whose livelihoods depend on it. Viewed from inside Chinese wig factories, Hindu temples and the villages of Myanmar, or from Afro hair fairs, Jewish wig parlours, fashion salons and hair loss clinics in Britain and the United States, hair is oddly revealing of the lives of all it touches.  You can read reviews here and here.

 


 In Our Own Image: Savior or Destroyer?: The History and Future of Artificial Intelligence by George Zarkadakis explores one of humankind’s oldest love-hate relationships–our ties with artificial intelligence, or AI.  It traces AI’s origins in ancient myth, through literary classics like Frankenstein, to today’s sci-fi blockbusters, arguing that a fascination with AI is hardwired into the human psyche. Zarkadakis explains AI’s history, technology, and potential; its manifestations in intelligent machines; its connections to neurology and consciousness, as well as–perhaps most tellingly–what AI reveals about us as human beings.


Unspeakable Things by Kathleen Spivack is a strange, haunting novel about survival and love in all its forms; about sexual awakenings and dark secrets; about European refugee intellectuals who have fled Hitler’s armies with their dreams intact and who have come to an elusive new (American) “can do, will do” world they cannot seem to find. A novel steeped in surreal storytelling and beautiful music that transports its half-broken souls–and us–to another realm of the senses.  To find out more read a Washington Times review, a Paste Magazine review, and a Jewish Book Council review.

Happy Birthday, Jane!

jane_austen_sketch_1050x700 Jane Austen, as sketched by her sister, Cassandra

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today is Jane Austen’s 241st birthday!  Since the film Love and Friendship came out this year (do yourself a favor and watch it ASAP), I think it would be appropriate to celebrate this year by reading some of her juvenilia and less known works.

Lady Susan (the story that the film Love and Friendship is based on)

Love & friendship: in which Jane Austen’s Lady Susan Vernon is entirely vindicated : concerning the beautiful Lady Susan Vernon, her cunning daughter & the strange antagonism of the DeCourcy family by Whit Stillman (includes Jane Austen’s novella)

Love and Freindship [sic], and Other Early Works (much of her juvenilia can be found here)

The Watsons

Fragment of a novel written by Jane Austen, January-March 1817; now first printed from the manuscript.

Northanger Abbey ; Lady Susan ; The Watsons ; Sanditon

Jane Austen’s “Sir Charles Grandison”

Catharine and Other Writings

The History of England: From the Reign of Henry the 4th to the Death of Charles the 1st (a very amusing early work)

Oh and if the image at the beginning of this post made you curious about Jane’s relationship with Cassandra, you might want to check out some of the letters.

 

What to Read this Month: December 2016

What to Read This Month Feature Post 600x360

It’s one of my favorite times of the year!  Yes, that’s right it’s “year’s best books” season.  Many places, including the NYT, Washington Post, NPR, Vulture, and many more.

I’m happy to say that we have many of these books in our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections, though I’ll warn you now that you may have to get on the waiting list for some titles!  Here are a selection.


undergroundThe Underground Railroad: A Novel by Colson Whitehead (appears on almost every list).  A magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey–hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day.

 


privatecitizensPrivate Citizens by Tony Tulathimutte.  This book is number three on Vulture’s list: “It’s a rare and bracing thing to see a debut novelist confident enough to pour acid on an entire system (in this case, the one we call meritocracy). The millennials have teeth.” The novel’s four whip-smart narrators–idealistic Cory, Internet-lurking Will, awkward Henrik, and vicious Linda–are torn between fixing the world and cannibalizing it. In boisterous prose that ricochets between humor and pain, the four estranged friends stagger through the Bay Area’s maze of tech startups, protestors, gentrifiers, karaoke bars, house parties, and cultish self-help seminars, washing up in each other’s lives once again.


thewonderAs described on the NPR list, “The Wonder: A Novel by Emma Donoghue is just that: ‘a wonder’ of a story about religious delusion and self-denial set in 19th-century Ireland.” Written with all the propulsive tension that made Room a huge bestseller, THE WONDER works beautifully on many levels–a tale of two strangers who transform each other’s lives, a powerful psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil.

 


darkroomIn the Darkroom by Susan Faludi is featured on NYT’s list: “When Faludi learned that her estranged and elderly father had undergone gender reassignment surgery, in 2004, it marked the resumption of a difficult relationship. Her father was violent and full of contradictions: a Hungarian Holocaust survivor and Leni Riefenstahl fanatic, he stabbed a man her mother was seeing and used the incident to avoid paying alimony. In this rich, arresting and ultimately generous memoir, Faludi — long known for her feminist journalism — tries to reconcile Steven, the overbearing patriarch her father once was, with Stefánie, the old woman she became.”


secondhandThe Washington Post includes Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets: by  Svetlana Alexievich: “Alexievich turns on a tape recorder and listens to average Russians describing their lives amid the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Alexievich, who was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in literature, has produced one of the most vivid and incandescent accounts yet attempted of this society caught in the throes of change.  It is the story of what one character aptly describes as ‘our lost generation — a communist upbringing and capitalist life.'”

 


smallbombsThe Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan appears on both the lists of Vulture and NYT.   It is an expansive and deeply humane novel that is at once groundbreaking in its empathy, dazzling in its acuity, and ambitious in scope.  When brothers Tushar and Nakul Khurana, two Delhi schoolboys, pick up their family’s television set at a repair shop with their friend Mansoor Ahmed one day in 1996, disaster strikes without warning. A bomb–one of the many “small” bombs that go off seemingly unheralded across the world–detonates in the Delhi marketplace, instantly claiming the lives of the Khurana boys, to the devastation of their parents. Mansoor survives, bearing the physical and psychological effects of the bomb.


Since it’s the season of giving, here are two other things you might find useful when selecting a good read.  The Guardian does a slightly different kind of end of year roundup.  They have various writers such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Julian Barnes select their favorite reads of the year.  Also, NPR has a really fun Book Concierge that lets you use filters to explore titles recommended by their staff and critics.

Take the Library Home with You

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As you are preparing for your much needed break, I hope you remember that the library will still be here for you!  Maybe you already know that you can access many of our online resources from home or that you can check out books to take home with you.  We also have movies and music that you can stream and some e-books that you can download to your devices.  Here are some of the resources we have to do this!

Streaming Videos

Alexander Street Video Collection: Find and watch streaming video across multiple Alexander Street Press video collections on diverse topics that include newsreels, documentaries, field recordings, interviews and lectures.

Docuseek2 Collection: Find and watch streaming video of documentary and social issues films.

Films on Demand: Find and watch streaming video with academic, vocational, and life-skills content.

Kanopy: Watch thousands of award-winning documentaries and feature films including titles from the Criterion Collection.

Go to bit.ly/dukevideos to access these video collections.

Streaming Music

Naxos Music Library:  Huge selection of classical music recordings—over 1,925,000 tracks!

Jazz Music Library:  Access a wide range of recordings from jazz classics to contemporary jazz.

Contemporary World Music and Smithsonian Global Sound: Listen to music from around the world, including reggae, Bollywood, fado, American folk music, and more.

Metropolitan Opera on Demand:  For opera fans, a large selection of opera videos from the stage of the Metropolitan Opera.

All of these streaming music sources can be accessed at library.duke.edu/music/resources/listening-online

Overdrive Books

Go to duke.overdrive.com to access downloadable eBooks and audiobooks that can be enjoyed on all major computers and devices, including iPhones®, iPads®, Nooks®, Android™ phones and tablets, and Kindles®.

What to Read this Month: November 2016

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Want to find a good read for the Thanksgiving holiday? Check out our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections. Here are a couple of suggestions that might be of interest.


seaAll at Sea: A Memoir by Decca Aitkenhead tells the story of love and loss, of how one couple changed each other’s life, and of what a sudden death can do to the people who survive.  On a hot, still morning on a beautiful beach in Jamaica, Decca Aitkenhead’s life changed forever. Her four-year-old son was paddling peacefully at the water’s edge when a wave pulled him out to sea. Her partner, Tony, swam out and saved their son’s life–then drowned before her eyes. Here is a great review of the book and a little discussion of her writing process.

 


refugeesCity of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp by Ben Rawlence. Rawlence interweaves the stories of nine individuals to show what life is like in the camp and to sketch the wider political forces that keep the refugees trapped there. Rawlence combines intimate storytelling with broad socio-political investigative journalism, doing for Dadaab what Katherinee Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers did for the Mumbai slums. Lucid, vivid and illuminating, City of Thorns is an urgent human story with deep international repercussions, brought to life through the people who call Dadaab home.


microbesI Contain Multitudes: The Microbes within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong examines one of the most significant revolution in biology since Darwin–a “microbe’s-eye view” of the world that reveals a marvelous, radically reconceived picture of life on earth.  Ed Yong takes us on a grand tour through our microbial partners, and introduces us to the scientists on the front lines of discovery. Look here and here for good reviews.

 


citiesCities I’ve Never Lived In: Stories by Sara Majka. Fearlessly riding the line between imagination and experience, fact and fiction, the stories in this debut collection give intimate glimpses of a young New England woman whose life must begin afresh after divorce. A book that upends our ideas of love and belonging, and which asks how much of ourselves we leave behind with each departure we make, these fourteen stories orbit the dreams of a narrator who turns to narrative as a means of working through the world and of understanding herself.  To learn more about this collection check out these two reviews.


gaslightBy Gaslight by Steven Price.  As described by Jean Zimmerman from NPR.org, “By Gaslight can be seen as Arthur Conan Doyle by way of Dickens by way of Faulkner . . . Intense, London-centric, threaded through with a melancholy brilliance, it is an extravagant novel that takes inspiration from the classics and yet remains wholly itself.”

Book Talk: Eric Fair, Author of “Consequence,” Oct. 13

eric-fair_credit-amy-cramerDate: Thursday, October 13
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Holsti-Anderson Family Assembly Room, Rubenstein Library (map)

Eric Fair, an Army veteran, served as an interrogator in Iraq working as a military contractor. He was stationed at the Abu Ghraib prison and in Fallujah in 2004. In his new memoir, Consequence (Henry Holt & Co., 2016), Fair writes about feeling haunted by what he did, what he saw, and what he heard in Iraq, from the beating of prisoners to witnessing the use of sleep deprivation, stress positions, diet manipulation, isolation, and other so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

In this talk, Fair will discuss the fallout from that experience, from a war-strained marriage and a heart transplant to the moral struggle of speaking out publicly against his country’s use of torture on prisoners.

Free and open to the public. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Copies of the book will be for sale at the event.


More about Eric Fair:

Sponsored by the Duke University Libraries, Duke Human Rights Center@the Franklin Humanities Institute, Forum for Scholars and Publics, and Duke Chapel.

For more information, contact: Aaron Welborn, Director of Communications

What to Read this Month: October 2016

What to ReadThis Month

As always we’re highlighting our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections.  Since we’re getting closer to the November 8th election, this month’s theme is elections and politics!


vote2 Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America by Ari Berman.  Berman brings the struggle over voting rights to life through meticulous archival research, in-depth interviews with major figures in the debate, and incisive on-the-ground reporting. In vivid prose, he takes the reader from the demonstrations of the civil rights era to the halls of Congress to the chambers of the Supreme Court.

 

 


uninformed Uninformed: Why People Know So Little about Politics and What We Can Do about It by Arthur Lupia. Citizens sometimes lack the knowledge that they need to make competent political choices, and it is undeniable that greater knowledge can improve decision making. But we need to understand that voters either don’t care about or pay attention to much of the information that experts think is important. Uninformed provides the keys to improving political knowledge and civic competence: understanding what information is important to others and knowing how to best convey it to them.

 


clinton Who is Hillary Clinton?: Two Decades of Answers from the Left, edited by Richard Kreitner.  Contributors to this anthology include David Corn, Erica Jong, Christopher Hitchens, Michael Tomasky, William Greider, Ari Berman, Barbara Ehrenreich, Chris Hayes, Jessica Valenti, Richard Kim, Joan Walsh, Jamelle Bouie, Doug Henwood, Heather Digby Parton, Michelle Goldberg, and many more.

 

 


trumpTrump and Me by Mark Singer.   Recounts the Singer’s experience writing a profile about Trump for the New Yorker in 1996.

 

 

 

 


obama The Obama Doctrine: American Grand Strategy Today by Colin Dueck.  The Obama Doctrine not only provides a sharp appraisal of foreign policy in the Obama era; it lays out an alternative approach to marshaling American power that will help shape the foreign policy debate in the run-up to the 2016 elections.

 

 


womenvoteYour Voice Your Vote: The Savvy Woman’s Guide to Power, Politics, and the Change We Need by Martha Burk.  This book is a manifesto for this year’s woman voter and for male voters who care about the women in their lives. Martha Burk empowers the reader to cut through the double talk, irrelevancies, and false promises, and focuses directly on what’s at stake for women not only in the 2016 election, but also in the years beyond. Where women stand, what women think, and what we need — with tough questions for candidates to hold their feet to the fire.

 


If you’re not registered to vote, check out Duke’s Student Affairs voter registration page.

Finally, the Libraries will be hosting an informal watch party in the Lilly Training Room (Room 103) for each televised debate. We will also plan to host an interesting discussion by two faculty experts on Wednesday October 19th. Watch out for further information!

Showing Our Stuff

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An undergraduate studies the folio on display

The treasures of Duke’s branch libraries are often hidden.  The circulating collections and services of these smaller libraries often claim the pride of place.  Both libraries on East Campus, Lilly Library and Music Library, however, hold precious material relating to their subject collections.  Known in the library world as “medium rare” (as opposed to the rare materials located in the David M. Rubenstein Library) such primary source materials allow students to examine history first hand.

This fall the Lilly Library added a lobby display case to highlight its unique collections.  The inaugural display is one volume of our three-volume Vitruvius Britannicus, a large and early folio devoted to the great buildings of England to be seen in 1717.

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Vitruvius Britannicus

An outstanding example of a folio (book) format as well as the awakening of interest in British architecture by its own architects –  quoting from the Oxford Art Online – Vitruvius Britannicus was a cooperative venture that appears to have developed out of the desire of a group of booksellers to capitalize on an already established taste for topographical illustration.

