Council's choice

Bibliography- or book-related links recommended by members of the Society’s Council

A new series initiated by our President, Margaret Ford.

July 2020

My link is to the London Review of Books blog:

Here Thomas Poole talks about the engraved frontispiece of Thomas Hobbes’s landmark work Leviathan (1651), perhaps one of the most famous images from any English 17th-century printed book.  He points out that Hobbes was closely involved with the engraver Abraham Bosse in the production of this image.  Drawing our attention to the details of the engraving, he observes, unnoticed before, that it depicts a city in lockdown, much as our cities are today, though of course in Hobbes’s period due to plague.  Relating this to Hobbes’s other works, Poole demonstrates that this famous image has much more to tell us about the context and content of this important work than we realised.  It is a fascinating and concise example of how curiosity and attention to the physical detail of a familiar book can open up new levels of understanding about a text and its meaning.  

Mark Byford, member of Council


June 2020

Not only do I myself love looking closely at books and manuscripts, but I love exhibitions that help the public look closely, inevitably finding something of interest in a close examination. The display of the Ripley Scroll was one such display, and this link reproduces it:  It was exhibited as part of the British Library’s Harry Potter: a History of Magic, an exhibition I found fascinating (despite having read only the first book in the Harry Potter series), in part because I knew so many of the books (but not these copies) displayed and also because I encountered and learned about so many others. 

 Margaret Ford, President