Quoth the Raven: “Cool Books!”
Once upon a midnight dreary, while you ponder weak and weary, over many a quaint and curious volume of chemistry formulas, or history references, or Shakespeare annotations … you might want to change pace for a bit and check out what else Miller Library has tucked away.
Just in time for Halloween, the library’s public services team has pulled together books of spooky stuff, including a copy of Psycho signed by actress Janet Leigh (she of the famous knife-wielding shower scene), a book of Francisco Goya’s darker murals, an illustrated edition of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and colorfully illustrated early editions of Frank Baum’s series surrounding The Wizard of Oz.
Most striking in this display, though, is the oversize 1884 edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, illustrated by Louis August Gustav Doré, the French artist whose iconic illustrations include Cervantes’s Don Quixote, Milton’s Paradise Lost, Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and Tennyson’s The Idylls of the King. The cover, limned in gold, shows a dark and brooding angel, while the engravings that accompany the poem’s most significant passages play shadow against shadow, dark against light, life against death.
It’s not the kind of book you might go looking for at the library, which most students and staff associate with research materials. But Amanda Kramer, the library’s director of access services, says these are just a few of the remarkable volumes that reside in the library’s special collections. The team is constantly changing the foyer display to complement or highlight any number of themes, and it’s a great way to entice people to learn more about the collection.
“We have a beautiful building, and we have amazing materials to go along with it,” she says. “We’re working to showcase what’s in here, what people don’t usually see.”