Published in 1715 and 1717, the two original volumes each consisted of 100 large folio plates of plans, elevations and sections chiefly illustrating contemporary secular buildings.  Many of these plates provided lavish illustration of the best-known houses of the day, such as Chatsworth, Derbys, or Blenheim Palace, Oxon, intended to appeal to the widespread desire for prints of such buildings as well as  providing their architects a chance to publicize their current work.

We invite you to visit the Lilly Library on East Campus and to enjoy this  “medium rare” folio on exhibit. For more information about the Lilly Library folio or art and image collections, contact Lee Sorensen,  the Librarian for Visual Studies.

Prayer and Meditation Room Open to All

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Members of all faiths are welcome to use the new Prayer and Meditation Room in Perkins Library.

With the fall semester now well under way, we thought this would be a good time to remind our hard-working students and faculty that the library is not just for studying. Earlier this year, in response to student requests, the Libraries opened a space on the second floor of Perkins specifically dedicated to prayer and meditation.

The Prayer and Meditation Room is available for students and faculty of all faiths. The room is a shared space open to all members of the Duke community to use either individually or in groups.

Room 220 in Perkins Library is located near the open study area with wooden carrels on the library’s second floor. (See map below.)

The Prayer and Meditation Room is located in Room 220 on the 2nd Floor of Perkins Library.
The Prayer and Meditation Room is located in Room 220 on the 2nd Floor of Perkins Library.

Anyone who wishes to use the space is asked to follow a few simple guidelines:

  • Prayer or meditation does not necessarily need to be silent, but it should be quiet enough not to disturb anyone studying in adjacent areas or rooms.
  • The Prayer and Meditation Room cannot be reserved and is not to be used for studying or for meetings.
  • If you use the room, please show respect toward others who use it. Keep the room clean, take your personal belongings with you when you leave, and do not sleep or bring food into the space.

We welcome members of all faiths who study and work in the library to use and enjoy this space!

2016 Banned Books Week

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Banned Books Week runs this year from September 25th through October 1st.  This year’s theme is about celebrating diversity!  If you’re interested in reading why diversity was picked this year, you might appreciate reading “Why Diverse Books are Commonly Banned,” which mentions that ” ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, has determined that 52% of the books challenged, or banned, over the past decade are from titles that are considered diverse content.”  I also appreciated this point of view from an article in Time.

If you’re interested in reading challenged books with diverse content, here is a list of titles. We of course own many of these books, including these selected titles:

You might also want to check out the 2015 list of the “most challenged” books.

 

Drama Online

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We now have access to the Core Collection of Drama Online, a resource for finding full texts of plays.  It Includes full texts of plays from across the history of the theatre, ranging from Aeschylus to the present day.  It also includes non-English-language works in translation, scholarly and critical editions, first night program texts, and critical analysis and contextual information. Critical interpretations, theatre history surveys and major reference works on authors, movements, practitioners, periods and genres are included alongside performance and practitioner texts, acting and backstage guides.

You can browse by plays, playwrights, genres, periods, context and criticism, and by theatre craft.  Advanced search options also allow you to search by type, playwrights, genre, period, theme, and setting.

Each play in the collection includes a production enquiry, which gives helpful information on who to contact to get performance rights for the play.  Many plays also include useful tools, like a Character Grid that can be used to see only the lines of a given character.

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Another great tool is the Words and Speeches tool that shows how many words and speeches are spoken in different acts of the play.

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Currently we don’t have access to all the Nick Hern plays or the videos, but it’s quite likely that our access will expand in the next year!

What to Read this Month: September 2016

What to ReadThis Month

Welcome back to a new semester!  While you’re exploring all that Duke has to offer, why not explore our New and Noteworthy or Current Literature collections?  One of the great things about the books in these collections is the variety of subject areas and genres represented—everything from graphic novels, political histories, and books about diseases (and many things in between).


Hamilton: The Revolution: Being the complete libretto of the Broadway musical, with a true account of its creation, and concise remarks on hip-hop, the power of stories, and the new America by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter.  I’m not going to lie to you, you may have to request this title, but it should still be easier than getting tickets to the musical!  This book traces the development of this blockbuster musical, provides the full text of the libretto, photos, interviews, and more.

 


indexPaper Girls Volume One, writer Brian K. Vaughan (author of Saga and other works) and artist Cliff Chiang.  In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.  You may enjoy this if you have been enjoying the Netflix show Stranger Things.

 


medicaldetectiveIn Adventures of a Female Medical Detective: In Pursuit of Smallpox and AIDS, Mary Guinan, PhD, MD, writes stories of her life in medicine, describing her individual experiences in controlling outbreaks, researching new diseases, and caring for patients with untreatable infections. She offers readers a feisty, engaging, and uniquely female perspective from a time when very few women worked in the field.  If you want to learn more, you mind find this review and this interview helpful.

 


vote The Fight to Vote by Michael Waldman, president of The Brennan Center, a legal think tank at NYU.  This book trace the entire story from the Founders’ debates to today’s restrictions: gerrymandering; voter ID laws; the flood of money unleashed by conservative nonprofit organizations; making voting difficult for the elderly, the poor, and the young, by restricting open polling places.  You can read this Washington Post article for more details.

 


millervalleyMiller’s Valley by Anna Quindlen.  For generations the Millers have lived in Miller’s Valley. Mimi Miller tells about her life with intimacy and honesty. As Mimi eavesdrops on her parents and quietly observes the people around her, she discovers more and more about the toxicity of family secrets, the dangers of gossip, the flaws of marriage, the inequalities of friendship and the risks of passion, loyalty, and love. Home, as Mimi begins to realize, can be “a place where it’s just as easy to feel lost as it is to feel content.”  You can find reviews here, here, and here.  If you enjoy this book, check out one of Anna Quindlen’s many other books here.

What to read this month

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I don’t know about you, but when it’s as hot as it’s been this week, all I want to do is stay inside in the air conditioning with a good book (assuming escaping to a lovely beach isn’t an option). If reading sounds good to you too, you might find some good titles in either our New and Noteworthy or Current Literature collections.

  1. The Queen of the Night by  Alexander Chee.  From a writer praised by Junot Díaz as “the fire, in my opinion, and the light,” a mesmerizing novel that follows one woman’s rise from circus rider to courtesan to world-renowned diva .  You can read a NYT review here.
  2. Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton.  Do you enjoy historical fiction?  Then you might like this dramatization of the life of Margaret Cavendish, the shy, gifted, and wildly unconventional 17th-century Duchess. The eccentric Margaret wrote and published volumes of poems, philosophy, feminist plays, and utopian science fiction at a time when “being a writer” was not an option open to women.
  3. The Fugitives by Christopher Sorrentino, a National Book Award finalist. He has written a book that is a bracing, kaleidoscopic look at love and obsession, loyalty and betrayal, race and identity, compulsion and free.
  4. The Girls: A Novel by Emma Cline is a not to be missed New York Times Bestseller.  This debut novel about the Manson family murders has had a lot of good reviews, such as this, this, and this.
  5. The After Party by Anton DiSclafani.  Looking for more of a traditional beach read?  The check out the book O Magazine describes as “One of the 3 Beach Reads You Won’t Be Able to Put Down.”  This is the story of 1950s Texas socialites and the one irresistible, controversial woman at the bright, hot center of it all.

On the Road with the Frank C. Brown Collection

Guest post by Winston Atkins, Preservation Officer for the Duke University Libraries and Principal Investigator for the grant to digitize Frank Clyde Brown’s recordings of early twentieth-century folk music.

Frank C. Brown in the field, date and location unknown. Brown often used a car battery to power the recording devices he used.
Frank C. Brown in the field, date and location unknown. Brown often used a car battery to power the recording devices he used.

 

We are a nation linked by iHeartRadio stations playing “Start Me Up” by the Rolling Stones—that much is certain. I come to understand this as I drive the Frank Clyde Brown Collection’s 60 wax cylinders and 76 aluminum discs of folk songs and ballads to the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) in Andover, Massachusetts. There, the NEDCC will use a new and highly innovative technology called IRENE to help us rediscover these performances, which have been essentially unavailable to scholars for nearly a century.

It’s almost too easy to contrast that single, frequently repeated song (unloved by me) with my cargo, but I do it anyway: it’s a 15-hour trip and I’ve got time. The 136 cylinders and discs hold an estimated 1,367 performances collected by Brown as he traveled across North Carolina between 1915 and his death in 1943. Brown, an English professor who also served as comptroller during Trinity College’s transition into Duke University, somehow also found time to drive into back areas throughout North Carolina to record this music. There’s a certain symmetry to me driving his recordings from Duke to Andover.

Because they are too fragile to be played as intended, the cylinders and discs will be digitized using a non-contact visual scanning technology known as IRENE. Image courtesy of NEDCC.org.
Because they are too fragile to be played as intended, the cylinders and discs will be digitized using a non-contact visual scanning technology known as IRENE. Image courtesy of NEDCC.org.

The wax cylinders are especially brittle, though, which is why Craig Breaden and I finally decided I should drive them to the NEDCC rather than ship them. Craig, the Rubenstein Library’s Audiovisual Archivist, serves as the Project Manager for this grant. We’ve taken special care in packing, and each cylinder is stored in its own box. Twenty cylinders are then housed in a storage box, and for the trip, each storage box is packed in a larger box and surrounded by foam packing peanuts. The single storage box of aluminum discs is packed the same way. Although not as fragile as the wax cylinders, some of the discs use an acetate “lacquer” for the recording medium, which can be damaged.

The care extends to the trip: I’ve rented a minivan, which provides the bonus of a separate air conditioning system for the back storage area. That helps keep the cargo at a uniform temperature—changes in temperature are particularly hard on wax cylinders. In fact, I decide not to eat dinner while the outdoor temperature is above 75 degrees because I don’t want to leave the air conditioning off for too long. I drive to Hartford, Connecticut, that night and when I check into the motel, I take all four boxes into my room, where I put them on the bed instead of on the floor, just in case the fan coil unit leaks. They look kind of cozy there.

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The boxed-up cylinders and discs, resting from their journey.

What makes the IRENE technology worth the trouble? Craig and I will write more about it over the course of this project, but IRENE is perfect for material like this. IRENE makes ultra-high resolution visual scans of a disc’s or cylinder’s grooves to create an image of the track; its software converts the images to sound files. Creating visual scans first means that we can get an accurate digital sound file without a needle or stylus. That provides two important advantages: we don’t risk further damage to the grooves of these fragile media, and IRENE can sometimes recover sound from cracked or broken discs and cylinders if it can get an image of the grooves sufficient to match up with the other pieces. It’s amazing, and only the NEDCC provides this service.

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Jane Pipik, Manager of Audio Preservation Services at NEDCC, demonstrates how IRENE translates visual groove scans into digital sound files.

All of us associated with this project feel like the Brown Collection is a great collection, the music a treasure waiting to be rediscovered. The recordings contain ballads and folk songs that can be traced back to England, songs that traveled to North Carolina from other parts of the United States, and songs like those around the murder of Laura Foster by Tom Dula (a.k.a. Tom Dooley) that originated here.

And that’s what distinguishes this music from the Stones’ “Start Me Up.” Although the same song might be represented several times in the collection, each performance is unique; each musician provided his or her own take on the lyrics and music, or of the people from whom he or she learned the music. Even though the title might be the same, each performance potentially offers insights to us about the culture of the musicians’ locale. That is what makes the trip worth it.


The grant to digitize Frank Clyde Brown’s recordings is part of the Council on Library and Information Resources’ Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives awards program, a national competition that funds the digitization of rare and unique content held by libraries and cultural memory institutions and that would otherwise be unavailable to the public. The Council on Library and Information Resources is an independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions, and communities of higher learning. 

The program receives generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Founded in 1969, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies by supporting exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work.  Additional information is available at mellon.org.

What to read this month

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Looking for something interesting to read this summer?  Check out some of the great titles in our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections.

  1. A Doubter’s Almanac : A Novel by Ethan Canin. Milo Andret is born with an unusual mind. A lonely child growing up in the woods of northern Michigan in the 1950s, he gives little thought to his own talent. But with his acceptance at U.C. Berkeley he realizes the extent, and the risks, of his singular gifts. California in the seventies is a seduction, opening Milo’s eyes to the allure of both ambition and indulgence. The research he begins there will make him a legend; the woman he meets there–and the rival he meets alongside her–will haunt him for the rest of his life. For Milo’s brilliance is entwined with a dark need that soon grows to threaten his work, his family, even his existence.
  2. Pablo by Julie Birmant & Clément Oubrerie ; translated by Edward Gauvin ; coloured by Sandra Desmazières. This award-winning graphic biography of Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) captures the prolific and eventful life of one of the world’s best-loved artists. Pablo explores Picasso’s early life among the bohemians of Montmartre, his turbulent relationship with artist/model Fernande Olivier, and how his art developed through friendships with poets Max Jacob and Guillaume Apollinaire, the painter Georges Braque, and his great rival Henri Matisse. Julie Birmant and Clément Oubrerie depict a career that began in poverty and reached its climax with the advent of cubism and modern art.
  3. The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship : Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice by Patricia Bell-Scott.  Pauli Murray should be of particular interest because of her connections to Durham!  In fact you might have seen some of these murals around town.  This book tells the story of how a brilliant writer-turned-activist, granddaughter of a mulatto slave, and the first lady of the United States, whose ancestry gave her membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution, forged an enduring friendship that changed each of their lives and helped to alter the course of race and racism in America.
  4. Ginny Gall : A Life in the South by Charlie Smith.  A sweeping, eerily resonant epic of race and violence in the Jim Crow South: a lyrical and emotionally devastating masterpiece from Charlie Smith, whom the New York Public Library has said “may be America’s most bewitching stylist alive.”You can read reviews for this novel here and here.
  5. The Internet of Us: Knowing More and Understanding Less in the Age of Big Data by Michael Patrick Lynch.  We used to say “seeing is believing”; now googling is believing. With 24/7 access to nearly all of the world’s information at our fingertips, we no longer trek to the library or the encyclopedia shelf in search of answers. We just open our browsers, type in a few keywords and wait for the information to come to us. Indeed, the Internet has revolutionized the way we learn and know, as well as how we interact with each other. And yet this explosion of technological innovation has also produced a curious paradox: even as we know more, we seem to understand less.

What to read this month

 

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Finally we’re moving into the summer months!  If you’re like me, you’ve got some vacation plans and other lazy days that are just made for relaxing with a book.  If so, you might want to check out some of the great titles in our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections.

  1. Uprooted by Naomi Novik.  This book recently received the 2015 Nebula award for best novel.  It’s rooted (pun intended) in  folk stories and legends and features a great female protagonist.  It’s been one of my favorite reads this year!
  2. The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America by Michael Eric Dyson, a professor of Sociology at Georgetown University and the author of many books.  This book explores the powerful, surprising way the politics of race have shaped Barack Obama’s identity and groundbreaking presidency. How has President Obama dealt publicly with race–as the national traumas of Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, and Walter Scott have played out during his tenure? What can we learn from Obama’s major race speeches about his approach to racial conflict and the black criticism it provokes?
  3. Half-earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life by Edward O. Wilson.  In order to stave off the mass extinction of species, including our own, we must move swiftly to preserve the biodiversity of our planet, says Edward O. Wilson in his most impassioned book to date.  Half-Earth argues that the situation facing us is too large to be solved piecemeal and proposes a solution commensurate with the magnitude of the problem: dedicate fully half the surface of the Earth to nature.
  4. The Life of Elves by Muriel Barbery is translated from the French by Alison Anderson and is an inspiring literary fantasy about two gifted girls from the bestselling author of The Elegance of the Hedgehog, The Life of Elves sings of the human spirit and conveys a message of hope and faith.  You can read reviews here, here, and here.
  5. The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing. This book uses memoir, biography, and cultural criticism to examine the subject of loneliness.  She examines the lives of six iconic artists, such as Edward Hopper, Andy Warhol, and Henry Darger.  You can read a very thoughtful review in the NYT.

What to read this month

what to read this month - april

April is National Poetry Month, and everyone is celebrating, even Bill Murray. Obviously, you don’t want to miss out on all the fun, so here are some books of poetry and books about poetry from the New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections.

Books of Poetry

  1. The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food & Drink edited by Kevin Young includes both classic and contemporary poems on food and the experience of eating.
  2. Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine is a meditation on race and racial aggressions in contemporary American society.
  3. If the Tabloids Are True What Are You? by Matthea Harvey is a combination of prose poetry and visual artwork.
  4. Before the Next Bomb Drops: Rising up from Brooklyn to Palestine by Remi Kanazi examines the lives of Palestinians living in the Middle East and around the world.

Books about Poetry

  1. The State of the Art: A Chronicle of American Poetry, 1988-2014 by David Lehman is a compilation of forewords from the acclaimed annual series, The Best American Poetry.
  2. Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures by Mary Ruefle is a compilation of biannual lectures delivered to graduate students studying poetry.
  3. I Too Have Some Dreams: N. M. Rashed and Modernism in Urdu Poetry by A. Sean Pue explores the work of N. M. Rashed, Urdu’s renowned modernist poet.
  4. The Alvarez Generation: Thom Gunn, Geoffrey Hill, Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, and Peter Porter by William Wootten examines the cultural influence of poetry produced in the 1950s and 1960s.

And just in case poetry isn’t your cup of tea, there’s always Anders Nilsen’s sketchbook/graphic novel Poetry is Useless.

Shakespeare Celebrations Continue!

Last week we celebrated Shakespeare with a series of blog posts (which you can read here, here, here, here, and here.  We were also one of the reading locations for the Shakespeare Everywhere event! They had undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff, and administrators participate!

In fact enjoy this video of the Brodheads reading in Duke Gardens!

Shakespeare celebrations continue across the world, with a lot of things happening tomorrow.   You can watch the live streaming event “The Wonder of Will: Sharing Shakespeare Stories” tomorrow from noon-1:30 ET.  More locally the Shakespeare Marathon begins tomorrow at the North Carolina Museum of History.

Let me also highlight a few articles and think pieces that are being written.  I  really enjoyed this article that has reflections from 25 authors about Shakespeare’s influence on them.  I thought this reflection on food in Shakespeare was really interesting.  Also, this article looks at why we are still obsessively talking about the bard after all this time.

Finally as you can imagine this year has been a banner year for new books about Shakespeare.  Here are a few in our collection (a couple of these aren’t out yet but are on order):

Shakespeare in our time : a Shakespeare Association of America collection edited by Dympna Callaghan and Suzanne Gossett

Worldly Shakespeare : the theatre of our good will by Richard Wilson

Shakespeare’s literary lives : the author as character in fiction and film by Paul Franssen

Selling Shakespeare : biography, bibliography, and the book trade by Adam G. Hooks

Teaching Shakespeare with purpose : a student-centred approach by Ayanna Thompson and Laura Turchi

Shakespeare, performance and the archive by Barbara Hodgdon

Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama Text and Performance by Pamela Bickley and Jenny Stevens

Shakespeare’s prop room: an inventory by John Leland and Alan Baragona

Shakespeare’s insults : a pragmatic dictionary by Nathalie Vienne-Guerrin

 

Charlie Hebdo Attack Survivor Philippe Lançon, Apr. 20

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WHAT: Talk and Q&A with French writer and journalist Philippe Lançon

WHEN: Wednesday, April 20, 5:00 p.m.

WHERE: Holsti-Anderson Family Assembly Room, Rubenstein Library Room 153

Reception to follow.


French writer and journalist, Philippe Lançon, will speak at Duke University on the vital force of reading and writing in the face of terror attacks.

His talk, “Comment lire et écrire après un attentat (How to read and write in the wake of an attack),” will be in French with an English synopsis provided. The Q&A will also be conducted in English.  A reception will follow.

Lançon will be speaking on a subject he knows all too well.  A contributor to the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, he was participating in the editorial meeting the morning of the terrorist attack on January 7, 2015. He came out, injured, and ready to write again a week later.

Parisians rally at the Place de la Republique in support of the victims of the January 7, 2015 Charlie Hebdo shooting. Photo by Olivier Ortelpa from Wikimedia Commons.
Parisians rally at the Place de la Republique in support of the victims of the January 7, 2015 Charlie Hebdo shooting. Photo by Olivier Ortelpa from Wikimedia Commons.

Lançon’s writing as a critic of literature and the arts is widely known and respected. For his work in Libération and XXI, he has won the Hennessy award as well as the Lagardère Journalist Award.  Lançon has a particular interest in the fiction of Spanish America, especially Cuba.

Lançon is also the author of several novels and short stories, including L’élan  (2011) and  Les îles (2013), publishing playfully under a pseudonym as well.

In 2010, Lançon taught two courses on French literature and politics at Duke in the Department of Romance Studies. He first came to Duke as a Media Fellow in the Sanford School for Public Policy, now part of the Franklin Humanities Institute.

His talk is co-sponsored by the Center for French and Francophone Studies, the Department of Romance Studies, Duke University Libraries, and the Franklin Humanities Institute.

Read more by Philippe Lançon:

 

Adapting Shakespeare

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Shakespeare’s plays have been adapted for many different periods, countries, and media.

Most obviously his plays have been produced on the stage in a variety of ways.  Some stage productions try to perform  the play as close to the original as possible, some decide to work with all female casts, and some set their productions in specific time periods, like the roaring 20’s or World War Two.  One way to see the different kinds of productions is to read stage histories.  In particular you might enjoy Shakespeare: An Illustrated Stage History.

Of course there have also been many film adaptions, many of which we own at Lilly Library.  Don’t forget too the classical music, operas, other plays, television, and musicals that have been based on Shakespeare’s plays!

I personally enjoy fiction adapted (or even just inspired by) from Shakespeare, including the new Hogarth Shakespeare series.  We already have Jeanette Winterson’s The Gap of Time: The Winter’s Tale Retold, and I’m especially looking forward to Margaret Atwood’s take on The Tempest.

Here are a few more titles to look for:

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley.  A successful Iowa farmer decides to divide his farm between his three daughters. When the youngest objects, she is cut out of his will. This sets off a chain of events that brings dark truths to light and explodes long-suppressed emotions. An ambitious reimagining of Shakespeare’s King Lear cast upon a typical American community in the late twentieth century, A Thousand Acres takes on themes of truth, justice, love, and pride, and reveals the beautiful yet treacherous topography of humanity.

Prospero’s Daughter by Elizabeth Nunez.  A brilliantly conceived retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest set on a lush Caribbean island during the height of tensions between the native population and British colonists.

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown.  The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women. When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there.

My Name Is Will: A Novel of Sex, Drugs, and Shakespeare by Jess Winfield.  This is a humourous and ultimately moving novel about sex, drugs, and Shakespeare. It tells the story of struggling UC Santa Cruz student Willie Shakespeare Greenberg who is trying to write his thesis about the bard.

The Madness of Love by Katharine Davies.  Takes inspiration from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and raises the curtain on the interconnecting lives and loves of an unforgettable cast of characters.

Mama Day by Gloria Naylor.  The story, which makes many allusions to the dramatic works of Shakespeare, focuses upon the tragic love affair of “star-crossed” lovers Ophelia “Cocoa” Day and George Andrews.

Gertrude and Claudius by John Updike.  Tells the story of Claudius and Gertrude, King and Queen of Denmark, before the action of Shakespeare’s Hamlet begins. Employing the nomenclature and certain details of the ancient Scandinavian legends that first describe the prince who feigns madness to achieve revenge upon his father’s slayer, Updike brings to life Gertrude’s girlhood as the daughter of King Rorik, her arranged marriage to the man who becomes King Hamlet, and her middle-aged affair with her husband’s younger brother.

Wise Children by Angela Carter.  In their heyday on the vaudeville stages of the early twentieth century, Dora Chance and her twin sister, Nora―unacknowledged daughters of Sir Melchior Hazard, the greatest Shakespearean actor of his day―were known as the Lucky Chances, with private lives as colorful and erratic as their careers.

 

Researching Shakespeare

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Has our series of blog posts celebrating Shakespeare inspired you to learn more more about him?  You are in luck because there are a lot of primary and secondary sources related to Shakespeare that you can use in your research!

In fact there is so much information out there that you will actually want to give some thought about how to narrow your research.  One way I would suggest doing this is to give some careful thought to the subject headings you use.  Here are some suggestions that I have:

Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616–Biography

Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616–Characters

Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616–Comedies

Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616–Criticism and interpretation

Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616–Poetic works

Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616–Political and social views

Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616–Stage history

Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616–Tragedies

There are also several very specific Shakespeare related sources to use, such as:

World Shakespeare Bibliography Online.  Provides annotated entries for all important books, articles, book reviews, dissertations, theatrical productions, reviews of productions, audiovisual materials, electronic media, and other scholarly and popular materials related to Shakespeare.

Editions and Adaptations of Shakespeare. The complete text of eleven major editions of Shakespeare’s works from the First Folio to the Cambridge edition of 1863-6, twenty four separate contemporary printings of individual plays, selected apocrypha and related works and more than 100 adaptations, sequels, and burlesques from the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries.

Shakespeare Quarterly. Founded in 1950 by the Shakespeare Association of America, Shakespeare Quarterly is a refereed journal committed to publishing articles in the vanguard of Shakespeare studies.

Shakespeare Studies. An international volume of essays, studies and reviews dealing with the cultural history of early modern England and the place of Shakespeare’s production in it.

Shakespeare Survey.  A series of Shakespeare studies and production. Since 1948 Survey has published the best international scholarship in English and many of its essays have become classics of Shakespeare criticism.

BBC Shakespeare Plays.  Click on “Institution Access” tab to access this database. Between 1978 and 1985, the BBC televised the entire Shakespeare canon of 37 plays. View these acclaimed productions streamed online, as each boasts some of the richest talent in 20th century British theatre and television.

You may also want to look at the historical context that Shakespeare lived in.  I have two recommendations for this.  One is starting with some of the literature resources I have listed on my Medieval and Early Modern page on my Literature guide.  Another is to go to the more complete Medieval and Renaissance Studies guide.

Another avenue of research is to check out some of the materials in the Rubenstein Library.

Finally there are several really great websites that you might find useful:

There’s a rich amount of information to be found on the Folger Shakespeare Library’s website.  A good place to get a sense of what is available is to check out this recent blog post called “Explore Duke’s connection to the Folger Shakespeare Library.”

The MIT Global Shakespeares Video & Performance Archive is a collaborative project providing online access to performances of Shakespeare from many parts of the world as well as essays and metadata by scholars and educators in the field.

The Internet Shakespeare Editions (ISE) is a non-profit scholarly website publishing in three main areas: Shakespeare’s plays and poems, Shakespeare’s life and times, and Shakespeare in performance.  Duke University Libraries is a Friend of the ISE.

The Shakespeare Quartos Archive.  A digital collection of pre-1642 editions of William Shakespeare’s plays. A cross-Atlantic collaboration has also produced an interactive interface for the detailed study of these geographically distant quartos, with full functionality for all thirty-two quarto copies of Hamlet held by participating institutions.

I don’t know how long this tool will be available, but JSTOR has this fun Understanding Shakespeare site where they are connecting digital texts from the Folger Shakespeare Library with articles on JSTOR.

Continue your exploration of Shakespeare by joining us on April 15th at the Shakespeare Everywhere reading!

 

Shaikh Zubayr

This guest post has been written by Sean Swanick, the Librarian For Middle East and Islamic Studies, as part of our series of Shakespeare related blog posts.

A man lost at sea, having drifted far away from his native Iraqi lands, comes a shore in England. In due time he will be nicknamed the Bard of Avon but upon landing on the Saxon coast, his passport reportedly read: Shaikh Zubayr. A knowledgeable man with great writing prowess from a small town called Zubayr in Iraq. He came to be known in the West as Shakespeare and was given the first name of William. William Shakespeare of Zubayr.

Or at least this is loosely how a story goes about The Bard’s origins. It was purportedly first suggested by the famous Lebanese intellectual, Aḥmad Fāris al-Shidyāq and later popularised by the Iraqi intellectual Dr. Ṣafāʾ Khulūṣī. Khulūṣī in 1960 published an article entitled “The Study of Shakespeare” in al-Ma’rifa (1960) where he paid homage to the Bard while also expanding upon al-Shidyāq’s theory. This perplexing theory has generated much rebuttal and discussion. This theory rested upon “that most of Shakespeare’s language could be traced back to Classical Arabic…[t]o give one example : the Arabic adjective nabīl which means ‘noble’ and which occurs, naturally enough, throughout the plays and poems.” (“Shadow Language” in Ormsby, Eric L. 2011. Fine incisions: essays on poetry and place. Erin, Ont: Porcupine’s Quill.) The former Libyan dictator, Mu’ammar al-Qadhāfī is also reported to have supported the theory of Shaikh Zubayr.

