Posted on Wednesday, 11 May 2016 at 11am
by Zoë Enstone. See more of my posts here.
It’s been 400 years since the death of Shakespeare and there have been a wealth of events run by libraries, the BBC and the Royal Shakespeare Company across the country. Somewhat topically then, our Arts and Humanities Foundation Year students recently visited Special Collections in the Brotherton Library to explore, amongst other exciting documents, some of Shakespeare’s folios.
This trip one of several we’ve organised for Arts and Humanities students; we’ve been off-campus to Temple Newsam (you can read my blog post about last year’s trip here), the National Media Museum and Leeds Art Gallery and we’ve also tried to make the most of our wonderful on-campus resources with trips to the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery and the Marks and Spencer Company Archive. Our interdisciplinary modules mean that we’ve explored everything from postmodern art to wartime fashion; scientific photography to the evolution of online technology. Both for this visit and our trip to Temple Newsam we delved into the past to explore a range of Renaissance works and ideas as part of our broader study of the period.
In Special Collections we were able to have a look at some wonderful books from the Renaissance including The Works of Ben Jonson (we’ve studied The Masque of Oberon and Bartholomew Fair so this was quite exciting), Vesalius’ De humani corporis fabrica libri septem, and Richard Hakluyt’s travel narratives. Many of these works epitomise the key themes that we’ve been exploring this semester, such as Renaissance discoveries and the printing press, and it was incredibly exciting to be able to look at books from the period. Special Collections also currently have a wonderful exhibition of some of their exciting resources in the Treasures of the Brotherton Library, including Shakespeare’s first folio.
Our exploration of these books prompted some great discussion about publication practice, authorship and book ownership that we’ll continue for the remainder of the module and we’re already looking forward to our next visit to Special Collections!
A special thanks to Sarah Butler and Rhiannon Lawrence-Francis for making us so welcome and organising the visit for us.