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A Rare Opportunity to View Saint Augustine’s Early Print Editions

by Alice Bampton

The invention of the printing press made the works of Saint Augustine more widely available to early modern readers, and he became a bestselling author, as evidenced by the numerous editions of his works published during the 16th through 17th centuries.

“The Printed Saint Augustine: Early Editions in Special Collections,” a major exhibit on display in Falvey Memorial Library until May 30th, features numerous early editions of Augustine’s works, augmented by fascinating commentary.

On display is the first English translation of City of God, published in 1610. Was this edition commissioned to convince investors that English expansion in colonial Virginia was an opportunity to promote Christianity in the New World, as an Augustine scholar suggests?

Also featured is a 1555 critical edition by Erasmus, a reprint of the Complete Works edited by the famous humanist in 1528. Erasmus based his edition on Amerbach’s but included the three works omitted from that 1506 version. “Besides correcting errors in the previous edition, Erasmus added his own observations,” according to the exhibit’s explanatory text in the case “Early Complete Works.”

“The Printed Saint Augustine,” curated by Bente Polites, Special 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 Augustine’s Confessions in November, 2010.

Bente explains that while Special Collections had a collection of early works by Saint Augustine, she has made “an effort to acquire 15th and 16th century editions of Saint Augustine’s  Confessions.” Special Collections owns approximately one thousand volumes by Saint Augustine and also collects works by other Augustinians for the Augustiniana collection.

This exhibit focuses on early editions, from the 15th through 17th centuries, of Saint Augustine’s works, although one case, “Early English Translations,” features works from the 19th century.

Of interest to art lovers is the open volume, Principalium Sententiarum in Explanationem Libri Psalmorum, printed in Paris, 1529, which has a placard stating the “Border of the title page [is] attributed to Hans Holbein the younger.” Holbein the Younger (1497/98 – 1543) was an important Northern Renaissance painter and draftsman. This book is in case 11, located adjacent to the Special Collections department. (more…)


Protest and Social Media Around the World: How Can I Get More Information?

By Merrill Stein and Kristyna Carroll

Recently many patrons have been seeking information about places, political leaders and events in the Middle East and Northern Africa, described as “history in the making.”

Here are some substantive sources:

BBC News, specifically their special reports and country profile pages, provides current information. For another point of view, try Al Jazeera, notably their in depth reports and programsCNN and Reuters also provide late breaking news. Follow these in news feeds, podcasts and Twitter.

You may also want to check out the Dubai School of Government, Arab Social Media Report.

Obtain more news from library subscription services such as ProQuest Newspapers, Lexis Nexis Academic, and Academic OneFile: these are updated daily. For more scholarly discussion, use Worldwide Political Science Abstracts.  Try CQ Global Researcher for the latest Sub-Saharan Democracy report.

Take a multidisciplinary approach and use resources from several library subject guides or course & topic guides available under History, Geography or Political Science.

Using resources listed under Databases A – Z on the library home page, you can discover additional background information, further reading and other resources in Oxford Islamic Studies Online.

CIAO – Columbia International Affairs Online provides working papers, policy briefs, case studies and other information like The Tunisian Revolution: An Opportunity for Democratic Transition and  Juan Cole’s Informed Comment section . (more…)


How to Capture Someone’s Attention, with Charles L. Folk, Ph.D.

The Outstanding Faculty Research Award for 2010 has been given to Charles L. Folk, Ph.D., a professor of psychology and the director of the Villanova University Cognitive Science Program. Dr. Folk will speak about his research in the Falvey Memorial Library first floor lounge on Wednesday, Mar. 9, at 3:00 p.m.

“When we decide to pay attention to something in the environment,” Dr. Folk explains, “we are allocating limited cognitive resources to the processing of that object or event. Certain kinds of events, however, seem to have the ability to ‘capture’ attention, such that we involuntarily allocate attention to them.”

Dr. Folk’s talk will summarize the research on attentional capture and the implications of this phenomenon for real-world circumstances such as driving. He has also co-edited a book on research in this area, Attraction, Distraction and Action: Multiple Perspectives on Attentional Capture.


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Last Modified: March 1, 2011