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Saint Augustine’s “Confessions” Exhibit

Celebrating Augustinian Heritage Month and coordinating with the marathon reading of the Confessions on Nov. 3, Bente Polites, Special Collections librarian, has mounted a small exhibit, “Rare Editions of Saint Augustine’s Confessions from Special Collections.” The exhibit, which will remain on view until November 8, is housed in two cases on the first floor of Falvey.

Two very special books will be on display only on Wednesday, the day of the Confessions marathon reading. One was published in 1482. The other work, a manuscript of the Confessions, written in Florence, c.1456-1480, was the 500,000th volume added to Falvey’s collections.

In the left case are five books, four from the 1500s and one from 1646; the four small volumes are open to their illustrated title pages.

In the center is a large book, printed in Dillingen, Germany, in 1569 and open to display its text. Be sure to examine carefully the large capital Q at the beginning of the left page; it contains a tiny scene with a man on horseback in a landscape. This type of inhabited letter derives from the time when manuscripts were handwritten.

In the right case are an additional six books, all but one open to a title page or an illustration. The open books are all from the seventeenth century.

In the top center is the only closed book and the only one created after the 1600s. This volume is a limited edition of 400 copies published in London in 1900. Of particular interest here is the binding made by Cedric Chivers; it is vellum (calf skin) with applied gold and mother of pearl inlays.

Visit the online Confessions exhibit as well.

By Alice Bampton

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  1. […] Collections librarian, is on display on Falvey’s second floor. This exhibit evolved from the small display Bente created to celebrate both Augustinian Heritage Month and the marathon reading of Saint […]

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Last Modified: November 2, 2010