At Duke, visiting Professor Abdul Sattar Jawad of Duke Islamic Studies Centre wrote a delightful article in The Chronicle in 2011 about the popularity of Shakespeare in Iraq. He noted, “[i]n Iraq, Shakespeare’s works are regarded as the second Bible and the center of Western canon. He became a mandatory course in schools and universities alike. “To be or not to be,” “as you like it,” and “that is the question,” were frequently cited, even by the illiterate. They are heaven’s gift, backed by thorough knowledge of the highest professionalism put into poetry and the dramatic art” (Abdul Sattar Jawad, “Shakespeare in Baghdad,” The Chronicle, 2 December 2011).

A couple of additional resources for those with interested in Shakespeare in Arabic. MIT has a list of videos, all translated and performed in Arabic, freely available here: http://globalshakespeares.mit.edu/arab-world/#. A bit of further information on Shakespeare in Arabic may be found on this blog http://arabshakespeare.blogspot.com/, and the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/arabshakespeare/timeline.

عيد ميلاد شيخ الزبير—ʾeid mīlād Shaykh Zubayr, or Happy Birthday, Bill!

 

Explore Duke’s connection to the Folger Shakespeare Library

This guest post has been written by Heidi Madden, PH.D., the Librarian For Western Europe, as part of our series of Shakespeare related blog posts.

Did you know that Duke University is a member of the Folger Institute Consortium at the Folger Shakespeare Library?

The Folger Institute was founded in 1970, and is sponsored by the Folger Shakespeare Library , home to the largest Shakespeare Collection in the world, and a consortium of 40 universities in the U.S. and abroad. Duke University is part of this network which advances humanities research and learning through seminars, conferences, and colloquia.

Duke faculty and graduate students have benefited from this membership, and generations of Duke undergraduates in the Medieval Studies Focus cluster have had the good fortune of private tours and demonstrations. The materials held extend beyond Shakespeare to include materials in history and politics, theology, law and the arts. For example, the 2015 Focus Program trip to the Folger, accompanied by Duke Faculty and by librarian Heidi Madden, allowed students to explore early modern botanical books.

The best place to read more about the rich history of the Folger and its treasures is the Folgerpedia, which presents all things Folger. The Folger Institute offers fellowships, undergraduate research opportunities, and scholarly programming. Browse the Digital Collections to sample the holdings.

 

Relevant Links

Digital Collections  

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Shakespeare Portraits 

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Folgerpedia 

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It’s National Library Week, so #ThankALibrarian!

ThankALibrarian Sidewalk Sign

What have we done for you lately?

That’s the question we’re asking Duke students and faculty today—and every day this week.

It’s National Library Week (April 10-16), and we’re celebrating by asking people to #ThankALibrarian and tell us how a librarian has helped them.

Has a librarian helped you with a paper or research project recently?  Or maybe someone helped you check out a book or a DVD? Or maybe someone came to one of your classes and taught you about a new tool or database?

If so, now’s your chance to say thanks! (We’ll only blush a little).

Look for groups of librarians all around campus (East and West) this week. We’ll be taking pictures, posting them on our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts using the hashtag #ThankALibrarian.

Buttons!
Buttons!

You can also send us your own photo by downloading and printing this handy template. Write a message, take a photo, and post your photo with the hashtag #ThankALibrarian on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and tag us (@dukelibraries).

We’ll be giving away fun library buttons (because everyone loves buttons, right?). Plus you can enter a drawing to win one of our sweet Perkins-Bostock-Rubenstein library T-shirts.

T-shirts!
You know you want one of these.

So if you see us out there, take a moment to stop and #ThankALibrarian!

Time Travel Films

The paradoxes of time travel are a never ending source of fascination for sci-fi film buffs. Lilly’s robust collection includes a few lesser known, but intriguing examples. In Timecrimes (2007) a man is drawn to a young woman who appears mysteriously in the woods near htimecrimesis house. The resulting events pull him into a series of time loops.

Primer (2004), which won primerthe Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, is the tale of two men who invent a rudimentary time travel device in their garage. The Navigator (1988) tells the story of a band of 14th centurynavigatorceline and julie townsfolk who, while trying to escape the Black Death, stumble upon a fissure in time and end up in the 20th century. Jacques Rivette’s Celine and Julie Go Boating follows the evolving friendship of two women and their magical trip into the past as they attempt to rescue a young girl.

Explore the Duke Libraries film and video collection for more time travel-related titles.

 

Shakespeare Everywhere

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Since this year is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare‘s death, you’re going to see Shakespeare popping up everywhere.  In fact next week on April 15th the English department is doing a marathon reading of Shakespeare’s sonnets on three stages, including the Edge Workshop Room in the Bostock Library!

The deadline to sign up to read a sonnet (or two or three) via THIS LINK is Friday, April 8. Simply indicate what timeslot(s) you are available and you will be schedule to read (anywhere from 1-3 sonnets) during that slot.  Feel free to contact Michelle Dove at michelle.dove@duke.edu if you have more questions.

You are also welcome to just come and enjoy the readings!  If you are interested in checking out the sonnets beforehand, we have several copies in the library.  Also, you can watch actors such as Sir Patrick Stewart and David Tennant read some of the sonnets here.

African-American Filmmakers Before Spike Lee

In the mid 1980s Spike Lee opened the door for many African-spook who satAmerican filmmakers. It is sometimes easy to forget those who laid the groundwork for his success. Ivan Dixon’s 1973 film The Spook Who Sat by bush mamathe Door takes a look at discrimination within the CIA. Haile Gerima, the first important African-American female director, gave us Bush Mama (1975), which details the difficult life of a killer of sheepsingle mother.

Charles Burnett’s classic Killer of Sheep (1977) provides a glimpse of life in the Los Angeles Watts district. Melvin Van Peeples’ Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassss Song (1971) exploded out of the Blaxploitation era of the late sixties and early seventies. Continue reading African-American Filmmakers Before Spike Lee

Focus on Full Frame Documentary Film Festival

Full Frame DVDs
Past Full Frame entries available at Lilly Library

It’s that time of year again!

Each spring, international filmmakers and film lovers flock to the  Full Frame Documentary Film Festival to experience the latest in documentary, or non-fiction, cinema showcased in our very own historic downtown  Durham.  Film showings highlight new programming in competition, and other events include expert panel discussions and themed screenings. Tickets go on sale April 1st.

Duke University Libraries support and highlight films from past festivals.  One resource is the Full Frame Archive Film Collection,  that includes festival winners from 1998-2012.  The film and video collection at Lilly Library includes many more Full Frame titles available to the Duke community.

Focus on Full Frame: films in Lilly Collections
Full Frame 2015 exhibit

This year’s 19th Annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival  honors independent director and documentary cinematographer, Kirsten Johnson, with the 2016 Tribute Award.  Cameraperson, Johnson’s newest film,  will be screened and a retrospective of her work will be presented.   This year’s Thematic Program is a series titled “Perfect and Otherwise: Documenting American Politics,” curated by filmmaker R.J. Cutler, known for such films as The War Room and The World According to Dick Cheney.

FF16

When:  April 7-10, 2016
Where: Various venues in Downtown Durham

The festival is a program of the Center for Documentary Studies and receives support from corporate sponsors, private foundations and individual donors whose generosity provides the foundation that makes the event possible. The Presenting Sponsor of the Festival is Duke University.

Archive Opening and Lecture with John Palfrey, Apr. 7

 

john palfrey
Palfrey is the author of “BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More than Ever in the Age of Google”

What: Lecture and Opening of the Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel Archive
When: Thursday, April 7, 5:00 p.m.
Where: Holsti-Anderson Family Assembly Room, Rubenstein Library
Reception to follow

9780465042999Join the Duke University Libraries as we celebrate the opening of the Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel Archive with a special lecture featuring educator and technology expert John Palfrey, distinguished authority on education and technology and author of BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google (Basic Books, 2015).

Palfrey is the Head of School at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He is also a faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. Previously, Palfrey served as Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources at Harvard Law School and as the founding chairman of the Digital Public Library of America. He has written extensively on internet law, intellectual property, and the potential of new technologies to strengthen democracies locally and around the world.

Palfrey’s talk will be followed by a brief response by N. Katherine Hayles, James B. Duke Professor of Literature at Duke and author of numerous books, including How We Think: Digital Media and Contemporary Technogenesis (University of Chicago, 2012).

Sponsored by the Duke University Libraries, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Information Science + Studies Program, Information Initiative at Duke, Masters of Fine Arts in Experimental and Documentary Studies Program, Center for Documentary Studies, Forum for Scholars and Publics, and the UNC School of Information and Library Science.

What to read this month

what to read this month - march

You may be slogging through midterms, but Spring break is just days away, so here are some beach reads from New and Noteworthy and Current Literature as well as ebooks and audiobooks from Overdrive* for those of you trying to save space in your luggage. And for those of you stuck on campus, check out Spring Breakers starring James Franco and Selena Gomez. It’s a cautionary tale that will probably make you really glad that you’re not headed to the beach.

  1. Landline by Rainbow Rowell is the story of a sitcom writer who discovers a magic telephone that lets her communicate with a past version of her husband.
  2. The Martini Shot: A Novella and Stories by George Pelecanos presents crime fiction with a wide range of characters from the expected (cops and criminals) to the unexpected (television writers for a police procedural).
  3. The Cairo Affair by Olen Steinhauer is a political thriller that follows the wife of an assassinated diplomat as she tries to find her husband’s killer. (It’s also available as an audiobook).
  4. Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls (ebook) is a collection of narrative essays from humorist and North Carolina native David Sedaris on a wide variety of topics, none of which happen to be diabetes though an owl does make a brief appearance.
  5. Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbo (ebook) is a suspenseful mystery that follows a contract killer in 1970s Oslo as he grapples with the nature of his work.
  6. The Room by Jonas Karlsson (ebook) is a quirky story about Bjorn, a compulsive bureaucrat who discovers a secret room at the government office where he works.

*You can find more details about how to download ebooks and audiobooks from Overdrive in our eBook FAQ and from this special help page.

Video Spotlight on Women Filmmakers

It’s Women’s History Month! Spend this March 2016 watching wonderful films created by talented women from around the world.

The Video Spotlight on Women Filmmakers, created by Lilly Library’s own audio-visual specialist and film aficionado, Ken Wetherington, can give you great ideas of where to start.

In recent years women in film have begun to be slightly better recognized, like Katheryn Bigelow’s oscar-winning direction (the only time for a woman!) of The Hurt Locker.  hurt locker

But did you know that in the early days of cinema, many women were powerful creative forces? Movies like Lois Weber’s SuspenseThe Ocean Waif by Alice Guy Blaché and Cleo Madison’s Eleanor’s Catch,  and other women pioneers of early cinema, can be viewed in Duke Libraries’ new subscription database, Kanopy Streaming Video.

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Check out Lilly’s foyer display exhibiting films by women in the history of cinema. Some of the titles just may surprise you…

Browse Ken’s Video Spotlight Archives for more topical viewing inspiration.

 

Remembering Harper Lee

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In the days since Harper Lee’s death, much has been written about the iconic author and her small but influential body of work. The New York Times printed a collection of readers’ memories of the scenes that have stuck with them years after reading To Kill a Mockingbird. The editor of the Washington Post’s Book World penned a critical piece on the controversy surrounding the publication of Go Set a Watchman. And FiveThirtyEight posted this statistical look at Monroeville, AL, Lee’s hometown and the real-life city on which Maycomb was based.

Here at the library there’s something for everyone:

  • For those wishing to revisit Lee’s classic work or to enjoy it for the first time, you can borrow a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird, listen to the audiobook performed by Sissy Spacek, or watch the movie adaptation featuring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch and Robert Duvall in his movie debut as Boo Radley.
  • For those not put off by the controversy surrounding Lee’s second novel, you can check out Go Set a Watchman (also available in large print).
  • And for those looking for a new perspective on Lee and her work, we have several books and collections of essays as well as a video or two that may be of interest.

Fairy Tales on The Edge

Welcome to our blog series on innovative projects coming out of The Edge! The Edge is a collaborative space in Bostock Library where students, faculty, and staff can work on research projects over the course of a semester or academic year. If think you have a project that would be ideal for the Edge, head over to our project spaces page to apply.

The Project: Fairy Tales, from Grimms to Disney

Fairy Tales, from Grimms to Disney is a digital library of 210 Grimms Fairy Tales in English translation, ordered by number and themes. The team built this digital library in WordPress to support the lecture course “Fairy Tales: Grimms to Disney” (Professor Jakob Norberg, Department of German), and students use the WordPress site to blog about weekly readings. Heidi Madden, Librarian for Western European Studies and Medieval Literature, answered some questions for us about this project.

What inspired this project?

Rumpelstiltskin. All images and illustrations by Arthur Rackham from public domain sources.
Rumpelstiltskin. All images and illustrations by Arthur Rackham from public domain sources.

The Fairy Tales course is a popular lecture course taught every year in the German Department by Professor Jakob Norberg. The project arose in conversation with Professor Norberg, who wanted to draw on the visual elements of fairy tales to inspire students to read widely. He also wanted to make the large course more interactive. Students discover and write about modern versions of fairy tales; they find a wide variety—with many international examples—of tales based on Grimm fairy tale characters, themes, and plots. Professor Norberg wanted to capture some of that information from one year to the next by having students contribute their ideas to a blog.

Who are the members of your team? What departments and schools are they part of?

  • Professor Jakob Norberg, Department of German
  • Heidi Madden, Duke University Libraries
  • Nele Fritz is a Library Science student (B.A.) at TH Köln – University of Technology, Arts and Sciences, Cologne, Germany. From September 2015 to March 2016 she worked as an intern in International and Area Studies and in Research Services at Duke University Libraries.
  • Liz Milewics and Will Shaw as Digital Scholarship consultants

How has working in The Edge influenced your team?

