Johns Hopkins Gazette: September 5, 1995

On Exhibits: Rare book collection on display
Cervantes, "Don Quixote," Exhibit Opens At Peabody

      In 1967, Harry Sieber, a newly arrived assistant professor
of Renaissance and baroque Spanish literature, was surprised to
discover that tucked away in the George Peabody Library is one of
the East Coast s best collections of books by Miguel de
Cervantes, author of the 1605 masterpiece "El ingenioso hidalgo
don Quixote de la Mancha." The work, widely regarded as the first
modern novel, is perhaps better known as the musical "The Man of
La Mancha."
     News of the book s popularity in Spain created a demand for
translations throughout Europe with the first English translation
completed in 1612.

     Sieber, now professor in the Department of Hispanic and
Italian Studies, and librarian Robert Bartram, supervisor of
Peabody Library, often talked about bringing to the public the
collection of "Quixote" texts and their English translations. It
just never seemed to work out, Sieber says. Last year, when
Sieber taught a seminar on 17th-century Spanish literature, he
decided to hold classes at the Peabody Library to take advantage
of the collection. That got the books rolling toward the
exhibition "El ingenioso hidalgo don Quixote de la Mancha: Early
Editions and Translations," which opened last month and will
continue through the end of December at the George Peabody
      The exhibit consists of translations and editions donated
by, among others, noted Baltimore lawyer Severn Teakle Wallis,
who started the Peabody Spanish book collection with a gift of
one of the earliest Spanish editions of the "Don Quixote"
published in Brussels in 1616-17. Also on display are 18th- and
19th-century Spanish editions of the book, many of the English
translations and a selection of rare editions of novels and plays
influenced by Don Quixote.
     "My goal for the exhibit was not just to show off this
Peabody collection, but to tie it into ongoing scholarship and
research," says Sieber, who--along with Bartram--served as the
exhibit s curator. "In the back of my mind I was thinking of the
Peabody collection as a resource the faculty and students can use
across a wide range of disciplines."
     To coincide with the exhibit, Sieber has invited University
of Edinburgh's Edward Riley, one of the world's leading
authorities on Cervantes, to conduct a graduate seminar this fall
as part of the Associates Scholars Program sponsored by the
Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies. And Sieber included
in the exhibit a display of engravings drawn for various
editions, including two by William Hogarth.
      "I asked Ron Paulson [professor of English and art history]
to work with me on this section because he's the leading expert
on Hogarth," Sieber says. "That's one way this exhibit works to
bring together scholarship from other academic departments."

      Paulson will give a lecture entitled "Don Quixote in
England" at 5:30 p.m. on September 14 at the library.
     The library is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Admission is free.

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