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Bear with bees Harley 3448

‘Ill scratches the bear’, an endangered proverbial species

To coincide with the British Library's exhibition Paddington: The Story of a Bear, we've put together a series of blog posts about a few other bears (fictional and real) from the collections. Eleanor O’Kane in her collection of medieval Sp

Cosens Bookplate

Frederick Cosens, a forgotten Hispanist

Frederick William Cosens (1819-89) began his working life aged 17 when he joined the sherry firm of Pinto Pérez in London as an invoice clerk. It was the start of a highly successful business career. In 1848, he set up his own sherry export

Cebes

Text into image: Quevedo and the Table of Cebes

The Greeks had two words for us: ekphrasis (the verbal description of a work of art) and topothesia (the description of an imagined place). As topothesia is the less common, look it up in your copy of Erasmus De copia: Quae si verae sint,

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One that got away. Daniel Urrabieta Vierge’s illustrations of Don Quixote (1906)

Curating an exhibition inevitably involves a process of selection or, better maybe, de-selection. Items are chosen to support a coherent narrative, but practical considerations inevitably supervene. The copy of a particular book may be in p

ShakespeareMarxBenedix

The 'Shakespearomania' of Karl Marx

Karl Marx’s magnum opus Das Kapital (Hamburg, 1872; C.120.b.1.) may have a reputation as an exceedingly dry and difficult book (causing William Morris to suffer acute ‘agonies of confusion of the brain’ in his reading of the great critique

SheltonOpening

The challenge of translating Cervantes’s Don Quixote

‘Every great book demands to be translated once a century, to suit the change in standards and taste of new generations, which differ radically from those of the past’. So wrote the translator and biographer, J. M. Cohen, whose 1950 Penguin

Meseguer4

Don Quixote as Napoleon: propaganda in Spain’s war of independence, II: the print.

The Mexico edition of Francisco Meseguer, El Don Quixote de ahora con el Sancho Panza de antaño, was published in 1809, after the Córdoba edition of the same year. It includes a the coloured fold-out cartoon apparently not present in the Sp

Don Quixote Cerv.336

Imagining Don Quixote

‘Imagining Don Quixote’, a free exhibition focusing on how Cervantes’ novel has been illustrated over time, opened in the British Library’s Treasures Gallery on 19 January and runs until 22 May. It explores how different approaches to illus

Etcheberri1

Basque Books in the British Library

The first book in the Basque language was printed in Bordeaux as late as 1545. It is a collection of poems by the vicar of St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port, Bernat Etxepare, entitled Linguae Vasconum Primitiae (‘First fruits of the Basque language’).

Will Gompertz Don Quixote

The Cervantes Corpus

The jury is out about the question whether the remains exhumed in Madrid are those of Miguel de Cervantes, creator of Don Quixote (pronounced ‘QUICK sot’ in English).The BBC’s Will Gompertz (picture below from BBC i-Player) came to the Brit