The Edge space was an ideal central meeting place for the team. The most important affordances of the project room were the display screen and the writable walls. The site has many pages and images, and we needed room to sketch and evaluate the site. It was also useful to have a large table, so that we could work together on tasks where we needed immediate feedback. Having the project room available to us two afternoons a week really helped with keeping us on schedule.

Little Red Riding Hood
Little Red Riding Hood

What tools do you use to work collaboratively?

We used WordPress, SAKAI, Basecamp, and Photoshop. Many students in the course are in engineering and computer science, and they have explored research involving text-mining and other digital tools for students to work with text data and images. Professor Norberg wanted his class site to list examples of that type of research as inspiration for students who take the class in the future. Having those clean text files readily available on the site allows for mobile reading, but also for downloading text data for projects.

What are you learning as part of this project that is surprising to you?

WordPress can be surprisingly difficult when building multimedia content and when building it with many pages. That’s why planning and sketching out the whole site is very important. Getting an overview of what the plug-ins offer is time-consuming. However, once the project was running, Professor Norberg was delighted to get to know his 43 students through their blogs very quickly.

Tom Thumb
Tom Thumb

What are the difficult problems you are trying to solve?

When the spring course is over, we want to turn the course site into a public site, so students interested in the course can explore the website. We also want to use the public website to showcase some of the original and tech-savvy research students are doing. In addition to that, we want to retain the bibliography of Grimm version fairy tales that students bring to the course from all of their diverse backgrounds.

What would you do with your project if you had unlimited resources?

We want the site to be used in teaching beyond Duke.

Final Thoughts

Nele Fritz, a graduate student from Germany, worked on this project as part of her field experience. Besides planning, sketching and building the site, this experience also included getting to know WordPress very well and monitoring the project with project management tools and strategies.

This post was written and compiled by Hannah Pope, a Master’s of Library Science student at UNC-Chapel Hill. She is interested in instruction, helping with research, and encouraging student innovation in libraries. She is currently working as a field experience intern in the Assessment and User Experience department and with The Edge at the Duke University Libraries.

What to read this month

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Presidents’ Day just passed, and primary season is getting underway, so here are some political picks from the New and Noteworthy collection. And don’t forget to vote early and often! (Get more information about voting in North Carolina here or check out the schedule of all the primaries here).  On and consider checking out Duke University’s Campaign Stop page for scholarly commentary, debate, and media resources.

  1. All the Presidents’ Bankers: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power by Nomi Prins starts with Teddy Roosevelt and chronologically works its way through to the present, shedding new light on the powerful alliances forged between those holding public office and those holding private wealth.
  2. Blackballed: The Black Vote and US Democracy by Darryl Pinckney combines elements of memoir, historical narrative, and sociopolitical analysis to explore a century and a half of African-American participation in US electoral politics. Pinckney covers a lot of ground, from Reconstruction to the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the ongoing debate over voter ID laws.
  3. The Stronghold: How Republicans Captured Congress but Surrendered the White House by Thomas F. Schaller, a professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. This book contextualizes the nation’s increasingly polarized political climate by examining the connection between the GOP’s focus on congressional politics and the growth of radical conservatism since 1989.
  4. Return to Sender: Unanswered Letters to Presidents Bush & Obama, 2001-2014 by Ralph Nader is a compilation of over 100 unanswered letters on a broad variety of domestic and international issues. This book even includes a letter on the dangers of mutating bacteria and viruses written from the point of view of E. coli and signed “E-cologically yours.”
  5. Nut Country: Right-wing Dallas and the Birth of the Southern Strategy by Edward H. Miller. Taking its title from JFK’s remarks on Dallas just hours before his assassination, this book examines the role of the city’s ultraconservatives in the reshaping of the Republican Party over several decades.

what to read this month

 

janbooks

I don’t know about you, but I finally feel like I’m getting in to the swing of the new semester after the holidays and our snow day last week!  Though you may find the pace of the semester is heating up, make sure you leave yourself some time for reading.  As usual, we have some great titles in New and Noteworthy and Current Literature.

  1. Failure : why science is so successful by Stuart Firestein, a professor in the department of biological sciences at Columbia University.  This book examines how trial and error are an important part of the scientific process.  To find out more about this book, check out this interesting NYT review.
  2. Carry on : the rise and fall of Simon Snow by Rainbow Rowell is a really fun YA book that turns the common fantasy trope of the “chosen one” on its head!  In this book Rowell takes the Simon Snow world that she created for her Fangirl novel and makes it into its own standalone story.
  3. Lafayette in the somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell, who is the bestselling author of books such as Unfamiliar Fishes and The Wordy Shipmates and a former contributing editor of This American Life on NPR.  Her newest book is an account of the Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette.
  4. America dancing : from the cakewalk to the moonwalk by Megan Pugh.  Using the stories of tapper Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, ballet and Broadway choreographer Agnes de Mille, choreographer Paul Taylor, and Michael Jackson, Megan Pugh shows how freedom–that nebulous, contested American ideal–emerges as a genre-defining aesthetic. In Pugh’s account, ballerinas mingle with slumming thrill-seekers, and hoedowns show up on elite opera house stages.
  5. Neurotribes : the legacy of autism and the future of neurodiversity by Steve Silberman, winner of the 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction.   You can find out more about this interesting book about autism here, here, and here.

Rosati Visiting Writer: Roxana Robinson, Feb. 2

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Author Roxana Robinson

Duke University Libraries will host a reading and discussion with Roxana Robinson, critically acclaimed fiction writer and author most recently of the novel Sparta.

When: Tuesday, February 2, 4:00-5:30 p.m.
Where: Holsti-Anderson Family Assembly Room, Rubenstein Library Room 153
Q&A, book signing, and reception to follow.

Ms. Robinson is the Libraries’ inaugural Rosati Visiting Writer. She will be in residence at Duke January 28-February 18, 2016. She is the acclaimed author of numerous novels and short stories, as well as the definitive biography of Georgia O’Keefe. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, and elsewhere. She teaches in the Hunter College/CUNY MFA Program, has received NEA and Guggenheim fellowships, and is President of the Authors’ Guild.

This event is free and open to the public.

Master Class Opportunity for Duke Undergrads [REGISTRATION REQUIRED]
In addition to her public reading, Ms. Robinson will conduct a master class in writing for Duke undergraduate students on Tuesday, February 9, 10:05 a.m.-12:35 p.m. Interested students should register for the master class with Sara Seten Berghausen (sara@duke.edu). The registration deadline is February 3, 2016.

Library Receives Grant to Digitize Early Twentieth-Century Folk Music

Some 60 wax cylinders and 76 aluminum discs containing approximately 1,367 songs recorded in the 1920s and 1930s will be digitized as part of the project.
Some 60 wax cylinders and 76 aluminum discs containing approximately 1,367 songs recorded in the 1920s and 1930s will be digitized as part of the project.

Duke University Libraries has received a $74,595 grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) to digitize a large collection of North Carolina folk music that has never been widely heard.

The collection includes some 1,367 songs recorded in the 1920s and 1930s on wax cylinders and aluminum discs. The recordings were made in the field by folklorist, professor of English, and Duke University administrator Frank Clyde Brown (1870-1943), who traveled across North Carolina collecting folk songs, sayings, stories, and other folklore between 1912 and his death in 1943. Brown collected songs from at least 52 of North Carolina’s 100 counties, representing all regions of the state.

“The recordings include music unique to North Carolina, as well as popular American folk songs, traditional British ballads, and a range of other tunes,” said Winston Atkins, Preservation Officer for Duke University Libraries and the principal investigator for the project. “Taken together, they represent an important and untapped primary source of American folk music in the early twentieth century.”

The songs have never been widely accessible due to the age and fragility of the recording technology Brown used, as well as the difficulty of transferring them to more modern media formats.

Wax Cylinder from the Frank C Brown Collection
Because they are too fragile to be played as intended, the cylinders and discs will be digitized using a non-contact visual scanning technology known as IRENE.

“Until recently, there has been no non-destructive way to recover audio on historical wax cylinders and aluminum discs, which require a mechanical stylus and can be damaged if played today,” said Craig Breaden, Audiovisual Archivist in Duke’s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

The Duke recordings will be digitized using a new non-contact technology, known as IRENE, at the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Andover, Massachusetts. IRENE takes ultra-high resolution visual scans of the grooves imprinted on the cylinders and discs and mathematically translates those into digital sound files that are remarkably faithful to the original recordings. Because there is no actual contact with the recording, IRENE’s scans can also capture sounds from damaged media.

The method has been used successfully to digitize other historical audio collections, including some of the earliest examples of recorded sound made by Thomas Edison.

Digitization will begin in the summer of 2016 and take approximately one year. The recordings will then be described and processed, and the collection will be made freely and publicly available through the Duke University Libraries website in 2018.

Undated photograph of Frank C. Brown from the Duke University Archives.
Undated photograph of Frank C. Brown from the Duke University Archives.

Born in 1870, Frank Clyde Brown began his career as a professor of English at Trinity College in Durham (the forerunner of Duke University) in 1909 and later became chairman of the department. Between 1924 and 1930, as Trinity expanded into Duke University, Brown served as the institution’s first comptroller, overseeing the construction of West Campus and the renovation of East Campus. He also served as university marshal, entertaining distinguished visitors to the new university.

In 1913, at the urging of legendary folklorist and musicologist John A. Lomax, Brown founded the North Carolina Folklore Society and was elected its first president. He later served as its secretary-treasurer, program chairman, and primary collector until his death in 1943. His efforts to record the sounds and nuances of North Carolina’s “folk” were part of a national trend in the early twentieth century to preserve American folk culture, aided by new technologies that allowed folklorists to make recordings in the field. The 1,367 songs captured by Brown are a significant part of that legacy.

The seven-volume Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore, published posthumously by Duke University Press between 1952 and 1964, represents Brown’s lifetime of collecting. It is widely regarded as one of the premiere collections of American folklore ever published and is available online. Four of the seven volumes are dedicated to the music Brown recorded and include transcribed melodies and song lyrics. However, the editors of Brown’s work left out an estimated 400 songs he recorded. These “bonus tracks,” which are found on the wax cylinders and aluminum discs but not in the published collection, will be digitized as part of the project.

"All Day Singing." Woodcut by Clare Leighton, from Vol. 2 of the Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore, published by Duke University Press in 1952.
“All Day Singing.” Woodcut by Clare Leighton, from Vol. 2 of the Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore, published by Duke University Press in 1952.

Brown’s original manuscripts and notes, which were used to compile the collection, along with his original recordings, are housed in Duke’s Rubenstein Library.

In 2015, two Duke faculty members—Victoria Szabo and Trudi Abel—incorporated some of the Frank C. Brown recordings into NC Jukebox, an interdisciplinary Bass Connections course introducing undergraduate and graduate students to digital history. Students conducted original research on the history of the recordings and tracked down the descendants of some of the singers and musicians. The course will be offered again in Spring 2017.

The grant to digitize Brown’s recordings is part of CLIR’s Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives awards program, a national competition that funds the digitization of rare and unique content held by libraries and cultural memory institutions that would otherwise be unavailable to the public.

 

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!

austenfigure1

Today is Jane Austen’s 240th birthday!  Consider celebrating by reading one of her books or watching one of the many  film adaptions.

Here are some other ways to celebrate:

Read a recent blog post from OUP about some of the birthday letters she wrote.

Speaking of her letters, we have several collections of her letters you can check out.

Take this Guardian quiz.

Enjoy some of the advice gleamed from her novels.

Install this quote of the day app created by the Jane Austen Centre.

Play the Marrying Mr. Darcy card game inspired by Pride and Prejudice.

I myself will be re-reading Persuasion again.  After all, “There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.” – Emma

 

 

 

What to read this month

ovedrive

As you  prepare to head home for the holidays, make sure you are packing along some fun books to read!  Of course we have great selections in our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections, but if you want to save room in your suitcase, consider using our Overdrive collection.  You can find more details about how to download books and audiobooks from this service in our eBook FAQ and from this special help page.*

Check out some of the books we have available in Overdrive:

  1. The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion, which is the sequel to The Rosie Project.   Don Tillman, the main character in both of these books has been described by Matthew Quick as someone who “helps us believe in possibility, makes us proud to be human beings, and the bonus is this: he keeps us laughing like hell.”
  2. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, the author of Gone Girl.  If you are looking for something a bit darker (I couldn’t resist), this may be the book for you!  This book was recently made into a movie with Charlize Theron and follows the character Libby Day as she tries to find out the truth about the day in her childhood when her family was brutally murdered.
  3.  Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris.  Make your family wonder what you are reading when you begin giggling to yourself as you read this recent collection of essays.  You can read a review here.  Bonus: we also have Holidays on Ice, his holiday collection featuring the classic “Six to Eight Black Men.”
  4. Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz.  Read a biography about the woman who gave us classic cookbooks such as Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  You can read reviews of this biography here and here.
  5. Wonder Garden by Lauren Acampora.  This debut novel is a series of linked stories set in an affluent suburb.  Alix Ohlin in The New York Times Book Review wrote that “Acampora seems to understand fiction as a kind of elegant design. As characters reappear in one story after another, Acampora reveals herself as a careful architect…accomplishes great depth of characterization, in no small part because Acampora doesn’t shy from the unpalatable…There is a barbed honesty to the stories that brushes up against Acam­pora’s lovely prose to interesting effect. Often a single sentence twists sinuously, charged with positive and negative electricity.”

*Pro Tip: If you are finding a lot of books that are already checked out by someone else, try filtering by “Available Now” to see the things you can immediately download.

 

What to read this month

newandnoteworthy2

Before you leave for Thanksgiving break, consider bringing home a book to read.  We’ve got a lot of great titles in New and Noteworthy and Current Literature.

