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.
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.
Steve Roden, sound artist, painter, writer, and collector is in residence at Duke Rubenstein Library this month. Throughout the month he’s giving talks, performances and demonstrations at various Duke and Durham venues. Whether you get a chance to hear Roden’s talks and pieces, his publications are well supported at Duke’s Lilly (art) and Music libraries.
Most engaging, perhaps, is his 2003 collection of retro advertisements for children’s products, Krazy Kids’ Food. A retrospective of his work,Steve Roden in Between : a 20 Year Survey, is in the Lilly Library. More aurally inclined? Check out (literally!) Roden’s sound recording, Splitting Bits, Closing Loops, a CD at the Music Library. Somewhere in between? We recommend his edited book, Site of Sound : of Architecture and the Ear, exploring the relationship between sound, language, orality and hearing with writings on Vito Acconci, Steve McCaffery, Achim Wollscheid, GX Jupitter Larsen, and Marina Abramovic.
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.
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