Friday, October 25, 2019

Lies Hunt In Packs

Cover of Van Vliet's book Greed  The word GREED is printed in bold black letters down the golden spine and all over the golden cover of this stunning little square book. Inside, the pages are filled with lithographs made by Claire Van Vliet and printed by Eystein Hance-Olsen at SKHS in Oslo on Zerkall Butten paper. Published by the Janus Press in Vermont in 2013, this handsome volume is one of many that belong to Rauner Library's Presses collection. The collection itself is truly amazing, spanning nearly the entire history of printing in the West, from the Aldine Press in the late 1400s to artists' books printed this very year.

Propagandists lithograph and printed text
Van Vliet's book is an artistically powerful tour de force that decries the sort of greed and corruption that caused the Great Recession. The book contains four lithograph portraits, each representing a group of people intertwined with power, wealth, and exploitation: Propagandists, Lobbyists, Bankers, and Joe Public. On the facing page, various adages and details outline the vices that have perpetuated the suffering of the 99%. Some of the quotations that seem especially relevant to our current political situation are found on the page for Propagandists: "A lie said often enough becomes truth" and "Lies hunt in packs" are particularly apropos.

Joe Public lithograph and accompanying text

To look at Greed, come to Special Collections and ask to see Presses J268vagr.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Portable Fuchs

Frontispiece to Fuchs's herbalIn 1542, Leonhard Fuchs published his great herbal. We have a copy of that first edition. It is a beast of a folio, richly illustrated and dense with text made for serious study. But it couldn't easily be carried into the field for easy reference, so seven years later, an octavo edition was printed in Lyon for portability.

We were just able to acquire a copy with hand-colored images throughout: De historia stirpium commentarii insignes (Lyon, 1549). One of the reasons we love this little edition is that it provides a wonderful contrast with the original edition in the classroom. Students can immediately see how form and function interact in a printed book.

Two-page spread showing hand-colored plants
As an aside, Fuchs is always fun to use because his herbal was placed on the index of forbidden books by the Catholic church--not because it contains any heresy, but because Fuchs had joined the Protestant Reformation.

Hand-colored flowers from Fuchs
To see the first edition, ask for Rare QK41.F7 1542. We are still cataloging the new one, but it will have a call number soon.