  1. The League of Regrettable Superheroes : half-baked heroes from comic book history! by Jon Morris.  You know about Batman, Superman, and Spiderman, but have you heard of Doll Man, Doctor Hormone, or Spider Queen? In The League of Regrettable Superheroes , you’ll meet one hundred of the strangest superheroes ever to see print, complete with backstories, vintage art, and colorful commentary. So prepare yourself for such not-ready-for-prime-time heroes as Bee Man (Batman, but with bees), the Clown (circus-themed crimebuster), the Eye (a giant, floating eyeball; just accept it), and many other oddballs and oddities. Drawing on the entire history of the medium, The League of Regrettable Superheroes will appeal to die-hard comics fans, casual comics readers, and anyone who enjoys peering into the stranger corners of pop culture.
  2. Keep it fake : inventing an authentic life by Eric G. Wilson.  This is an interesting philosophical exploration of authenticity and how we invent versions of ourselves.  To learn more about it you may want to read this review or this podcast with the author.
  3. For anyone looking for a thriller to read over the break, you might want to try Karin Slaughter’s Pretty Girls.  Lee Child described this book as a “A stunning family tragedy and a hold-your-breath pedal-to-the-metal thriller magically blended by Karin Slaughter’s trademark passion, intensity, and humanity.  Certain to be a book of the year.”
  4. The gap of time : the Winter’s tale retold by Jeanette Winterson.  This book is the first in a new series called The Hogarth Shakepeare from Vintage books.  It is launching to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and will feature stand-alone retellings written by some of today’s leading authors, including Jeanette Winterson and Anne Tyler (who will be taking on The Taming of the Shrew).
  5. The pleasure of reading edited by Antonia Fraser and Victoria Gray.  This collection features essays from 40 authors, such as Margaret Atwood, J.G. Ballard, A.S. Byatt, Kamila Shamsie, Ruth Rendell, and Tom Stoppard, about what first made them interested in literature and in reading.  You can read some excerpts here.

William Henry Harrison and Reform?

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Guest post by Carson Holloway, Librarian for History of Science and Technology, Military History, British and Irish Studies, Canadian Studies and General History

Why does this beautifully crafted lapel pin connect Harrison’s name with reform? Such questions provide a good deal of the appeal of fourteen campaign pins on display as part of the Kenneth Hubbard Collection of Political Campaign Ephemera in the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. In the current season of election news, Hubbard, a Duke alumnus and donor, has provided tokens of particular interest in contextualizing some notable presidential campaigns between 1840 and 1948.

William Henry Harrison’s is a name to ponder. Some might recognize that he was a President before the American Civil War. The alliteration of his name may sound familiar. Fewer could identify him as hero of the Battle of Tippecanoe, though more would recognize the campaign slogan “Tippecanoe and Tyler too,” referring to Harrison and his running mate, and successor.  Harrison, the oldest person elected President until Ronald Reagan, died from pneumonia contracted at his inauguration after serving fewer than forty days.

Harrison Lapel Pin

“Reform,” in Harrison’s campaign of 1840, was economic reform required as a result of a protracted depression known as the “Panic of 1837.”  Over a third of American banks in New York and elsewhere faltered and then failed after President Andrew Jackson’s administration decentralized the Federal banking system and British banks raised interest rates in response to perceived risk. Jackson’s Democratic successor, Van Buren, was unable to correct the economic course and prices for important agricultural export products like cotton plummeted. Whether Harrison’s Whig reforms would have been effective is questionable. The severe economic downturn lasted until 1844.

Like the Harrison pin, each of the items on display in the Rubenstein is interesting in its own right. A few have great aesthetic appeal like the Harrison pin. Other buttons illustrate powerful personalities and world-changing events. One particularly rare pin is from the only presidential campaign in which the candidate was running while serving a term in federal prison!

What to read this month

 

octobernnbooks

With the weather turning cooler, I want to highlight some fiction (and one memoir) books in our New and Noteworthy and Current Literature collections to inspire you to curl up with a blanket and hot beverage of your choice.

  1. The shepherd’s crown by Terry Pratchett.  Pick up the final novel of Terry Pratchett’s classic Discworld series and be transported to a comic fantasy world.  Learn more about the characters of Discworld on his official website.  You might also enjoy this recent post from io9 to help you dive in.
  2. Almost famous women: stories by Megan Mayhew Bergman.  Dig into a collection of short stories about intriguing lesser-known women in history.  You’ll find stories about conjoined twins, a cross-dressing oil heiress, a daredevil motorcyclist, and the illegitimate daughter of Lord Byron.  You can find reviews here and here.
  3. Furiously happy : {a funny book about horrible things} by Jenny Lawson.  Jenny Lawson, also known as The Bloggess, has a written an honest, funny, and inspiring book about her struggles with mental illness.  Here’s a description from an Entertainment Weekly review: “Her second book Furiously Happy is a firsthand account of living with mental illness, inflected with the wonderfully strange and frequently inappropriate dark humor you might expect from a woman who opts to put small taxidermied animals on her book covers.”
  4. Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor.  If you enjoyed Longbourn and Mrs. Poe, you might want to pick up this novel about Emily Dickinson told through the eyes of an Irish maid.  As described in this Washington Post review, this  “lovely novel, ‘Miss Emily,’ immerses us in the day-to-day drama of a fictional, spirited Irish maid who comes to work for the Dickinsons of Amherst in 1866 and stirs up their reclusive poet-in-residence. Told in alternating chapters by the title character and her maid, it pulls us in from its first limpid lines and then detonates with an explosion of power — much like Emily Dickinson’s poems.”
  5. Kitchens of the great Midwest: a novel by J. Ryan Stradal will probably make you hungry, but you may also just enjoy this novel about a chef with a once-in-a-generation palate.   You can read more about this book herehere, and here.

History Hackathon – a collaborative happening

Students in Rubenstein Reading Room

What is a History Hackathon?

The term “Hackathon” traditionally refers to an event in which computer programmers collaborate intensively on software projects. But Duke University Libraries and the History Department are putting a historical twist on their approach to the Hackathon phenomenon. In this case, the History Hackathon is a contest for undergraduate student teams to research, collaborate, and create projects inspired by the resources available in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library collections. Projects may include performances, essays, websites, infographics, lectures, podcasts, and more. A panel of experts will serve as judges and rank the top three teams. Cash Prizes will be awarded to the winning teams.

The History Hackathon will take place over a 72-hour period from October 23-25, in the Rubenstein Library and The Edge.  All the  guidelines, rules, and details may be found at the History Hackathon: a Collaborative Happening  site.Students in the Edge

  • When:  Friday, October 23rd to
    Sunday, October 25th

http://sites.duke.edu/historyhackathon/register/

Contact : HistoryHackathon@duke.edu


Sponsored by the Duke History Department,  the Duke University Libraries, the David M. Rubenstein Library, and the Duke University Undergraduate Research Support Office.

Contributor: Susannah Roberson

 

 

2015 Banned Books Week

bannedbooks

This week (September 27th to October 3rd) is Banned Books Week, an annual celebration of the freedom to read.  Here are some great links to learn more and become involved:

Become involved in a Virtual Read-Out

Read a letter written by Kurt Vonnegut in response to a high school’s burning of his books in 1973

Learn about some of the attempts to ban comic books

Read essays by writers and translators about the banned books that mean the most to them

Learn about banned/challenged books that shaped America.  We have many of these books in our collection, including Leaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldGone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, and Native Son by Richard Wright.

 

Lyre, Lyre… Lyre at Lilly

Meet The Artist – John Billing

Lyres
“I wish to tune my quivering lyre,/To deeds of fame, and notes of fire”
From Lord Byron’s “to his lyre”


John Billing, originally from England and now based in Ireland, is touring the East Coast of the United States during September and October, presenting workshops and performances.  John’s background is in art, textile design and music therapy. Come and hear the interesting story of the performer and his instrument. Mr. Billing will perform pieces by J. S. Bach and Turlough O’Carolan, in addition to original compositions.

♦Where: Thomas Room
Lilly Library, 2nd floor

♦When:  Friday October 2nd at 4pm
Light refreshments served at 3:30

What is the lyre?

The lyre is a stringed instrument from Ancient Greece, thought to metaphorically represent the skill of poets  as it accompanied their recitations.


Sponsored by the Lilly Library, East Campus Residence Life
and the Department of Classical Studies at Duke University.

What to read this month?

newandnoteworthy1

I am starting a new feature where I will be highlighting some of the newest books in our New and Noteworthy collection.  Here are five books I think you should check out!

  1. The Altruistic Brain: How We are Naturally Good by Donald W. Pfaff.  According to a recent review in Frontiers in Psychology, ” Pfaff’s writing is very accessible to the non-specialist, whenever he employs technical terms and concepts from neuroscience, genetics, biology, or anthropology he makes sure to at least briefly introduce them to the reader. Much more important than the style in which it is written, the book provides one of the first—if not the very first—compilation of evidence from primary neuroscience research in favor of such a universal altruistic predisposition.”
  2. The book of Phoenix: A Novel by Nnedi Okorafor, whose previous novel Who Fears Death won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.  You can read reviews for this book here and here.
  3. The Girl from Krakow by Duke University’s own Alexander Rosenberg.  As described by a reviewer on Historical Novel Society, “novels like The Girl from Krakow are important because they remind us that no lie – no matter how white – no secret – no matter how small – comes without consequences.”
  4. Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America by Ari Berman.  With several important elections on the horizon, this is a topic worth exploring.  You can find reviews and interviews  in the Chicago Tribune, NPR Books, and Rolling Stone.
  5. How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success by Julie Lythcott-Haims.  As described in a review in the New York Times, “Lythcott-Haims’s central message remains worthwhile: When parents laugh and enjoy the moment but also teach the satisfaction of hard work, when they listen closely but also give their children space to become who they are, they wind up with kids who know how to work hard, solve problems and savor the moment, too.”

 

 

Human Rights Studies Online

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We have a new database called Human Rights Studies Online.  It is a searchable database of documentation, analysis, and interpretation of major human rights violations and atrocity crimes worldwide. The collection takes a case study approach, providing primary and secondary materials for selected events, including Armenia, the Holocaust, Cambodia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rwanda, and Darfur. It provides access to books, primary documents, audio, maps, images, and video, spanning 1900-2010.

You can browse by various categories such as titles, discipline perspectives, themes, events, organizations, people, and places.  The ability to look at a variety of documents connected to particular events, such as the Holocaust or Darfur, will make it especially useful for understanding the context and history.

This database is a great complement to our Human Rights Archive located in our Rubenstein Library.  Check out this guide for more resources about this important topic.

Step into the Spotlight: Dance Films

Dance on film: movies to get your groove on
Step into the Spotlight: Dance Films

The 2015 season of the American Dance Festival has now kicked off with fabulous performances through July 25th.

To help you get your  groove on, check out dance-themed highlights from Lilly Library’s film/video collection in the Lilly Video Spotlight: Dance on Film.

If our spotlight whets your appetite, explore Lilly Library’s large selection of dance DVDs to keep you tripping the light fantastic all summer long.  Don’t feel like tripping the light fantastic with Lilly?  The ADF Archives serve as an excellent resource for dance historians, and  this summer the International Screendance Festival hosts screenings at the Nasher Museum of Art.

Updated from a June 2014 post authored by Danette Pachtner,  Librarian for Film, Video & Digital Media and Women’s Studies

Scholarly Publishing in the Humanities: New Models of Access, Governance, and Sustainability

Image by Nige Brown under a CC BY license.
Image by Nige Brown under a CC BY license.

Date: Tuesday, March 24
Time: 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Location: Perkins Library, Room 217
Contact: Paolo Mangiafico, paolo.mangiafico@duke.edu
Register to attend (it’s free!):  http://bit.ly/humanities-publishing-march24

Please join us for a talk on changing models of scholarly publishing in the humanities, and how a transition to open access models might be funded and sustained.

Through the economic and structural reconfiguration made possible by the Internet, the potential for new modes of publishing scholarship have emerged. However, there has also been much alarm in the humanities disciplines, particularly at the proposed changes to economic models that could underwrite transitions to new models of publishing, such as open access.

In this talk, Dr. Martin Paul Eve, author of Open Access and the Humanities (Cambridge University Press, 2014) will explore the contexts, controversies and pragmatic paths for the future of open access and other potential transitions in scholarly publishing in the humanities.

The event is free and open to the public, but please register to attend.

For more information on the topics Dr. Eve will be discussing, please see:

This event is sponsored by the Office of Copyright and Scholarly Communications, Duke University Libraries.

Spooky DVDs for Halloween chills

 

Trick-or-Treat – Halloween DVDs at Lilly!

Boo! ghostie

When’s the last time you saw
An American Werewolf in London?

wolfie

 

Lilly Library has hundreds of horror films for your seasonal dis-pleasure. Don’t be timid. Check one out…if you DARE!!!

A sampling of our Halloween movies is available as a handout at the Lilly main desk. Try vintage vampire flicks, modern monster tales and Asian psychological scarers alongside musicals, comedies and silent era classics.

jackolantern

skeletonHere’s a chilling challenge: watch all the titles listed  on the handout by 10/31 and receive a FREE devilDVD!

 

 

Learn How the Duke Community Completes this Sentence: “Writing Is Like…”

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In a new exhibit on the Perkins Library Student Wall, Duke students, faculty, and staff all explain what “Writing is like…”

Guest post by Jennie Saia, Thompson Writing Program Coordinator. Jennie worked with Writing Studio Director Vicki Russell and Writing Studio Acting Director Jim Berkey to curate the “Writing Is Like…” exhibit. The exhibit will be on display on the Perkins Library Student Wall through mid-November.

Every October, the Thompson Writing Program (TWP) celebrates how vital writing is to life and work at Duke.

The TWP joins university writing programs around the country in honoring October’s National Day on Writing. Last year, Writing 101 faculty and Writing Studio tutors asked Duke community members to complete the sentence, “Writing is like…”

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Across campus, Duke students, faculty, and staff invented similes that expressed their thoughts on both academic and personal composition. Their comparisons get at the heart of what it feels like to actually sit down and write.

If you want to explore their answers, sixteen of the most creative replies are on display on the first floor of Duke’s Perkins Library. The showcased statements—sometimes profound, often humorous, occasionally sad—represent how the Duke community as a whole views writing. Join the conversation by adding your own simile to the open journal at the start of the exhibit.

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You can also become part of next year’s exhibit by joining the 2014 National Day on Writing celebration. On Monday, October 20, look for writing activities in Perkins Library on West Campus and around the East Campus Quad. Stop by throughout the day to grab some candy, meet other writers, and answer the question, “What is the future of writing?”

Pollinating the Grassroots: The Beehive Design Collective

Guest post by Maria Carla Cella, Graduate Liberal Studies Program. She curated the exhibit of prints currently on display on the Perkins Library Student Wall about the Beehive Design Collective.

