BPL Trip – Alyssa Hayes

At first I was not as excited about taking a trip to the Boston Public Library. In my mind I did not see the huge deal behind the trip; I live about ten miles from the city and had been to the library countless times. However, once we made the trip into the city and up into the Rare Books room my mind was changed completely. It was definitely a one of a kind experience, one that I was not expecting at all.
It was really interesting seeing books that were so old and worn but yet still so in tact. I think in a sense, studying and examining one book in detail made me really feel like I connected with the book and also with the author which was a new feeling to me. I mean I have felt connected and interested in books before, as everyone has, but this was definitely a new and exciting thing. Knowing that some of the books were even the authors own copies was just mind blowing. I think it really helped me become more interested and appreciative of old literature and its connection into our modern world today.
Personally, I examined Marlowe’s Tamburlaine the Greate. The interesting thing about this quarto was that the printer decided not to give credit to Marlowe; instead he almost seemed to take credit for the work himself. To me, this was so amazing to see, it was like seeing a huge part of history first hand. In that time period, issues came up of printers and editors copyrighting work that was not their own. When this play was printed Marlowe had already passed so if the printer did in fact take credit for his work, really there would be nothing that anyone could do to prove him wrong. That play was one that really showed the issues in that era of printing and printers stealing the works of authors.
Also, I noticed some written marginalia in a lot of the books, and that was really cool to see. The little notes could have been written in by the author, editor, printer, or even just a common reader for personal enjoyment. They could have been written in while at their time in the BPL or hundreds of years ago. But still, not knowing who or when the notes were written in gave the books a mysterious under tone.
Overall, I really enjoyed the trip to the BPL, I thought it was a great time and really educating. It definitely increased my interest in what we are doing in the class and the books we are examining. I also think it really helped me understand how books were first printed and how much work actually went into the printing process. Now a days I think we really take this process for granted and do not understand how much it actually took to print a book way back when. The trip really gave me an appreciation for this process and even for the class as a whole.

 

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