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Archive for February, 2012

Authorized Versions: Perspectives on the King James Bible

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

March 27, 5:00 pm, Marsh Lounge, Billings Center

The year 2011 marked the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible, the English translation that became the standard Protestant version of the Christian scriptures.  Researched, translated, and interpreted by teams of scholars at the direction of Great Britain’s King James I, the King James Bible has been the basis of Protestant biblical interpretations ever since.

How did this monumental work of literature and theology come to be?  Three UVM faculty members will offer theological, historical, and literary perspectives on the coming of the King James Bible and its place in the early modern world.

  • Anne Clark (Religion): Before the King James: Medieval Bibles and Their Users
  • Charles F. Briggs (History): The Problematic Publishing Background of the Bible in English, from Wyclif through the Mid-Sixteenth Century
  •  Andrew Barnaby (English): Shakespeare’s ‘Measure for Measure’ and the King James Bible

This panel discussion is one of a series of events cosponsored by the Friends of Special Collections and the Durick Library, St. Michael’s College, in coordination with a traveling exhibit on the King James Bible, Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible. The exhibit, organized by the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C., and the American Library Association Public Programs Office,  was made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Manifold Greatness will be on display at the Durick Library between April 11 and May 11, 2012.

The event is open to the public. For more information, call 656-2138 or email uvmsc@uvm.edu

What is Your Guilty Pleasure Book?

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Coco’s Pick: The Hunger Games

Everyone, at some point, has heard of recent bestseller The Hunger Games. If, for some reason, you haven’t—here’s your chance. Often compared to Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series, The Hunger Games follows suit as a bildungsroman whose protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, battles her way through adolescence while accompanied by two strapping young men: Gale and Peeta. Like Twilight, the two men vie for the protagonist’s attention throughout the book series, creating a constant source of entertainment for those romantics out there. Yet, unlike Bella from the Twilight series, Katniss does not fall into the role of victim and instead, becomes a source of strength for her family as well as the community.

As the title suggests, the novel revolves around a game: a fight to the death that involves the twelve districts that make up the post-apocalyptic society of Panem. Each district chooses one girl and one boy from their area to compete against the other districts in the games. Much like Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery,” ‘winning’ the spot to represent your district is not coveted. Instead, your role lands you in the twisted game that is broadcast in a fashion similar to the Olympics: constant footage of the games on giant screens fractured by a glossed over narrative of each contestant to engage the audience’s heartstrings. One can’t help but wonder if Suzanne Collins parked herself in front of a plasma screen, TV dinner  and notebook on tray, and watched the Olympics hoping that someone would whip out a bow and arrow next to the Super-G racers and go to town (seriously, though, it’s totally a possibility).

So far I’ve established that the plot is a bit out there—kids killing each other for the entertainment of the men who run the Capitol. The thing is that while the plot seems overwrought and kitschy, Collins is somehow able to engage in the traditionally stilted thematic suspense of elevating each decision the protagonist makes to a life-or-death consequence, as we see in most all series for teens these days, but she does so in a way that works. You won’t cringe as you watch Katniss choose her fate, because honestly, you’d probably do the same thing. Because, get this, Collins’ characters are believable. Look at Haymitch: Katniss’ perpetually drunk coach with clutch one-liners and a shaky hand or Peeta: the baker’s son who, over the course of the trilogy, you see collapse and rebuild in a way you haven’t seen in a novel before. It’s the fullness of the characters where Collins gets you because, like it or not, she will make you care about them.

Ultimately, The Hunger Games is a teen novel with some narrative patterns you have seen before. But unlike other popular teen novels the characters develop in a manner that forces you to keep reading because you’ll feel the need to know how they all end up. My suggestion to you is this: check out the first book in the series—I guarantee you won’t be disappointed and the time you spend reading will serve as a wonderful distraction from midterms. And, hey, you will also have it read in time to catch the film adaptation coming out at the end of March!



The Hunger Games Book Cover

Special Collections Open House–February 28

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
Special Collections Reading Room 1963

Special Collections Reading Room, 1963


Special Collections turns 50 this year!

Join the celebration at an open house on February 28 from 4-6 pm in the Special Collections reading room. A reception with refreshments begins at 4:00. At 4:30, four Special Collections librarians will give fast-paced Pecha Kucha presentations about our University Archives, Vermontiana, and Rare Books collections.  A variety of items from the collections will also be on display.

In the spring of 1962, librarians in UVM’s new Guy W. Bailey Library unveiled the new Special Collections Department, under the direction of its first head librarian, John L. Buechler.  Special Collections brought together Vermont research materials, formerly housed in the Fleming Museum’s Wilbur Room, and rare book collections, formerly housed in the Billings Library.  For the first time, these materials—and the specialized attention they required—were combined in one department with a special educational and research mission.

Five decades have brought tremendous growth in the Department’s collections and services.  Gifts, purchases, and transfers from the general library collection have more than doubled the Rare Book collection, while historical manuscript materials expanded from a few hundred linear shelf-feet in 1962 to more than 9,000 in 2012.  Special Collections has become a vital teaching resource in a variety of disciplines, and the leading library for Vermont research.  Librarians in Special Collections are dedicated to serving the University community as well as users around Vermont and the world.

The event is open to the public. For more information, call 656-2138 or email uvmsc@uvm.edu

First Look: Provocative New Books

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

These works can be found on our New Book shelf in Bailey/Howe, an ever-rotating sampling of things we’re adding to our collection. You can also review all our newest books online, and subscribe via RSS to receive alerts about acquisitions, by discipline.


Gossip: The Untrivial Pursuit by Joseph Epstein
A dishy, incisive exploration of gossip—from celebrity rumors to literary romans à clef, from personal sniping to political slander. Contemporary gossip claims to reveal truth, but as Epstein shows, it’s our belief in truth itself that may be destroyed by gossip.


Fug You: An Informal History of the Peace Eye Bookstore, the Fuck You Press, the Fugs, and Counterculture in the Lower East Side by Ed Sanders
Fug You traces the flowering years of New York’s downtown bohemia in the sixties, starting with the marketing problems presented by publishing Fuck You/A Magazine of the Arts, as it faced the aboveground’s scrutiny, and leading to Sanders’s arrest after a raid on his Peace Eye Bookstore. The memoir also traces the career of the Fugs–formed in 1964 by Sanders and his neighbor, the legendary Tuli Kupferberg (called “the world’s oldest living hippie” by Allen Ginsberg)–as Sanders strives to find a home for this famous postmodern, innovative anarcho-folk-rock band in the world of record labels.


Censorship and Sexuality in Bombay Cinema by Monika Mehta

Monika Mehta breaks new ground by analyzing Hindi films and exploring the censorship of gender and heterosexuality in Bombay cinema. The standard claim is that the state dictates censorship and various prohibitions, but Mehta explores how relationships among the state, the film industry, and the public illuminate censorship’s role in identity formation, while also examining how desire, profits, and corruption are generated through the act of censoring.