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Rare books - previous exhibitions

We regularly showcase exhibitions in the cabinet located near the lifts on floor 1. You can see our previous exhibitions and online details below.

Summer reads

Not sure what books to dip into this summer?

Our Library team have put together some of their favourite summer (and all season) reads just for you! Whether you are looking for a challenge or just want to revisit and old favourite, there is something here for everyone.

France, the Jews and everyday life in the Second World War: from victimhood to agency

See our fantastic new exhibition curated by staff and students from the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, in the floor 1 display case.

An introduction to Ergodic literature

See our fantastic new exhibition on Ergodic literature (literature that makes you work!), curated by MA student Izy Cowling, in the floor 1 display case.

Visual of ergodic literature - a maze book

By Espen Aarseth’s terms, a ‘non-ergodic’ piece of literature refers to any text where navigating is trivial and requires no more than moving your eyes and turning the pages.

Derived from the ancient Greek ‘ergon’ (work) and ‘hodos’ (path), Aarseth’s notion of ‘ergodic literature’ then, includes any text that requires extra effort to navigate the text.

This display exhibits texts that are experimental or unusual in their form, and so subvert the usual conventions of reading, or the expectations placed upon a reader. Some require the reader to rotate the book, use a mirror or a decoding wheel. Others have digital elements that require the reader to go online, or find clues within the collaged pages of an old Victorian novel.

We will remember them

Photo of World War 1: a number examining a patient, Indian soldiers wearing gas masks

To mark the centenary of the Armistice the Library has assembled a collection of literature, films, photographs and scholarship from the commencement of the First World War in 1914 to the present day.

The centenary has provided numerous opportunities to re-explore the realities of a war that has become embedded in our cultural memory and understanding of conflict. It has offered the occasion to recover stories which have started to fade or remained untold. This display contributes to this retelling and reflects upon the ways the First World War has been and continues to be remembered, retold and rediscovered.

This exhibition also commemorates the individuals from the thirty two countries involved. It pays tribute to those who made sacrifices of their time, families and lives to fight, support and, in some instances, resist the war. The sources included therefore, are as diverse as the individuals involved. Rather than telling their stories for them, this display hopes to encourage viewers to explore the multitude of voices, opinions and responses to the ’Great War’ beyond its centenary years.

Images: © IWM (Q 27817) , © IWM (Q 56644) , © IWM (Q 33687) (Under IWM Non-commercial licence). ‘First World War Official Photographs—South Africa, National Library of Scotland, (accessed 5 November 2018), CC-BY-NC-SA.

Looking back at Black History in Britain

A sample from the collections

Newspapers stored in files

2018 has been a year of anniversaries, no less for British Black history. It is the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush, the 60th of the Notting Hill race riots and 50th of Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech and the 1968 Race Relations Act.

This display is both a reflection and celebration of British Black history across these tumultuous years.

For Black History Month, the Library has selected material from the Ethnicity and Migration collection and the MRC’s Minority Art’s holdings.

This exhibit celebrates the Black communities and activists who rose up to provide support, refuge and carnival in the face of systematic racial injustice and persecution.

It simultaneously highlights, through contemporary journals, reports and images the discrimination, hostility and violence which fuelled Black resistance and determination for equality throughout the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

The Ethnicity and Migration collections can be found on Floor 5 of the Library.

1968: 50 Years On

1968 poster

2018 marks the fiftieth anniversary of events, which made 1968 an unforgettable year. Through the use of journalistic documents and art, this curated project aims to illustrate the extent of protest and social movement of that year by focusing on the international scale of unrest.

This exhibit includes news reports and photography from France, Italy, the USA, Japan and Eastern Europe, highlighting both the violent and political atmosphere, developing across the world during the course of this tumultuous year.

Artistic works are also presented in order to showcase how these movements inspired creative citizens to depict the 'revolutionary' period in innovate ways.

Along with the exhibition, Warwick commemorates this important anniversary with a conference taking place on May 19, which re-examines the legacy of 1968 and seeks to tell the stories of lesser known participants and activists.

Exhibition curated by Rebecca Infield and Mary Jane Dempsey, with help from Liz Wood (MRC) and Kate Courage and Lynn Wright (Library).

Inscriptions: Image | Text | Sound

A photo of a notebook

20 April - 2 May 2018

Peter Larkin
Howard Skempton
Simon Lewty

Poet Peter Larkin, composer Howard Skempton and visual artist Simon Lewty, all born in the 1940s, have lived and worked in the vicinity of the University of Warwick for decades. Although a web of correspondences links their compositions across different media, and although Larkin and Lewty have collaborated extensively in the past, no occasion so far has brought their work into common dialogue. This exhibit includes samples of Larkin’s poetry, Skempton’s music manuscripts and Lewty’s notebooks and graphic work as a means of highlighting the resonances and connections arising from a shared commitment to exploring the fundamentals of artistic process and expression. To acknowledge the auditory as well as visual dimension of these connections, the exhibit also features access to recordings of work by all three artists.

“Inscriptions: Image | Text | Sound” accompanies the symposium on the work of Peter Larkin taking place on April 26th at the University of Warwick.

Email View the collection online

Early printed books

A photo of the book 'paradise lost' illustrations

This exhibition gives a flavour of early printing in Italy and England, from 1500-1699, as publishing shifted from scribe to printer, from parchment to paper, large books to small books, from few to many and from Latin to vernacular.

Italy led the way, with Italian books being exported all over Europe by the 16th century. Early printing in England, after the reformation, mostly produced Bibles and the new Book of Common Prayer. This expanded rapidly in the late 17th century to cover a range of topics, with elaborate illustrations and in a variety of formats. These aimed to attract both popular readers and land owners keen to build up their private libraries.

The exhibition shows a sample of the Library's small but fascinating special collection of early printed books, bought in the 1960s, from the private libraries of Edmund Hutton and Roberto Weiss.

Email View the collection online