Christoph Irmscher on recovering Birds of America printer

Audubon volume IV-402On the occasion of the first Rare Book School course to be taught at Indiana University, the Lilly Library invites you to a public lecture by IU Provost Professor Christoph Irmscher.

“Recovering Havell: A New Look at Birds of America

While we are used to referring to the magnificent Birds of America (1827-1838) as Audubon’s work, it is really also that of his printer, Robert Havell, Jr. His contribution to the finished product has been marginalized by generations of devoted Audubon admirers. This talk is a first attempt to recover Havell’s impact on individual plates (which ranged from supplying backgrounds to adding in entire specimens) as well as on the work as a whole. One underlying theme of these reflections will be the extent to which an Englishman who had never seen the United States shaped a work usually defined as quintessentially “American.”

Audubon scholar and IU Professor Christoph Irmscher will speak in the Lilly Library Slocum Room at 5:30 pm on May 12. A reception will follow the talk.

A Rare Book School Lecture sponsored by the Friends of the Lilly Library.

Novelist Nicholas Delbanco to Read at The Lilly Library

On April 2, at 5:30 p.m. novelist Nicholas Delbanco will read from his new novel The Years at the Lilly Library on the campus of Indiana University Bloomington. The event is sponsored by the Friends of the Lilly Library, with additional support from the College Arts and Humanities Institute. A reception will follow the event. Called by John Gardener “one of our greatest writers,” Nicholas Delbanco has published over two dozen acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction.

His latest novel, The Years, published by Little A in January 2015, deals with the passage of time, from youth to middle age, from middle age to old. Four decades after their intense but doomed college romance, the novel’s protagonists, Lawrence and Hermia, meet again on Mediterranean cruise, falling more deeply in love now, and wondering whether or not to marry in their sixties. Moving across many years, the first part of the novel reports on their prior, separate lives and the steps toward a new life together. When Lawrence comes to visit Hermia’s home on Cape Cod she has one request: “Please stay.” What happens when he does fills the rest of this heartfelt, unforgettable novel. With enormous sympathy and keen insight, Delbanco follows Hermia and Lawrence through their final years together in Los Angeles and Cape Cod. Old scores are settled; old wounds heal. The Years is a unique book about first and final love, about the irrevocable end of things, and about what endures.

The Friends of Art Bookshop will offer copies of the novel for sale at the reading, and Mr. Delbanco has agreed to sign them.

About the Author:
Nicholas Delbanco is the Robert Frost Distinguished University Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan. His most recent book was The Art of Youth: Crane, Carrington, Gershwin, and the Nature of First Acts (Amazon Publishing/New Harvest), selected by Susan Stamberg for NPR’s Guide to 2013’s Great Reads. The long-term director of the MFA program as well as the Hopwood Awards Program at the University of Michigan, he has served as chair of the fiction panel for the National Book Awards and a judge for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction, received a Guggenheim Fellowship, and, twice, a National Endowment for the Arts Writing Fellowship.

The Years is available for sale at the Friends of Art Bookshop.

Questions? Contact The Lilly Library at (812) 855-2452.

delbanco

Upcoming Lecture Featuring Research from the Papers of Max Eastman

weston_003Between 1919 and 1921, Margrethe Mather took a series of extraordinary photographs of her friend and lover, the actress Florence Deshon, a woman of extraordinary beauty and intelligence. Signature events in the history of portrait photography, these images played a central role in Deshon’s tempestuous relationship with the poet, editor, and socialist Max Eastman (who, too, was the subject of several iconic Mather photographs). Florence Deshon, who likely killed herself in 1922, is virtually forgotten today. This talk pays tribute to her and to Mather’s photographs, several of which are in the collections of the Lilly Library.

Christoph Irmscher, Provost Professor of English and Director of the Wells Scholars Program, has been working on a biography of Max Eastman, tentatively titled When Love Was Red, which makes extensive use of the Eastman papers at the Lilly Library. His most recent book is Louis Agassiz: Creator of American Science (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013).

When: February 5, 4pm
Where: FA 102
Free and Open to the Public

Orson Welles exhibition buzz

welles_01291Excitement is building for the Orson Welles exhibition at the Lilly Library! The exhibition, “100 Years of Orson Welles: Master of Stage, Sound, and Screen” opens this week, and later in the semester film screenings and an academic symposium will provide continued opportunities to explore the work of this master of many media on the 100th anniversary of his birth.

The Indianapolis publication NUVO just published a piece on the exhibition: 100 Years of Orson Welles. The IU Bloomington Newsroom press release has information on the film schedule and links to symposium information.

Craig Simpson, Manuscript Archivist at the Lilly Library and curator of the the exhibition, will give a talk on February 12 at 5:30 pm in the Lilly Library Lincoln Room.

