Special Collections at the University Libraries maintains collections of rare books and unique archival materials that make possible in-depth research on selected topics. The scope and diversity of Special Collections make it an important resource for the international academic community. Established in 1958 to house materials on Arizona, the Southwest and the U.S./Mexico Borderlands, Special Collections now includes rare books, manuscript collections, photographs and other materials in a wide variety of subject areas.
Special Collections at the University of Arizona is hosting several events to showcase the expansive expertise of UA faculty members in the medieval studies discipline.
The annual "Early Books Lecture VIII" will be held in February, featuring talks with specialists of medieval poetry, religion and music, among other areas.
The UA Libraries' Special Collection will host faculty members in the University's German studies, English and history departments who will provide insights into 13th, 16th and 17th century historic texts.
Each event will be held at Special Collections, which is located in the Main Library, 1510 University Blvd.
The first lecture, to be held 6:30-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 8, will be presented by Albrecht Classen, a UA Distinguished Professor of German Studies.
The apogee of medieval German courtly poetry was reached around 1200, representing an astounding level of poetic maturity, sophistication and rhetorical skills.
But soon thereafter, conditions changed. Also, the value system transformed or got lost and traditional ideals were no longer maintained in the same way.
By the early 14th century, a group of wealthy Zurich patrons realized the corpus of German courtly love poetry was in danger of being lost and so dedicated time and funding to copying the songs.
The most important manuscript, the Manesse manuscript, contains a huge treasure of the most valuable Middle High German love poetry, accompanied by stunning imaginary illustrations of the poets. A disproportionately large number of modern studies on the Middle Ages has drawn from this manuscript, and it is one of the most important national treasures of Germany today.
In his talk, "The Manessische Liederhandschrift – The Glory of Thirteenth-Century Book Illustrations in Southern Germany," Classen will introduce and discuss the invaluable facsimile of this manuscript kept in Special Collections and offer the relevant social-historical context.
On Tuesday, Feb. 15, Thomas Willard, an associate professor of English, will present his talk, "The Thrice Great Hermes: The First English Translation of Writings Attributed to an Egyptian God (1657)."
During the 6:30-8 p.m. talk, Willard will explore writings attributed to "the Egyptian Hermes" that were brought to Europe during the Italian Renaissance and were gradually translated into all the major languages.
The first English translation promoted the already contested view that they were older than the five books of Moses and showed similarities between Christianity and the religion of ancient Egypt.
The last talk will be held Tuesday, Feb. 22, from 4-5:30 p.m. Paul Milliman, an assistant professor of history, will present his talk, "The Golf Book: Playing and Praying in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe."
During his talk, Milliman will analyze the "Golf Book," a 16th century book depicting games and pastimes, while also discussing the early history of some of these activities – hunting, jousting and of course golf, to name a few – and examine why illustrations of these activities figure so prominently in a prayer book.