Friday, February 1, 2013

Alfred Hitchcock Presents...

The title page for a handwritten dissertation."The Brain is the material organ of all the Intellectual and Moral manifestations. Of the nature of the mind, or soul itself, but little is known beyond what Revelation has unfolded. Chemistry in vain has been invoked to test for its essence; and the most accurate anatomists have failed to point out its domicile, or discover its mode of union with the body."

We couldn't believe this one. Earlier this week for an Anthropology class, "The Values of Medicine," we looked at 19th-century Dartmouth Medical School theses. One group of students stumbled on "Influence of the Mind on Disease" by one Alfred Hitchcock written in 1837. We were sorry to learn he was no relation, but clearly a precursor to his more famous namesake: they shared a fascination with the curiosities of the mind, but worked in different media.

Come see this and other medical theses by asking for DA-3, Box 10932. Also enjoy this posting featuring a 1832 thesis on Tight Lacing.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A View from Pemberley

A landscape featuring cows, a lake, and a distant manor house.This week marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, perhaps the most beloved novel in the English language. We have two copies of the first edition "By the Author of Sense and Sensibility." One of the fun things to do in Special Collections is surround a favorite novel with contemporary books that give you insights into the world of its original readers. One such book is Humphry Repton's Observations on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening (London: T. Bensley for J. Taylor, 1805).

 A landscape featuring sporadically wooded hills and a cluster of cows.
A landscape showing a path running alongside water. There are also cows in the foreground and a bridge in the distance.Repton's treatise on English landscapes would have fit right in at Mr. Darcy's Pemberley House library. The lavishly produced book uses flaps to show before and after views of improved landscapes. The pictures give you a sense of what Elizabeth Bennett and her aunt and uncle may have seen as they "found themselves at the top of a considerable eminence, where the wood ceased, and the eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House."

The title page for "Pride and Prejudice."
Come in and behold the grounds that Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy may have strolled in their happy dotage by asking for Rare SB471.R427 1805. And don't forget the first edition of Pride and Prejudice: Rare PR4034.P7 1813.