The 2014 Melbourne Rare Book Week program is now available. From July 17 to 27, Melburnians, Victorians and interstate visitors will be drawn to our city to enjoy an eclectic program of talks, panel discussions, exhibitions, The University of Melbourne’s Cultural Treasures Festival, and the 42nd Australian Antiquarian Book Fair, held at the University’s historic Wilson Hall.
Highlights of this year’s program include:
● The Wheeler Centre’s opening debate, Medium Rare, hosted by Michael Cathcart is billed as the biggest literary takedown of the year
● the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons will present a talk on Syphilis: a forerunner of AIDS, which ties into the concurrent AIDS2014 conference in Melbourne
● medicine out of mumbo-jumbo - renowned author Robyn Annear will chart a queasy course through the rich history of quackery and questionable cures in 19th century Melbourne, which will be complemented later in the week by an insight into the little-known, but stunning, library amassed by Dr Leslie Cowlishaw to demonstrate the development of medicine out of witchcraft and mumbo-jumbo into an art, and then into a science
● colonial crime and punishment will be highlighted in a talk about the Judge Willis Case Books and an examination of the ‘The hanged and the saved’ in colonial Victoria, drawing on cases from the Public Record Office
● talks and panel discussions on collecting sport (an under-explored passion); a collector’s journey in search of the works of the great Samuel Johnson; the military collection at the Royal United Services Institute of Victoria; the art and nonsense verse of Edward Lear; C. J. La Trobe’s other library; Mortimer Menpes – printmaker, author and Japanophile; the meanings of the Robin Hood myth; and the art and history of dust jackets
● Melbourne’s newest library – the Library at The Dock – will be open for tours, as will one of Melbourne’s oldest libraries – the State Library of Victoria
● famous authors Robert Dessaix, Peter Doherty AC, Kerry Greenwood and Toni Jordan will discuss their personal libraries and those books which have been an inspiration to them, and a panel of legal luminaries will reveal the highs and lows of their book world experiences
● the intricate world of book sculpture will be showcased through two lectures and a residency by book sculptor Kyoko Imazu, whose amazing tunnel books will illuminate the Melbourne Athenaeum Library
● Is there gold in your garage? Melbourne Museum is once again hosting Rare Book Discovery Day
● rare maps, prints and illustrations from nautical charts through exotic woodpeckers and birds of paradise to radicals, slayers and villains will be displayed and discussed
● performance events feature songs in Irish and English from the library of Dr Nicholas O’Donnell and artist Patrick Pound working with the Lenton Parr Music, Visual and Performing Arts Library collections
● for those who actually want to own the types of treasures they hear about and see - during Melbourne Rare Book Week there is the opportunity to purchase books, maps and prints at the Melbourne Rare Book Fair held at Wilson Hall, from Friday July 25 to Sunday July 27
● for the first time in Melbourne, an opportunity to view the Gutenberg Bible, printed around 1455 and arguably the most famous book in the world. Only 48 copies exist of this first book printed in the West from moveable type. The University of Melbourne is bringing the magnificent two volume Gutenberg Bible, formerly from the library of the 2nd Earl Spencer, to Melbourne especially for Rare Book Week.
For more information visit www.rarebookweek.com or contact Melbourne Rare Book Week Convenor Kay Craddock AM.