August 28 Lecture and Reception: The Unseen World

maguscropOurs is a haunted world. Belief in and fear of ghosts, demons, and unseen forces is an undeniable part of human experience. The Lilly Library’s summer exhibition, “Spiritualists, Sorcerers, and Stage Magicians” explores this fascination in items from the Lilly’s collections from the occult grimoires of Agrippa to stories of modern day ghost hunters stalking their spectral prey in the gaudy pages of 20th-century pulp magazines and comic books.
 
Please join us for a lecture and reception on August 28 at 5:00 to celebrate the closing of our summer exhibition.  Exhibition curators Rebecca Baumann and L. Anne Delgado will highlight some of the mesmerizing narratives that emerge from the pages of the items on display.  Rebecca Baumann, a Reference Associate at the Lilly Library and PhD candidate in the Department of English, will discuss the relationship between magic and the print culture as well as the history of the Lilly Library’s acquisitions in this collecting area.  L. Anne Delgado, a Lecturer in the Department of English who completed her PhD at IU and has written extensively on esoteric topics, will focus on spiritualism, science, and the curious emergence of ectoplasm in the 19th century.  She will introduce a cavalcade of historical figures both exalted and forgotten: lauded stage magicians jealously guarding their craft, scheming mediums who used the public’s hunger for ghosts to develop their own unique forms of performance, and psychical researchers who tried to reconcile science with spirits.

August 18: Egyptology and the Occult: The Enigmatic Friendship of Aleister Crowley and Battiscombe Gunn

Photograph of Aleister Crowley
Aleister Crowley

The late Victorian period was the time in which the modern world as we know it took shape. The industrial revolution was in full swing, scientific and technical discoveries were coming at dizzying pace, and the many scholarly disciplines that deal with the human cultures became recognizable in their modern forms: anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, and of course Egyptology, among others. But at the same period, particularly in Britain, there was also an explosion of interest in the occult, the paranormal, and the esoteric – interests that developed directly into what is now often described as “New Age” philosophy.

Ancient Egypt was one area in which modern scholarship and esotericism overlapped, and even converged. It is not often remembered today that in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a number of mainstream scholars of antiquity were interested in esoteric or occult subjects. One very interesting case is that of Battiscombe Gunn (1883-1950), still remembered as one of the most insightful Egyptologists of his generation. What is less well known is that Gunn was associated, apparently in more than a casual way, with Aleister Crowley. Crowley, of course, was and remains the most notorious British occultist of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries — an individual who was known to his detractors as the “wickedest man in the world,” and who proudly proclaimed himself to be the “Beast 666.” We will first lay out the evidence for the “friendship” – if that is what it was – between Gunn and Crowley. We will go on to discuss how and why Gunn, and a number of his scholarly contemporaries, were interested in the esoteric and the occult. And we will discuss the reasons why esotericism and mainstream Egyptology eventually went their separate ways.

Steve Vinson
“Egyptology and the Occult: The Enigmatic Friendship of Aleister Crowley and Battiscombe Gunn”
August 18, 3:30 PM
Lilly Library Slocum Room

Steve Vinson is an associate professor of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Indiana University in Bloomington, who earned his doctorate in Egyptology at the Johns Hopkins University in 1995. He is currently working on a book on historical and critical approaches to ancient Egyptian literature.

Planting the Raintree: A Tribute to Ross Lockridge, Jr.

image of groundsmen Chuck Burleson (right) and Tony Albanese planting the raintree
IU groundsmen Chuck Burleson (right) and Tony Albanese planted the Lilly golden raintree on the morning of June 26, 2014.

Bloomington author Ross Lockridge Jr.’s 1948 book Raintree County has been touted by some contemporary critics as a candidate for that elusive goal, the Great American Novel. To honor Lockridge’s legacy, the Lilly Library has partnered with the IU Office of Landscape Architecture to plant a golden raintree at the historic Raintree House in Bloomington. The raintree was featured as part of the Lilly exhibition “Raintree County: A Celebration of the Life and Work of Ross Lockridge Jr.,” which went on display this spring in tribute to the author’s centennial.

Special thanks go to the Lockridge family for making the exhibition possible through their gift to the Lilly Library of thousands of the author’s personal belongings, including letters, mementos, unpublished writings, and a portion of the original manuscript for the famed novel. The Lockridge family has also been very generous in sharing their family story, which includes their father’s success, his suicide, and other details of his life and work.

Lockridge was familiar with raintrees through their prominent population in New Harmony, Indiana. In 1937 he wrote A Pageant of New Harmony, which was performed in the town as part of the second annual Golden Rain Tree Festival. Years later he employed the raintree as a symbol of knowledge, fertility, and life in his epic novel and appropriated its name for his title.

Native to eastern Asia, the raintree was introduced to the West in the 1700s and blooms in early summer with clusters of mildly-fragrant yellow flowers. In the fall, the leaves turn buttery yellow and the tree produces brown, papery seed capsules which somewhat resemble Chinese lanterns. The tree will be located on the west side of Raintree House, visible to visitors and passers-by.

