Category Archives: News

BHPC alumna Eva Mroczek wins the George A. and Jean S. DeLong Book History Book Prize 2017

“The Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) is delighted to announce the award of the 2017 DeLong Book History Book Prize to Eva Mroczek of UC Davis, USA, for her title The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity (published by Oxford University Press) … The book is breathtaking and beautifully written, taking issue with the notion of both ‘the Bible’ and ‘the book’. Stripping away scholarly assumptions about early Jewish literary culture, this study tackles the scraps, fragments and scrolls that have, over the centuries, been imaginatively ordered – often, as Mroczek shows, erroneously – into a coherent canon. The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity asks readers to explore the literature of early Judaism on its own terms, and, in doing so, prompts us to rethink dominant paradigms which structure our imaginative approach to biblical literature and textual circulation. Despite its impressive and wide-ranging scholarship, the book is deft of touch, enjoyable and accessible, and should be read by any scholar interested in the history of the Bible, early Jewish literature, and the idea of the book.”

You can view Eva’s acceptance statement, with memories of her BHPC studies in Toronto, here. See also the prize announcement and press release on the SHARP website.

Professors Alan Galey, Peter Blayney and Scott Schofield among winners of prestigious award for Fisher Library Shakespeare catalogue

‘”The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) has selected five winners and one honorable mention for the 2017 Katharine Kyes Leab and Daniel J. Leab “American Book Prices Current” Exhibition Awards. The awards, funded by an endowment established by Katharine Kyes Leab and Daniel J. Leab, editors of “American Book Prices Current,” recognize outstanding printed exhibition catalogs and guides, and electronic exhibitions, produced by North American and Caribbean institutions.  … The Division One (expensive) winner is the University of Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library for So Long Lives This: A Celebration of Shakespeare’s Life and Works 1616-2016. “The committee praised ‘So Long Lives This’ for its outstanding scholarship on Shakespeare, his legacy, and the England of his day, all of which offer new insights on materials and topics that are frequently exhibited and discussed,” said Alexander C. Johnston, chair of the RBMS Exhibition Awards committee and senior assistant librarian at the University of Delaware. “The committee was impressed with the arrangement, format, and printing. The catalog includes a great variety of illustrative material spanning several centuries; the committee was especially impressed with the section on hand press printing, which includes illustrative examples of the printing process, as drawn from contemporary works. Finally, ‘So Long Lives This’ is printed to mimic the size of the same 1623 First Folio that was displayed in the actual exhibit, which creates an interesting tangible takeaway.”’ You can read more here and here.

Professor Alexandra Gillespie on the shift from manuscript to print and the digitization of medieval books

“Researcher in English and Medieval Studies focuses on the history of the book, but is also forging new ground in the digital age and manuscript studies. Professor Alex Gillespie is a renowned scholar of the literary works of 14th-century writer Geoffrey Chaucer, and she specializes in medieval and early modern texts and books, with a focus on the shift from manuscript to print, the relationship between book history, literary criticism, and literary theory, and the digitization of medieval books. Listen to the View to the U podcast that features Professor Gillespie as she explains the work she is doing in this area. A full transcript of the podcast is available.” You can find out more here.

How 18-year-old engineering students saved U of T’s rarest books

“Yewon Son craned her neck, looking up at the high ceilings and packed shelves of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library — a building that holds, among other treasures, a 4,000-year-old cuneiform tablet, papyrus from the time of Christ and medieval manuscripts that come from the fourth century. It was the 21-year-old University of Toronto engineering student’s first time looking carefully at the books and manuscripts she helped save back when she was just 18 and in a first-year class.” You can read the CBC News article here.

A very short history of the Massey College printing presses

“Fine printing, which has always been strong in Canada, is especially strong at Massey College. The Bibliography Room of the Robertson Davies Library is particularly active during the school year, when a dedicated group of volunteers, apprentices, fellows, and members of the printing community come together to continue that tradition of fine printing. None of this would be possible, however, without the antique Victorian presses that are housed in the room. These presses, which are used today for teaching as well as printing, have unique individual histories.” You can read more here (pp. 15, 17).

Sonnets 2016 initiative: Massey-printed sonnet at the Bodleian Library

“In a cycle of 154 short, 14-line poems first published in 1609, William Shakespeare meditated on themes of love, death, and desire. During 2016, the Bodleian Libraries will be producing and collecting newly printed copies of each of Shakespeare’s sonnets. The Bodleian is seeking examples from hand-press printers worldwide made in this, the 400th year since the death of William Shakespeare … These should be created by hand, using any means of relief printing.  Selected submissions, forming at least one complete collection of Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets, will be added to the Bodleian’s permanent collection.” You can find out more about the Sonnets 2016 project here, and you can see the contribution printed at Massey by BHPC alumna Julia King here.

Rare books: Thomas Fisher Library has Canada’s largest collection

‘The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library feels like a shrine for the written word. But John Shoesmith dismisses the idea.“It’s not just here as a shrine. [The books] don’t come here to die,” said the outreach librarian. “It’s a working library.” The Fisher, as it’s commonly called, is the largest rare book library in Canada and it’s open to the public. Situated within Robarts Library at the University of Toronto, over 700,000 volumes are available to anyone with a library card  … Heavily annotated books belonging to famous Canadian communication theorist Marshall McLuhan and musician Leonard Cohen’s personal notebooks are just some of the books that are made rare by their association. A common misconception is that an old book makes a book rare. And while the Fisher does have material even from before the time of Christ, he says modern books aren’t out of the norm. “We would have books that would’ve been published last week, because we do collect modern Canadian fiction,” said Shoesmith. “We collect as many modern Canadian imprints as we can.” Some modern Canadian manuscripts exclusive to the Fisher are the handwritten first drafts of Margaret Atwood’s novels The Handmaid’s Tale and Cat’s Eye.’ You can read more here.

BHPC alumna Rebecca Niles on her career at the Folger Shakespeare Library

“Cool Job: Digital Texts Co-editor and Interface Architect at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. By the time she graduated from the Faculty of Information (after having earned undergraduate and master’s degrees in English at U of T), Rebecca Niles had already landed a job at the Folger Shakespeare Library – home to the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare materials – on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.” You can read the interview with her in UofT Magazine here.

Shakespeare’s First Folio goes on display at Fisher Library

“The University of Toronto is marking 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare with a special exhibit at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. ‘So long lives this’: Celebrating Shakespeare, 1616-2016 features Shakespeare’s First Folio from 1623 — the only copy in Canada … ‘Until then folios were mostly used for printing important religious, political, and historical works. With the First Folio in 1623, the format of the book itself confers a new kind of importance on plays — and plays written and performed for nearly the full stratum of English society, from working-class people to the royal court,’ said Alan Galey, director of the Master of Information Program at U of T. Galey worked with fellow U of T professors Peter W.M. Blayney and Marjorie Rubright and Western University assistant professor Scott Schofield to curate the exhibition.” You can read more here.

iSchool, English, and History & Philosophy of Science students win 2016 printing apprenticeships

“The BHPC Apprentice is given the privilege of learning the processes involved in operating the printing presses in the Robertson Davies Library’s Bibliography Room at Massey College, and will assist in showing visitors around the room and explaining the function of the presses and their related materials. Apprentices will also learn the basic skills of typesetting, registration, presswork, distribution, and principles of letterpress design. Further, they will assist in the maintenance of the shop including sorting spacing, distributing type and the other organizational tasks required to keep the presses in working order … [New BHPC Printing Apprentices Samantha Bellinger and Joel Vaughan] will be working with the Massey College Printer, Nelson Adams, and will join the current BHPC Printing Fellows, Amy Cote and Julia King, and the two new 2016 Massey Printing Apprentices, Kacper Niburski and Chris Kelleher.” You can read more here.