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A Mirror of the World, Monuments of World Literature from The Bibliotheca Bodmeriana, an exhibiton at the Grolier Club ( http:\\www.grolierclub.org) 21 Feb-28April 2001 New York
Reviews

From: Max
Category: Exhibitions
Date: 25 April 2001

Review

A Mirror of the World, Monuments of World Literature from The Bibliotheca Bodmeriana, an exhibiton at the Grolier Club ( http:\\www.grolierclub.org) 21 Feb-28April 2001 New York

The Grolier club is a membership by invitation only book collectors club founded in 1884. Martin Bodmer was a rich Swiss who grandiosely named his 160,000 item book collection the Bibliotheca Bodmeriana. This is the first time highlights of the Bodmeriana have ever been shown outside their ancestral home at Cologny, Switzerland. Sounds like the background for a conspiracy theory or a bad film.

The books and manuscripts are exhibited in glass cases in a large dark, perhaps wood-panelled, room. On my visit six or seven people were there peering through the glass at the treasures, and the occasional chuckle of disbelief or pleasure punctured the respectful silence.

You see a book of magic runes, Flaubertís hand written notes for Madam Bovary a cabalistic picture with fresh and disturbing symbolism, a first edition of Don Quixote, the first printing of The Communist Manifesto, an original of Lutherís Theses which nailed the Pope, Proustís much corrected proofs, Einsteinís first lecture on relativity, Napoleonís speech to his troops before they set off to conquer Europe. And your imagination is excited by all this boring old hoarded paper, because it was really written by Einsteinís hand, because people read those books when their ideas were fresh new and revolutionary, because history was changed by these words, because none of this stuff need necessarily have existed and once it didnít, because real people did these amazing things, and the possibilities of life are endless.

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