February 21 - April 28, 2001. A Mirror of the World: Monuments of World Literature from the Bibliotheca Bodmeriana. Curated by Dr. Martin Bircher.
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February 21 - April 28, 2001
A Mirror of the World: Monuments of World Literature from the
Bibliotheca Bodmeriana

Curated by Dr. Martin Bircher


For the first -- and only -- time a representative selection of highlights of Martin Bodmer's famous collection of world literature will be shown outside its ancestral home at Cologny, Switzerland. Extraordinary books and manuscripts will be on view: manuscript treasures, such as early handwritten texts of Homer, medieval illuminated books of the Bible, a 15th century Nibelunglied, a copy of the Japanese Tale of Genji illustrated with over 250 miniatures, a manuscript of Grimm's Fairy Tales, an important set of corrected proofs for Proust's Du côté de chez Swann, and a selection of music manuscripts from the hands of Beethoven, Mozart and Scarlatti. Important early and modern printed books will also be on show, including a copy of Newton's Principia Mathematica annotated by Newton's rival, Leibniz, and first printed editions of classics such as Cervates' Don Quixote, Dickens' Oliver Twist, and Goethe's Faust.

Aptly titled A Mirror of the World, this exhibition of the Bibliotheca Bodmeriana has been organized in conjunction with the Department of the President of the City of Zürich and the German Literature Archive in Marbach, and curated by Professor Martin Bircher of the Martin Bodmer Foundation. After appearing in Switzerland and Germany, the exhibition comes to the Grolier Club of New York, the show's only American venue.

At his death in 1971 Martin Bodmer left behind a collection of more than 160,000 books, manuscripts, autographs and art works illustrating 3,000 years of world culture. Fascinated by the origins of culture, and drawing from the finest textual evidence of diverse nations and languages, Bodmer set himself the demanding task of showing history "as it is reflected in the intellectual creations of all times and places." The principal pillars of his library were the Bible, Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, Goethe, and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (represented by one of the oldest manuscripts in the collection). On view will texts of the literature of classical antiquity, and the Old and New Testaments. Uniquely beautiful Medieval French, German and Latin codices will be shown, along with highlights from the Bodmer's collection of Dante, and superb Shakespeare first and early editions.

Among the highlights of A Mirror of the World are those documenting history and its great figures, including a dedication inscription of the Alexandria Library, manuscripts of the Magna Carta and the Sachsenspiegel, and an original of Luther's Theses. Science is represented by Madame Curie's manuscript on radioactivity, Einstein's inaugural lecture on the theory of relativity, and a holograph chapter of Darwin's Origin of Species; while the field of music boasts an array of works by some of the world's greatest composers. From the Orient we find Arabic, Persian, Indian, Chinese and Japanese manuscripts.

The Bodmeriana is perhaps richest in nineteenth- and twentieth-century prose works, including the manuscripts of the Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, Witiko by Adalbert Stifter, and Lotte in Weimar by Thomas Mann, as well as such important autographs as Flaubert, Balzac, Dickens, Conan Doyle, Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky.

Copies of the best-selling illustrated German catalogue of the show will be on sale at the Club, along with a specially-printed English language supplement.


LOCATION AND TIMES: A Mirror of the World will be on view at the Grolier Club, 47 East 60th Street, New York, New York. As always, this exhibition is open to the public without charge, Monday - Saturday, 10 am - 5 pm, 21 February - 28 April, 2001.



The exhibition and its catalogue were made
possible through the generosity of

Isabelle Bodmer Silverman
Mrs. H. P. Kraus
Jeanette and Jonathan Rosen
William and Lynn Silverman
Bank Julius Baer & Co., Ltd., New York

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