Rare Bites: Free lunchtime talks exploring our Rare Books treasures

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:

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.  

Cost: Free

When: 1:00pm – 1:30pm, Thursday 26 September 2019

Where: Fisher Seminar Room (218), level 2

Register online, places are limited.

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.

Cost: Free

When: 1:00pm – 1:30pm, Wednesday 21st August

Where: Fisher Seminar Room (218), level 2

Uncover the Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections Treasures in our series of lunchtime talks

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.

Talk One:
More than just its prayers: A late medieval Dutch Prayer Book in Fisher Library

Our first talk More than just its prayers: A late medieval Dutch Prayer Book in Fisher Library is by Dan Anlezark- McCaughey Professor of Early English Literature and Language; Director, Medieval and Early Modern Centre; Associate Dean Research (Education) Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of English who will be talking about the book from our collection: Add. Ms. 342

[A prayer book in Latin and Dutch]. 1501. Netherlands.

Add. Ms. 342 is an unstudied late medieval prayer book in Middle Dutch and Latin. This late fifteenth-century manuscript, written on paper, is only minimally decorated, and is the kind of book that was the output of mass production in the Low Countries in the later Middle Ages. The book appears to have remained in private ownership from the time it was made until relatively recently, as is indicated by the inscription of a number of names (including those of children) up to the early nineteenth century.

This short talk will provide a brief overview of the book in its evolving historical contexts, from the time of its manufacture, until it was acquired by the Fisher Library.

Cost: Free

When: 1:00pm – 1:30pm, Wednesday 20 March 2019

Where: Fisher Seminar Room (218), level 2

Register online (places limited)

Talk Two: Illustrations to micrographs: Visualising patterns in Botany

Learning about the world around us involves observing and recognising the patterns. In science, learning is about sharing and challenging “the what” and “the how” of our observations through discussion within the classroom and with the scientific community at large.

Botanische Wandtafeln (1874-1911), RB Elephant Folio 580 2
Online at https://digital.library.sydney.edu.au/nodes/view/6401

Join Associate Professor Rosanne Quinnell from Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science discussing Botanische Wandatafeln – a series of technical scientific illustrations (1874-1911) distributed globally as teaching tools to support student learning in botany.

Reliance on these illustrations of resources fell out favour for a number of reasons including the advent of digital imaging which coincided with the explosion in the number of online resources (including the University’s eBOT collection). Re-utilising Leopold Kny’s series in a digital platform allows for an enriched dialogue about how science, in general, and botany, is communicated.

Associate Professor Rosanne Quinnell is from Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science. Dr Quinnell’s research and teaching focus on plant sciences and the use of technology-enhanced solutions to improve student learning e.g. Botany, Zoology and Human Biology virtual microscopy slide collections, eBOT botanical image repository, electron laboratory notebooks, CampusFlora apps.

Cost: Free

When: 1:00pm – 1:30pm, Wednesday 17th April

Where: Fisher Seminar Room (218), level 2

Register online (places limited)

Talk Three: Not an Ordinary Dog: Flush by Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf wrote Flush, a fictional biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel, after having been captivated by the dog’s presence in the love letters of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning. Flush was “not an ordinary dog”, by Woolf’s description, and he is certainly more extraordinary for his persistence in literary imagination.


Image: Woolf, Virginia, 1882-1941., Flush : a biography, London : L. and V. Woolf at the Hogarth Press, 1933., 823.91 W913 J10 5

Join Dr Vanessa Berry, Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Sydney discussing Flush by Virginia Woolf (1933) in our third Rare Bites Talk of the year.

Although Flush was a bestseller for the Hogarth Press at the time of its publication, it has long been considered one of Woolf’s minor works. However, with the rise of animal studies in the humanities there has been an upsurge of interest in Flush.

This presentation will introduce Flush and the genre of the canine memoir and consider the literary potential of the human-canine relationship.

Dr Vanessa Berry is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Sydney, and a writer known for her work with history, memory and archives. Her most recent book Mirror Sydney, which examines the city’s marginal and undercurrents, was published in 2017 and won the Mascara Avant Garde literary award.

Cost: Free

When: 1:00pm – 1:30pm, Wednesday 22nd May

Where: Fisher Seminar Room (218), level 2

Register online (places limited)

_______________________________________

Stay tuned for details of more upcoming Rare Bites talks throughout the year.

Rare Bites: The circle of Willis and his circle of friends

“The circle of Willis and his circle of friends”:Thomas Willis Cerebri anatome cui accessit nervorum description et usus (Amstelodami, apud Gerbrandum Schagen, 1664)

Join us for the second talk in our Rare Bites series: “The circle of Willis and his circle of friends”: Thomas Willis Cerebri anatome cui accessit nervorum description et usus (Amstelodami, apud Gerbrandum Schagen, 1664).

When: 2 May 2018; 1-1.30pm

Where: Fisher Library, Level 2, Seminar Room

Speaker: Associate Professor Catherine Storey, School of Medicine at the University of Sydney

Cate Storey will base her talk on the 17th century text Cerebri anatome, by Thomas Willis. This little book is now just over 350 years old and while it is best known for the exquisite drawing of the arteries at the base of the brain (drawings by Willis’ colleague, Christopher Wren), it is the new concepts of disease and terminologies like “neurology” that makes it so special. The ‘circle’ however, is possibly better known today than when the book was originally published and has a history all of its own.

Speaker:

Catherine Storey is a Clinical Associate Professor in the School of Medicine at the University of Sydney. She was a neurologist at the Royal North Shore Hospital until retirement. She has completed an MSc in the Unit of History and Philosophy of Science, and is a member of the International Society for the History of the Neurosciences. Cate has a passion for the history of neurology and the books that have contributed to this speciality.

Places are limited, register to reserve your seat.