Detail from "Mesoamerica Resiste," a poster by the Beehive Design Collective on display in Perkins Library on the Student Wall.
Detail from “Mesoamerica Resiste,” a poster by the Beehive Design Collective on display in Perkins Library on the Student Wall.

In our multimedia world, we are constantly seeking a good way to tell our story. From cave paintings to blog posts, generation after generation of storytellers try to find the most emotive way to record history and pass it on. As a student of Latin America and the Caribbean, I have delved into many mediums in my efforts to understand the complex relationship between the global south and north. Despite the availability of information on the internet, innumerable academic journals, countless books and documentaries on the topic, it is difficult to find a comprehensive examination of what globalization really entails. Transmitting the information in a way that resonates with the widespread population is an even harder task.

Enter the Beehive Design Collective. Founded in 2000, this non-profit, all-volunteer, activist arts collective creates collaborative, anti-copyright images for use as educational and organizing tools. With its mission of “cross-pollinating the grassroots,” the cooperative uses intricate graphic illustration in the form of giant pen and ink posters that communicate stories of resistance to corporate globalization, free trade, militarism, resource extraction, and biotechnology. The Bees spread their art across the Americas, wielding it as an educational tool and aiming to help communities conceptualize alternatives to a globalized economic model based on exploitation. Funding the printing costs with donations, the Bees distribute 50 percent of each print run (full run averaging 20,000-30,000 prints) to communities in the global south free of charge, giving away prints to frontline communities, educators, and organizers actively working on the issues featured in the posters.

The Beehive Collective’s use of imagery and symbolic art ties the local to the global, providing microscopic detail on the interconnected nature of global issues and compiling the images into, literally, a bigger picture that is both overwhelming and hypnotizing. Using a word-to-image approach, the Bees are translators of complex global stories, which they learn and share through conversations with affected communities. The first time I unfurled and laid eyes on their massive poster, Mesoamerica Resiste, I knew I had found a gem that begged to be shared, and that its message would flourish and proliferate in the minds of the Duke community. If you want to dive into the Beehive’s art and see the epic story for yourself, stop by Duke University’s Perkins Library, where four of the Beehive Design Collective’s epic works are on display. You can also learn more about the Beehive Design Collective at their website: beehivecollective.org.

Spotlight on Dance Films

Dance on film: movies to get your groove on
Dance on film: movies to get your groove on

The 2014 season of the American Dance Festival has now kicked off with fabulous performances through July 16th. See Dance and Visual Studies Librarian, Lee Sorensen’s, excellent post for more info about the ADF.

To help you get your  groove on, check out dance-themed highlights from Lilly Library’s film/video collection. Video Spotlight: Dance on Film.

And if our spotlight whets your appetite, search from a larger selection of dance DVDs in Lilly Library to keep you tripping the light fantastic all summer long.

Library Dances with ADF

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The American Dance Festival and Duke Libraries have been ‘Fred and Ginger’ since 1977 when the Festival moved from Vermont to Durham.  Every summer, dancers stretch on the lawns of East Campus, perform at DPAC and bring with them their scholars and speakers.  The campuses are a space in motion.  Duke Libraries is part of the fun, providing an ideal place to explore the ADF and its great tradition—casually or in depth.

Duke Libraries’ rich collection of material supporting dance begins at the Lilly Library–across the street from ADF headquarters on Broad Street.  Sit in the ambiance of the oak-lined Kendrick S. Few reading room and glance at DanceView, Dance Teacher, Dance Magazine, DDD (dancedancedance, from Japan) and many other dance magazine current issues.  Lilly’s historic and contemporary books on dance cluster at the call number GV1588 or there about.  Read about your favorite ADF dance company or relax with Bust a Move: Six Decades of Dance Crazes  (itbooks).

Have a favorite ADF performance or ensemble?  A number of recorded performances dating from the 1930s forward are available for viewing.  For example, nearly every ADF performance of Pilobolus or the Paul Taylor Dance Company may be found in the Festival film archives at the Lilly Library.

The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library on west campus is the home for the ADF archives.  Scholars and enthusiasts can delight to American Dance Festival Photographic Materials Collection, photos created and collected by the American Dance Festival, between 1930 and 2000.  Co-administrated by the library and the ADF, contact Dean Jeffery to request viewing original material, using the many finding aids http://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/findingaids/adfadfcob.pdf.  Browse the archives at http://www.americandancefestival.org/archives/.

Badges to Buttons: Students Write About “Images That Shock”

Guest post by Professor Ann Marie Rasmussen and students in her Spring 2014 Writing 101 course, “Images that Shock: Obscenity from the Middle Ages to the Present,” which was co-taught with Heidi Madden, Librarian for Western European and Medieval/Renaissance Studies. Writing 101 courses are offered during a student’s first year at Duke and are designed to offer students a foundation for and  introduction to university-level writing. See more at the Thompson Writing Program’s Writing 101 website, or see a list of all Spring 2014 Writing 101 courses and course descriptions.

As part of their research into the meaning and historical significance of late medieval badges, students in Professor Rasmussen's Writing 101 course turned medieval badges into buttons.
As part of their research into the historical significance of late medieval badges, students in Professor Rasmussen’s Writing 101 course made their badges live again as buttons.

When I teach Writing 101, I focus not on content, but on process. The goal is to give first-year students what my co-teacher, Heidi Madden, and I like to call a tool chest of skills in academic communication, broadly understood, that will help them make the most of studying at Duke. The skills we emphasize include writing skills such as revision; giving and accepting rigorous yet fair feedback; and communicating clearly and effectively for different audiences, media, and formats. We also emphasize turning students into effective, knowledgeable, and critical researchers by teaching them  how to master the complex modern research engine that goes by the name of a research library.

Still, to learn process you have to apply it. For their final paper, students write a research paper in an area of my scholarly expertise, late medieval badges. These are small objects found in Great Britain and northwestern Europe, usually about the size of a quarter and featuring a vivid image. They were made to be worn, usually sewn or pinned to clothing, but sometimes suspended as a pendant. Made of lead-tin alloy, badges were cheap to make and to buy. Some 15,000 survive; millions were probably made in the three hundred years they were in circulation. Although they are little known today, badges were once ubiquitous, ordinary artifacts. What makes badges rewarding for student research are their images, which draw on and disseminate iconographies that, however shocking, mysterious, or inscrutable they now seem to us, were once widely and immediately understood. A badge image presents itself to a modern viewer as a puzzle that repays diligent, focused, expert research by delivering new findings and a deeper understanding of the past.

What a great topic for Writing 101! For their final paper, each student selects and researches a single badge and its image. As a way of getting to know their badge better, we asked students to carefully draw it. Then, we used the library’s button-maker to affix each drawing to an aluminum, pinned back. Viola! The medieval badges live again in a modern form, as buttons. Students were also asked to write a blog post about their badge, which they have identified using categories and data from an important, web-based reference and  research tool for badges, the Kunera database housed at  the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands. This assignment allowed them to practice making academic research accessible and compelling to non-specialists. We, teachers and students, hope that the buttons and blogs pique your interest in medieval badges and in Writing 101 at Duke.

 

A Selection of Student Research on Medieval Badges


Tiffany Chen:
What a week this has been! To be honest, when first faced with the task of researching the badge—well, actually, mine is an ampulla—I was sure it would not be so difficult. But when I realized that the ampulla for my paper is… undocumented in a conspicuous way… I found out how challenging researching the unknown can really be.

 

I have felt like a detective lately, sleuthing for clues and trying to piece them together in a way that not only makes sense, but also is likely to be correct. Luckily, I have found clues pointing me in promising directions. For instance, the location of my ampulla was listed as Jerusalem, but I had to look at the ampulla itself and its depiction to discover that it represented Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is held by tradition to be the location where Christ was resurrected.

I am on a good path towards uncovering more clues. So far, I have delved into the ampulla’s rich history, circa 1149-1199 (around the time of the Third Crusade to the Muslim world). I have researched its image and as well ampullae in general to better understand how they were used. But I have yet to uncover information on the ampulla’s inscription of capital letters, HMPO, and on other key features. More to come in the future! Until then, this detective needs to pick up her magnifying glass and see what else she can find.

Kay Hasegawa: Yes, that badge is showing exactly what you think it is, a woman standing next to a penis with little arms and legs, wearing a crown, and carrying a pilgrim staff and a shoulder bag. Very, very eccentric, and not exactly the first thing we would imagine when we think about medieval accessories in Western Europe! But the image embodies a very common desire for the agriculture-intensive peasants of the day, the wish for fertility of the land and of the mother. All hail the medieval phallic figure!

 

Alyse Whitaker: Do me a favor. Imagine a world in which it is acceptable for you and your peers to wear clothing or badges adorned with explicit images of female and male genitalia… In our world, it would be unusual to walk down the street and see a man wearing a shirt with a phallus on it because exposing genitals is not tolerated or legal in American culture. Thinking back to the Middle Ages, which supposedly is a time when people were more modest, it was shocking to discover that this assumption was not accurate. Here is a badge that caught my eye. It shows a phallus on a spit, something used to roast chicken over a fire, with a vulva functioning like a  “grease trap” to catch the drippings. There are so many impressions that could be taken from this image. My first impression was that the artist was trying to express the efficiency of the men when it came to fertility,. Or perhaps the image was supposed to shock and ward off evil spirits? Badges such as this one may have been worn for many different purposes.

 

Special thanks to Elena Feinstein and Aaron Welborn for bringing the button-maker to the library, and to Mark Zupan for photographing the buttons.

 

Digital Humanities Project Management, Nov. 21

DoingDHImage

Doing DH is a Digital Scholarship series focusing on the basic skills needed for working in the digital humanities. Lightning-talk panels, presentations, and workshops showcase people, projects, and expertise in the Triangle and offer insights into the practical side of being a digital humanist. Presentations and panel discussions are in the FHI Garage (Bay 4, Smith Warehouse). Light refreshments will be served. Workshops are in the Wired! Lab (Bay 11 Smith Warehouse).

The next events in this series are November 21 : a workshop and panel discussion on project management in the digital humanities (more information below).

 

Digital Humanities Project Management Workshop
Date: Thursday, November 21
Time:
4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Location: Wired! Lab, Smith Warehouse, Bay 11 (click for map)
Registration: Required (seating is limited). Please register to attend.
Contact: Liz Milewicz, liz.milewicz@duke.edu

Introduction to digital humanities project planning and management, with special emphasis on choosing the tools and applications (from free apps like Google Docs to professional software like BaseCamp and Jira) that best suit your project and your team. Participants are encouraged to bring their own laptops.

 

Digital Humanities Project Management Panel
Date: Thursday, November 21
Time: 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Location: FHI Garage, Smith Warehouse Bay 4 (click for map)
Registration: Register online
Contact: Liz Milewicz, liz.milewicz@duke.edu

Light refreshments will be served.

Following the workshop, join us for a panel discussion on common issues in digital humanities project development. What planning and management challenges are specific to digital humanities? How do DH project managers coordinate team effort, communicate with stakeholders, and control unexpected changes in project scope? Participating panelists hail from both Duke and UNC, including:

  • Mary Caton Lingold (Soundbox Project co-director and English Department doctoral student, Duke University)
  • Erin Parish (Cultural Anthropology Department doctoral student, Duke University)
  • Ashley Reed (Manager, William Blake Archive, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
  • Josh Sosin (Duke Collaboratory in Classics Computing and Associate Professor of Classical Studies, Duke University)

Sponsored by the Duke University Libraries Digital Scholarship Services department and the Wired! Group.

Library Blogs Monthly Recap: October 2013

October disappeared while we were illicitly munching on Halloween candy, and November has appeared out of nowhere, with its shorter days and longer shadows. In case you missed something, here’s a summary of some of the top stories from around the Libraries for the month of October.

 

DoingDHImageDoing Digital Humanities: New Workshops this Fall

Our Digital Scholarship Services department has organized a series of panels, presentations, and workshops this fall to focus on basic skills in digital humanities research.

 

 

4426568251_f9ed0bd32eThe Big Picture About Peer Review

Kevin Smith, Director of Copyright and Scholarly Communications, reacts to a recent report in the journal Science and why its conclusions on open-access publishing and peer review were so wrong.

 

facultybooks13Fall Faculty Books: Yoga, Cholesterol, and Britten                                              

The faculty at Duke have been busy writing on spectrum of topics, from minority aging to differential equations and everything in between. Check out this extensive list of books penned by our very own Duke faculty members, all available in the library.

 

fantasy_collecting_600x360Fantasy Collecting Source Code Released

The source code for Fantasy Collecting, an art education and market simulation program developed here at Duke, was recently made publicly available. Fantasy Collecting is a bit like fantasy football for the art world. Students aim to increase the value and scope of their virtual art collections through promoting, acquiring, and trading art.

 

 A Postcard from Our National Book Collecting Contest Winner 

Ashley Young, a Ph.D. student at Duke and 2nd-prize winner in the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, wrote about her trip to the awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., hosted by the Library of Congress.

 

httpexhibitslibrarydukeedupluginsdropboxfilesncmph080010030_609b67fac8Soul and Service: The North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company

A new exhibit at the Center for Documentary Arts celebrates the 115th anniversary of NC Mutual, the country’s largest and oldest African-American owned insurance company. The exhibit is co-sponsored by NC Mutual and the John Hope Franklin Research Center, part of the Rubenstein Library.

 

ResearchLibrariesAptman and Middlesworth Prize Winners Announced

The winners of the Aptman and Middlesworth research prize were recognized at a special awards ceremony during Duke Family Weekend. These students were recognized for their outstanding work in research and the utilization of library sources.

 

 

Ghost Stories from an Art Historian

ghost

Halloween always brings out the worst in people.  Garish pumpkin sweaters and sequined Walmart costumes.  It was with that dejection about this commercial holiday that I discovered the ghost stories of a prominent art historian, the Cambridge manuscript curator Montague Rhodes James http://www.dictionaryofarthistorians.org/jamesm.htm.  James, provost of King’s College (1905-1918), wrote stories in his spare time, yarns weaving his knowledge of antiquities together with the aberrant personalities (which were apparently more common in the nineteenth century), into stories of the supernatural.  They are not easy reading.  The stories ramble, focusing on physical detail without additional effect, rather like a drunk Henry James or a G. K. Chesterton without a sense of humor.  Still, it’s fascinating to see what constituted scary a hundred years ago.  Without the popularly-held image of what a ghost looks like, M. R. James describes them anew (one is characterized as a visage with its facial flesh burned off).  Doom doesn’t last forever, either.  The haunted manuscript acquired by an unsuspected dupe only temporarily brings its owner ill fate.

