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Early Books Lecture Series IX

Illustraion [detail] from Biblia moralizada de los Limbourg, ca.1402/Special Collections, University Libraries

Date: April 5, 2012

Contact: VerĂ³nica Reyes-Escudero


Talks ponder science, faith and Renaissance architecture in University Libraries’ medieval texts

The University Libraries Special Collections hosts Early Books Lectures IX, an annual lecture series where University of Arizona (UA) scholars explore the treasure trove of medieval texts held by the University Libraries. Professors from UA’s History, English and German Studies departments will give their audiences new insights into 15th, 16th and 17th century historic texts. The three evening lectures will be held in Special Collections at the Main Library, 1510 University Blvd. The schedule for the ninth year of the Early Books Lecture Series is:

April 10, 7:00- 8:30 p.m.
Alexander Hidalgo, Department of History, Ph.D. Candidate
Fire in the Sky: Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora’s Libra astronomica y philosophica and the Great Comet of 1681

Mexican savant Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora published the Libra astronomica y philosophica in the years following the sighting of a comet visible from different parts of the world from the fall of 1680 to the spring of 1681. Sigüenza y Góngora’s work responded to Jesuit missionary Eusebio Kino’s rationalization of the comet as a divine message contributing to an ongoing intellectual rivalry between the two learned men, but also to 17th century debates over the role of science and faith. Hidalgo’s talk will contextualize the historical setting that led to the publication of this important work and will explore the book’s rich contents.   

April 17, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Frederick Kiefer, Professor, Department of English
The Elizabethan House and the Italian Renaissance

Hardwick Hall in the north of England claims several distinctions: it was built by a woman, Bess of Hardwick, who married four times, accumulating the vast fortune that financed her home; it was designed by the most accomplished architect in Elizabethan England, Robert Smythson; and it is among the most perfectly preserved of Elizabethan homes. Thanks to the National Trust, the house looks today very much the way it did when Bess took up residence in 1597. Kiefer’s talk will explore the architecture of Hardwick Hall, one of the most significant Elizabethan country houses in England.

April 24, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Albrecht Classen, Professor, Department of German Studies
The Most Beautifully Illuminated Bible from the Middle Ages: The Biblia Moralisee by the Limbourg Brothers

The magic and beauty of medieval books, along with their often incredible illustration programs, find one of their best expressions in the Biblia moralisee by the Limbourg Brothers (ca. 1402). This bible continues to stun the modern reader and spectator. Both terms apply very well since this book served the religious inspiration and instruction through the reading of the biblical text and it also allowed the individual to study the text through the unparalleled rich visual program. Classen’s talk will introduce one of the monumental bibliophile treasures held in Special Collections. The manuscript was one of the most glorious gems of medieval book production for royal patrons, but this is so much more than just a bible, or just a book. It is also one of the most stellar art works ever produced in the Middle Ages.

All talks are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided. Parking information is available here.