Session on L’Encyclopédie

This week’s Fourth Hour involved heading back to the Rare Book Collection and Archive Room at Weldon Library.

We entered the room to find a dozen or more old books with fancy bindings and fragile papers laid out on the tables. I was amazed at how well preserved these hundred year old books are even though they are very delicate. In particular, we got a chance to look at the French Encyclopedie. There are over 30 large hand bound books in this collection containing hand placed typeset text and original engravings. I have done printmaking myself, and to see that each print is unique is a wonder to behold (especially for a print-junky like myself). You could see the impression that each plate made into the paper, so I knew immediately that they were original prints. I plan to go back to the collection and spend a while admiring the craftsmanship that we do not see in today’s books. I hope to have my own collection of rare books someday.

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