If Halloween is the time to experience the odd within the confines of the familiar, then M.R. James’ Ghost Stories are truly that.  A glimpse of ancient days written from those very long ago days.

James, M. R. (Montague Rhodes), 1862-1936. Collected ghost stories. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2011. Perkins/Bostock Library. PR6019 .A565 2011

Available electronically, but somehow not quite as scary http://search.library.duke.edu/search?id=DUKE004827341

British Library Grant Helps Duke Preserve Tibetan Manuscripts

Menri Monastery in Northern India possesses the world’s largest collection of manuscripts relating to Bön, the pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet.
Menri Monastery in Northern India possesses the world’s largest collection of manuscripts relating to Bön, the pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet. All photos by Edward Proctor.

Duke University has received a grant from the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme to digitize and preserve a trove of ancient religious manuscripts related to Bön, the pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet.

Once digitized, the manuscripts will be made freely available online through the British Library, giving scholars around the world access to an important archive of religious texts that were previously accessible only by traveling to a monastery in a remote part of the Indian Himalayas.

The Menri Monastery, located near the village of Dolanji in the Northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, possesses the world’s largest collection of manuscripts relating to Bön. Most of these materials were rescued from ancient monasteries in Tibet before they were destroyed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

The collection includes some 129 pechas, or traditional Tibetan books, comprising more than 62,000 pages of text. A pecha consists of loose leaves of handmade paper wrapped in cloth, placed between wooden boards, and secured with a belt. Also included are some 479 handmade colorfully-illustrated initiation cards, or tsakli, which are employed in various rituals and contain significant amounts of text.

Duke librarian Edward Proctor, second from right, worked with monks at the monastery in 2009 to determine the feasibility of digitizing the Bön manuscripts.
Duke librarian Edward Proctor, second from right, worked with monks at the monastery in 2009 to determine the feasibility of digitizing the Bön manuscripts.

As the name suggests, the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme aims to preserve archival material that is in danger of disappearing, particularly in countries where resources and opportunities to preserve such material are lacking or limited. The Bön manuscripts are an excellent case in point, according to Edward Proctor, the principal investigator for the project. Proctor is Duke’s librarian for South and Southeast Asia. He also works to develop the South Asian Studies collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library through a cooperative arrangement with Duke.

“The Bön manuscripts are subject to a variety of perils,” said Proctor. “They are currently housed in a building that is neither air-conditioned nor humidity-controlled. Having so many unique materials in one location means that a single disaster, such as a massive mudslide or earthquake (not an infrequent occurrence in this area), could quickly extinguish the records of this ancient tradition.”

The Bön manuscripts cover a wide range of subjects, including history, grammar, poetry, rules of monastic discipline, rituals, astronomy, medicine, musical scores, biographies of prominent Bön teachers, and practical instruction manuals for the creation and consecration of paintings, sculptures, mandalas, ritual offerings, reliquaries, amulets, and talismans.

Proctor first traveled to the Menri Monastery in 2009 on a Pilot Project grant from the British Library to investigate the scope and condition of the Bön manuscripts and the feasibility of digitizing them. He will return later this fall and winter to oversee their digitization, which will be carried out by monastery staff. Proctor will provide training in digitization techniques and offer guidance on best practices in archival management. Once the project is complete, the digitization equipment funded by the British Library will remain at the monastery for the future use of the Bön monks.

Pechas, or traditional Tibetan books, consist of loose leaves of handmade paper wrapped in cloth, placed between wooden boards, and secured with a belt.
Pechas, or traditional Tibetan books, consist of loose leaves of handmade paper wrapped in cloth, placed between wooden boards, and secured with a belt.

According to Proctor, this digitization project is essential to the efforts of Bön monks and nuns to preserve their unique culture, as well as the efforts of scholars elsewhere to understand the early cultural and intellectual history of Central Asia.

“These unique documents already escaped destruction once, during the excesses of the Cultural Revolution,” said Proctor. “But there is still a risk that they could disappear. Just last year, a fire in an 18th-century temple in Bhutan reduced its entire manuscript collection to ashes. Tragically, the temple’s collection had been proposed to be digitized as part of a Major Project grant. Thanks to this grant from the Endangered Archives Programme, it will now be possible to ensure the long-term survival of the Bön manuscripts in Menri Monastery.”

To learn more about the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme, visit their website.

The collection also includes many tsakli, or handmade colorfully-illustrated initiation cards employed in various rituals.
The collection also includes many tsakli, or handmade colorfully-illustrated initiation cards employed in various rituals.

When Art Makes the Man

Undergraduate course and exhibition, Rivalrous Masculinities, explores competing constructions of masculinity over time.

It’s one thing to tell a student that gender is constructed. It’s quite another to ask a student to collect and explain historical images of masculinity. Add to that the added challenges of communicating these insights in a foreign language with students in another country in order to develop an exhibition for the Nasher Museum of Art, and you have no ordinary undergraduate class.

In this case, the class is Rivalrous Masculinities, a seminar co-developed by Professor Anne Marie Rasmussen and Ph.D. candidates Steffen Kaupp and Christian Straubhaar of the German Languages department. They structured this course so that their students would meet and work regularly with students at German universities in order to construct an exhibition focusing on competing social and cultural constructions of masculinity over time.

RM-Exhibit-Poster
Click on the image to visit the online exhibition

With approval and funding from the Mellon Foundation-funded Humanities Writ Large project, this Rivalrous Masculinities project team was put in touch with Will Shaw (Duke University Libraries’ Digital Humanities Technology Consultant), who steered them in the direction of Omeka, a freely available and open source web-publishing platform especially useful in the organization and online presentation of image collections. Students in the fall 2012 Rivalrous Masculinities course used Omeka to collect, describe, and share images with their classmates and instructors.

This collective research can now be viewed as part of a virtual exhibition, launched in March 2013 and available through 2014. Students signed up for the fall 2013 Rivalrous Masculinities course will continue the project, this time in collaboration with students from Humboldt University of Berlin and the University of Hamberg, to prepare a physical exhibition of these works in the Nasher Museum of Art in 2014.

Road Trip with the Friends!

On Friday, April 26, the Friends of the Duke University Libraries will be hitting the road to Wilmington, North Carolina, to learn more about the race riot of 1898.  In honor of the 115th anniversary of this historic event, we will tour the 1898 exhibit at the Cape Fear Museum with LaRae Umfleet, historian and author of the 1898 Wilmington Race Riot Commission Report.  We will also visit the Bellamy Mansion and 1898 Memorial, followed by a tour of key sites and a discussion with Barbara Wright, author of the novel Crow, a fictional account of Wilmington in 1898.  The evening will be open for sightseeing and dinner in Wilmington before the return to Durham.

For more information or to sign up for the trip. please contact Megan Lawson at 919-660-5856 or megan.lawson@duke.edu.  The trip is open to everyone.  The cost of the trip is $75, which includes transportation, lunch, and admission to the sites.  The registration deadline is March 26, 2013.

Wilmington_Flier

New Exhibit: Caricature and the Dreyfus Affair

Detail from “Le Traître” (The Traitor), a lithograph depicting Alfred Dreyfus that is part of a new exhibit on caricature and the Dreyfus Affair in the Rubenstein Library.

Exhibit Reception—Please Join Us!
Date: Wednesday, January 30
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Rubenstein Library Photography Gallery, Rubenstein Library, Duke West Campus (Map)
Contact: Meg Brown, meg.brown@duke.edu, 919-681-2071

Few legal cases in French history have been so decisive, and so divisive, as the twelve-year trial, re-trial and eventual acquittal of Captain Alfred Dreyfus. Dreyfus, a Jewish military officer, was falsely accused in 1894 of selling military secrets to the German army. The trial sparked a flurry of anti-Semitism in the popular press and inspired Émile Zola’s famous open letter of outrage, “J’Accuse!”

A new exhibition in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke examines how the Dreyfus Affair was depicted in the French popular press, with a particular focus on visual illustrations in newspapers and periodicals that covered the trial. A Mockery of Justice: Caricature and the Dreyfus Affair encourages viewers to reconsider the significance of this historical episode that continues to resonate in the present day. As Zola pointed out, the Dreyfus Affair was about more than one man’s guilt or innocence. Also at stake were the very principles upon which the French Republic rested: liberté, égalité, fraternité. More than one hundred years later, the Dreyfus Affair offers a vivid lesson on the dangers of racial prejudice, blind loyalty to the military, and unthinking nationalism.

Cover illustration from “Le Petit Journal” (1895) showing Alfred Dreyfus being stripped of his military honors and titles.

Drawing on the Rubenstein Library’s extensive collection of  late-19th and early 20th-century French periodicals, the exhibit also features a rare series of colorful and attention-grabbing posters that were disseminated throughout Paris at the time. The posters, collectively known as the Musée des Horreurs, were published pseudo-anonymously and feature unflattering caricatures of prominent Jews, Dreyfus supporters, and other individuals involved in the Dreyfus Affair. Another set of posters, known as Musée des Patriotes, glorifies the so-called anti-Dreyfusards, who publicly condemned Dreyfus and sought to undermine his defense.

A complete original set of the Musée des Horreurs and the Musée des Patriotes was recently acquired by the Rubenstein Library and has been digitized in conjunction with the exhibit.

A Mockery of Justice: Caricature and the Dreyfus Affair was sponsored by the Duke Center for Jewish Studies and curated by Alexis Clark, Kathryn Desplanque, and Emilie Anne-Yvonne Luse, doctoral students in the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies.

For more information, visit the online exhibit website. To see the complete set of images from the Musée des Horreurs and Musée des Patriotes, visit our digital collections website.

 

Exhibit Details
A Mockery of Justice: Caricature and the Dreyfus Affair
December 12, 2012 – March 9, 2013
Rubenstein Library Photography Gallery
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library (Click here for map)
Duke University West Campus
Public Hours: Monday-Friday, 8am–7pm; Saturday, 9am–7pm; Sunday, 10am–7pm
Hours may vary during the holidays. Please check our posted library hours for more information.

A New View of “Gitmo”

Revisiting the U.S. Naval Station, Guantánamo Bay, through the Duke University Libraries’ Caribbean Sea Migration Digital Collection

A “Mata de Navidad” (Christmas bush), constructed by Cuban detainees in a Guantánamo Bay tent city, 1994-1995.

When you hear the word “Guantánamo,” you probably don’t think of tent cities with families and children, religious festivals, and locally run newspapers.

But the Guantánamo Bay of the 1990s differed in many ways from the place Americans came to know after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Images of this earlier Guantánamo and its inhabitants, recently digitized by the Duke University Libraries, will soon be touring the country as part of an exhibit developed by the Guantánamo Public Memory Project, an initiative based at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University. The exhibit, opening in New York City on December 13 and touring the United States through 2014, explores the complex and controversial history of “Gitmo.”

Two Haitian boys are given a medical exam aboard the US Coast Guard cutter Chase by Chief Warrant Officer Paul Healey, in October 1981.

“We were fortunate to have advance access to the [Caribbean Sea Migration] collection, so that nearly 100 students at 11 universities across the country could use it extensively to prepare our traveling exhibit on the long history of the U.S. Naval Station at Guantánamo,” said Liz Ševčenko, Founding Director of the Guantánamo Public Memory Project and faculty member at the Institute. “It’s a tremendous resource for researchers and the general public.”

During the years 1991-1993 and again in 1994, tens of thousands of Haitians, fleeing political upheaval and repression, were interdicted by the U.S. Coast Guard and removed to the U.S. Naval Station at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. While they awaited decisions on whether they would be repatriated to Haiti or allowed to apply for asylum in the U.S., the Haitians made a life in the tent cities established for them by the U.S. military.

In 1994 over 30,000 Cubans set out from Cuba by sea for the United States. Among them was Pavel Rodríguez, a nine-year-old boy who, along with his family, was interdicted by the U.S. Coast Guard and taken to Guantánamo. Pavel, who years later would enroll at Duke University Medical School, remembers both the anxiety arising from prolonged detention at GTMO and the sense of community among the refugees. Pavel recalls fellow Cubans at GTMO forming a newspaper at the camp and opening an art gallery, along with his own memories of “chasing iguanas and flying kites behind barbed wires and fences guarded by heavily armed soldiers.”

Draft of a news release for the camp publication Sa K’Pase, announcing an American-style summer camp for children in Guantánamo Camp IIA, 1992.

Stories like Pavel’s, and those of many others like him, make up the recently digitized Caribbean Sea Migration Collection, which documents the experiences of the more than 200,000 Haitians, Cubans and Dominicans who traversed the Caribbean Sea in the late 20th century, fleeing political instability in their home countries. Materials in this collection provide varying perspectives on Guantánamo in the late 20th century: from military personnel running the camps, to publishers of and contributors to community newspapers, to detainee-artists creating works reflective of their experience.

For more on the Guantánamo Public Memory Project traveling exhibit, visit their website and blog.

To learn more about the Caribbean Sea Migration and other collections digitized by the Duke University Libraries—which are made freely available for teaching, learning, and research—visit our digital collections website.

 

Text Mining Talk > TODAY at 2:30

Ryan Shaw is an assistant professor in the School of Information and Library Science, UNC Chapel HIll.

Date: Thursday, September 20
Time: 2:30-4:00 p.m.
Location: Perkins Library, Room 217 (map)
Contact: Liz Milewicz, (919) 660-5911, liz.milewicz@duke.edu

Today Duke University Libraries launches its new Digital Scholarship Series, Text > Data, with a talk by UNC SILS faculty member Ryan Shaw – 2:30-4:00 PM in Perkins Library 217. All are welcome to attend.

Ryan will provide an overview and a critique of text-mining projects, and discuss project design, methodology, scope, integrity of data and analysis as well as preservation. This presentation will help scholars understand the research potential of text mining, and offer a summary of issues and concerns about technology and methods.

This presentation will be an excellent introduction to text mining as a methodological approach. And if you’re a PhD student, you can earn 2 RCR credits (GS712) for attending this talk — just be sure to register your attendance: http://library.duke.edu/events/digital-scholarship/event.do?id=6321.