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Rencontres patrimoniales : Reading quill-in-hand

  • Tuesday 7 March
  • 7.30pm, reservation recommended, in French
  • admission free

Book tickets

Since the 19th century, readers have learned not to write on books. The development of the public library system, the practice of passing on school books from one pupil to another, as well as new rules of librarianship gradually eradicated the habit. Reading ‘quill in hand' was, however, customary for readers at the time of the Ancien Régime. While some contented themselves with adding their signature or a few words to the title page, others filled the margins with personal observations called, literally, marginalia. The hundred or so annotated books in the Old Library of the CCI provide a rich illustration of this practice.

Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Aix-Marseille, Emmanuelle Chapron will discuss the wonderful comments and drawings she discovered while on a research fellowship at CCI. Ranging from the erudite or partisan to the poetic or humorous, examples of the marginalia will be on display during the post-lecture visit of the Old Library.

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