5 episodes

The Huntington Library’s collection includes printed books from the 15th century to the present. Among its treasures are a copy of Johann Gutenberg’s Bible and the first folio edition of William Shakespeare’s collected plays, published in 1623. In lectures and interviews curators and visiting scholars discuss topics such as book collecting, printing, and the formation of great libraries.

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The Huntington Library’s collection includes printed books from the 15th century to the present. Among its treasures are a copy of Johann Gutenberg’s Bible and the first folio edition of William Shakespeare’s collected plays, published in 1623. In lectures and interviews curators and visiting scholars discuss topics such as book collecting, printing, and the formation of great libraries.

    Precarious: From Manuscript to Print in Early America (Zamorano Lecture)

    Precarious: From Manuscript to Print in Early America (Zamorano Lecture)

    David Hall discusses the challenges of writing and publishing in colonial America, when authors sent documents to England for publication, only to see them altered dramatically by far-away editors and printers. Hall is professor of New England church history at the Harvard Divinity School. He delivered the annual Zamorano Lecture, an event sponsored by the Zamorano Club, Southern California’s oldest organization of bibliophiles and manuscript collectors.

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Sam and Jamie: ‘No Theory Please, We’re British’

    Sam and Jamie: ‘No Theory Please, We’re British’

    The famous relationship between lexicographer Samuel Johnson and his friend and biographer, James Boswell, is discussed in a lecture by Paul Ruxin. A noted expert on this literary pair, Ruxin is the owner of one of the largest collections of Johnson and Boswell materials in private hands.

    • 47 min
    Johnson Agonistes: Portraying Samuel Johnson

    Johnson Agonistes: Portraying Samuel Johnson

    By the time James Boswell published his monumental biography of his friend Samuel Johnson in 1791, the latter’s life had been more fully documented than virtually any other figure in Western history. But Johnson, the famed lexicographer and man of letters, was also the subject of various forms of visual documentation. Richard Wendorf , Stanford Calderwood Director and Librarian of the Boston Athenaeum, surveys all of the known portrayals of Johnson, including the famous portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds now at The Huntington.

    • 53 min
    Samuel Johnson and His Famous Dictionary

    Samuel Johnson and His Famous Dictionary

    Loren Rothschild, a noted collector of the works of Samuel Johnson, talks about the life and work of the great 18th-century man of letters who compiled the first comprehensive dictionary of the English language.

    • 53 min
    What is a Book? (Zamorano Lecture)

    What is a Book? (Zamorano Lecture)

    How significant are books for the circulation of written texts?  The question has become more urgent in the age of digital media, and yet historically books have often been rivaled by other textual forms. Peter Stallybrass, Annenberg Professor in the Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania, explores how marginal the book has been for some of our most famous writers, including Dante, Shakespeare, and Benjamin Franklin. 

    • 35 min

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