A unique Dante incunable?

14 September 2021 marks the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante. The Wren Library houses a substantial collection of early editions of the Dante, combining many of the standard editions from all periods with some particular rarities. Some of these books have been in the ownership of the College for many centuries – indeed, …

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Porcupines and Postage Stamps

Having recently blogged about the Grylls’ Collection, imagine our delight a few weeks ago when we uncovered one of the porcupine emblems from the top of the Grylls’ crest which originally adorned the bookcases specially-designed for his books. For reasons of space, these bookcases were decommissioned in the 1960s. The porcupine emblem led to some …

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Italian Books in the Crewe Collection

The Crewe Collection comprises books in several different languages. The works in Italian, amounting to just 121 volumes, represent a tiny fraction of the total, but are nevertheless of great interest, and provide a reliable insight in the collecting habits of Richard Monckton Milnes (1809-1885). Although several books bear the bookplate of Richard’s son, Robert …

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Pierre Belon’s Book of Fish

This small printed book  - La nature & diuersité des poissons, avec leurs pourtraicts, representez au plus pres du naturel  -  bound in white vellum arrived at Trinity Library as part of the Crewe Collection in 2016.  It is full of illustrations of fish and animals of the sea including some fantastical creatures.  Printed in …

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Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass

One of the most important items held in the Crewe Collection in Trinity College Library is a first edition of Leaves of Grass, a collection of poetry by the American writer Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Whitman’s poems are a celebration of his philosophy of life and his love of nature, rich in both sexual and sensual …

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The Life and Adventures of Peter Wilkins, a Cornish Man

A previous blog celebrated the 300 year anniversary of the publication of Robinson Crusoe in 1719. From the outset, the popularity of Defoe's novel gave rise to a whole genre of new work known as 'Robinsonade'. This literature employed quintessential elements from Robinson Crusoe such as shipwrecked sailors, pragmatic realists and saved pilgrims. The first …

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Christopher Columbus and the Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books

A new book by Edward Wilson-Lee, Fellow of our neighbouring Sidney Sussex College and a regular reader in the Wren Library, tells the scarcely believable – and wholly true – story of Christopher Columbus’s bastard son Hernando, who sought to equal and surpass his father’s achievements by creating a universal library. Here we take a …

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