Built in 1845, Raintree House is currently home to three young golden raintrees but was once home to one of the largest such trees in southern Indiana. In 1969 the IU Foundation purchased the property, and the Organization of American Historians moved into it the following year, occupying it ever since. Constructed from locally produced brick and virgin walnut timber, the house is designated an Indiana historic site and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Given the role and sense of history in Raintree County, the ceremonial planting at Raintree House is a fitting coda to the Lilly’s recently-concluded Ross Lockridge Jr. centennial exhibition. “For Raintree County is not the country of the perishable fact,” the author stated in the novel’s epigraph. “It is the country of the enduring fiction. The clock in the Court House Tower on page five of the Raintree County Atlas is always fixed at nine o’clock, and it is summer and the days are long.” This tree serves as a reminder of the sturdy and renewable power and beauty of literary art that emerged from the rich imagination of one Indiana writer in the middle years of the 20th century.

David Brent Johnson, Guest Blogger

Built in 1845, Raintree House is part of Indiana University and is currently home to the Organization of American Historians.  It is also now home to three golden raintrees.
Built in 1845, Raintree House is part of Indiana University and is currently home to the Organization of American Historians.  It is also now home to three golden raintrees.

The Lilly Library engages in some paranormal activity

Excitement mounts for Saturday’s opening reception for Spiritualists, Sorcerers, and Stage Magicians: Magic and the Supernatural at the Lilly Library. We’ll have food and drink plus a magic show and remarks by the exhibition curators! IU Communications multimedia intern Milana Katic posted a short video on the Art at IU blog today featuring interviews with exhibition curators Rebecca Baumann and L. Anne Delgado and a sneak preview of magician Steve Bryant.

For the full post see: The Lilly Library engages in some paranormal activity. And please join us at 6:00 pm at the Lilly Library this Saturday, June 21, for a festive evening.

From Bonnie and Clyde to Jaws: Pauline Kael class at the Lilly Library

Indiana University Lifelong Learning proudly presents ‘From Bonnie and Clyde to Jaws: Pauline Kael’s
“Critical Collection” at the Lilly Library’
. The Second Golden Age of Cinema (ca. 1967-1975) was an unprecedented era of creativity and risk in Hollywood moviemaking, and with that came new heights in film criticism. At the forefront was Pauline Kael, the controversial, insightful, wickedly funny film critic for The New Yorker from the late 1960s to the early 1990s. This course focuses primarily on Kael’s criticism during the Second Golden Age, where her influence helped launch the careers of filmmakers like Francis Coppola, Martin Scorsese, and Steven Spielberg. Additionally, we will watch selected scenes from classic films of this period (such as Bonnie and Clyde, The Godfather, Nashville, and Jaws) and assess them in the context of Kael’s reviews.

Class: ‘From Bonnie and Clyde to Jaws : Pauline Kael’s “Critical Collection” at the Lilly Library’
Instructor: Craig Simpson
Location: Lilly Library
Times: March 25 and April 1 (Tuesdays) 7:00pm-8:30pm
Fee: $40
Class size is limited to 25 students.

To register for this class, go to https://webdb.iu.edu/Continue/Secure/catalog.asp?dept=Arts#14SA123HU

Marchetto and Prosdocimo: A Musician and an Astronomer on Music in Medieval Padua

Please join us on Monday, November 18, 2013, at 5:00 pm in the Lilly Library for “Marchetto and Prosdocimo: A Musician and an Astronomer on Music in Medieval Padua,” the inaugural lecture in a new series from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music’s Center for the History of Music Theory and Literature (CHMTL) by the renowned medievalist and musicologist Jan Herlinger.

All are welcome. Refreshments will follow the talks. In order to prepare for the reception, we ask that you please fill out the small form available here if you are planning to attend.

Jan Herlinger is Derryl and Helen Haymon Professor of Music, emeritus, at Louisiana State University and an Adjunct Researcher at the University of Alabama School of Music. Professor Herlinger has edited, translated, and written widely on medieval music theory; he has contributed to the New Grove Dictionary of Music, the Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages, Medieval Italy: An Encyclopedia, the New Oxford History of Music, and the Cambridge History of Western Music Theory; and to the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Acta Musicologica, and Music Theory Spectrum. He served as Secretary of the American Musicological Society, 1996–2001, and, from its beginning, as a member of the Board of the Thesaurus Musicarum Latinarum, a project hosted by CHMTL.

Abstract:
Marchetto was a choirmaster in Padua in the early 14th century; Prosdocimo de Beldemandis an astronomer, physician, and professor of arts and medicine at the university in that city in the early 15th century. Both wrote extensively on music, covering many of the same topics (Prosdocimo wrote on arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy as well). Their music treatises are well known among students of medieval music and deemed essential for its understanding; but their experiences of music, their views of it, and their attitudes toward it were very different. The talk traces their differences—even conflicts—of opinion, and will include images of medieval manuscripts and audio clips of pieces each writer would have known.

For more information about this lecture, please refer to the Jacobs School of Music blog.