Rare Bites is a series of 30 minute lunchtime talks held monthly during semester. Each talk features an expert speaker spotlighting specific Rare Books and Special Collections resources that are part of their field of study.
The series gives the opportunity for staff & students to learn about some of the treasures and lesser-known gems within Rare Books & Special Collections.
Semester two talks include:
A Bunch of Flowers from Medieval France: The Twelfth-Century Florilegium in Fisher Library
Join Dr James Kane, lecturer at the University of Sydney discussing Florilegium, in our final rare bites talk of the year.
One of the many types of manuscript in circulation during the central Middle Ages was the florilegium (plural florilegia), a Latin word meaning ‘a collection of flowers’. Medieval writers tended to use florilegia to compile quotations and longer excerpts from works of literature, philosophy, history, and so on by the great classical and patristic authors of the past. Nicholson Ms. 2 is a late twelfth-century florilegium from France that has the distinction of being one of the earliest medieval manuscripts currently held in the Rare Books and Special Collections Library. It contains excerpts from the works of St Jerome, Apuleius, Cicero, Boethius, Seneca, and other Latin luminaries.
Though relatively unadorned, the manuscript shows various signs of usage over time and is a perfect example of how medieval annotators could keep books alive by appropriating marginal space. This talk will outline the contents of this florilegium, discuss its script and layout, and explain what its various marginal annotations and other features reveal about how it was used.
Dr James Kane is a lecturer at the University of Sydney, where he currently teaches Old English and Old Norse language and literature. He completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2016 on the topic of how crusading terminology evolved across various western languages between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. He is now preparing this thesis for publication under the tentative title Wearing the Cross in the Medieval West, c. 1095–c. 1300.
When: Wednesday 16 October 2019, 1:00pm – 1:30pm
Location: Fisher Seminar Room (218), level 2
Places are limited, register to secure a place.
The Orphan of Zhao – An Influential Chinese Drama
Join University of Sydney Alumnus Jenny Zhijun Yang discussing The Orphan of Zhao in our fifth Rare Bites talk of the year.
The Orphan of Zhao was a play written by Ji Junxiang dating back to 1330 AD and explores the main themes of revenge and retribution. The play was the first specimen of Chinese dramatic literature translated into a European language.
The Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections owns two adaptations of the play by Voltaire in 1755 and Arthur Murphy in 1759. This talk will focus on the original play and its adaptations to explore a special type of cultural exchange.
Jenny Zhijun Yang graduated with a Master of Art Curating with distinction at the University of Sydney in 2018. She graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Arts in history and Asian studies in 2017 and was awarded the Summer Research Scholarship of the University of Auckland. Jenny is a currently a gallery assistant at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and was previously a gallery assistant at the Auckland Art Gallery. She also works as a collection manager for a private collector. Jenny has Chinese heritage and her dream is to share her knowledge of Chinese civilization with others.
This Rare Bite Talk has passed. However you can view this Rare Bite on our YouTube channel soon.
Exploring Amazing Fantasy #15: The genesis of Spider-Man
When unsuspecting teenager Peter Parker got bitten by a radioactive spider and later realised with great power there must also come great responsibility , America’s ‘most different new teenage idol’ and superhero Spider-Man was born.
Join University of Sydney alumnus Matthew Skinner as he discusses the origin of Marvel Comics’ flagship character within the pages of anthology book Amazing Fantasy #15 by co-creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (1962) in our 4th Rare Bites Talk of the year.
His presentation will explore Lee and Ditko’s tightly plotted, scripted and drawn 11-page collaboration, why their publisher was initially hesitant to print the story, the readership’s reaction to their teenage protagonist, and the pair’s later feud over who exactly created the hero.
Matthew has over ten years of experience delivering marketing, media and communications insight across the sports and higher education sectors.
His exposure to, and passion of, comic books as a medium spans thrice that.
Matthew completed his Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in 2006, presenting his thesis on The Literary History of Comic Books in America Between 1938-1975, and more recently his Master of Media Practice in 2010.
This talk has passed, however you can view this Rare Bite on our Youtube channel: