See Extraordinary Rare Books in the UVA Rare Book School


Ideas don’t just
fall from the sky. Cultural movements don’t
just happen because somebody has a good idea one day. Human culture is invariably
materially, transmitted or it doesn’t exist at all. Rare Book School at the
University of Virginia is the world’s leading
academy for people to come from all over the
globe to study everything from medieval
manuscripts all the way through to Born
digital materials and digital forensics. We offer about 50
different courses that are taught by
the world’s experts and the knowledge and
generosity of that faculty is the heart of the
classroom experience. One of the great glories
of Rare Book School is its teaching collection,
80,000 items acquired and interpreted expressly
for the hands-on teaching of the history of the book
in all its many forms. There’s no real substitute
for that haptic knowledge for the holding of the
artifact in your hand and subjecting it to the
proper interrogation, the proper investigation. To study the history
of print is to study the record of human
aspiration and achievement, to study the record of
human loss and love. When you have 536 students
come from 20 countries, you are making an
intervention into the future of humanistic inquiry. They leave here with a
sense that they’re not meant to arrogate these
things merely to themselves, but to go transform the bookish
community worldwide by what they’ve been given here.

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