Published: March 6, 2001
Grolier Club Exhibits Literature from the Bibliotheca Bodmeriana
NEW YORK CITY – For the first-and-only time, a representative selection of highlights of Martin Bodmer’s famous collection of world literature will be shown outside its ancestral home at Cologny, Switzerland.
Aptly titled “,” this exhibition of the Bibliotheca Bodmeriana has been organized in conjunction with the Department of the President of the City of Zürich and the German Literature Archive in Marbach, and curated by Professor Martin Bircher of the Martin Bodmer Foundation. After appearing in Switzerland and Germany, the exhibition comes to the Grolier Club of New York, the show’s only American venue.
At his death in 1971 Martin Bodmer left behind a collection of more than 160,000 books, manuscripts, autographs and art works illustrating 3,000 years of world culture. Fascinated by the origins of culture, and drawing from the finest textural evidence of diverse nations and languages, Bodmer set himself the demanding task of showing history “as it is reflected in the intellectual creations of all times and places.”
The principal pillars of his library were the Bible, Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, Goethe, and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (represented by one of the oldest manuscripts in the collection). On view will be texts of the literature of classical antiquity, and the Old and New Testaments. Uniquely beautiful Medieval French, German Latin codices will be shown, along with highlights from the Bodmer’s collection of Dante, and superb Shakespeare first and early editions.
Among the highlights of “” are those documenting history and its great figures, including a dedication of the Alexandria Library, manuscripts of the Magna Carta and the Sachsenspeigel, and an original of Luther’s Theses.
Science is represented by Madame Curie’s manuscript on radioactivity, Einstein’s inaugural lecture on the theory of relativity, and a rare holograph leaf of Darwin’s Descent of Man; while the field of music boasts an array of works by some of the world’s greatest composers. From the Orient we find Arabic, Persian, Indian, Chinese and Japanese manuscripts.
The Bodmeriana is perhaps richest in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century prose works, including the manuscripts of the Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, Wittiko by Adalbert Srifter, and Lotte in Weimar by Thomas Mann, as well as such important autograph manuscripts as Flaubert, Balzac, Dickens, Conan Doyle, Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky.
A three-volume catalogue (two illustrated volumes in German plus a specially-printed English supplement) will be available, and may be ordered through The Veatchs Arts of the Book, P O Box 328, Northampton, Mass, 01061; Telephone 413/584-1867.
The Grolier Club is at 47 East 60th Street. Hours are Monday to Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm, through April 28. Telephone, 212/838-6690.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm