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Peek in the Stacks: rare books

Lend Me Your Ears: Shakespeare in Special Collections

“Lend me your ears” writes William Shakespeare (1564-1616) in his play Julius Caesar. This is just one of many catchy phrases penned by the great writer and playwright. Scholars believe Shakespeare moved to London and began working in the theatre by the latter part of the 1580s, and William Shakespeare’s name began to appear in the record as a playwright by the early 1590s. Special Collections & Archives holds hundreds of titles written by and related to Shakespeare.

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Women's History: 19th Century Gender Roles for Women

The nineteenth century often invokes flowery images of romanticism and heavily-embellished architecture. By today's standards, it can also be seen as an oppressive era for women especially with regards to society, marriage, and the household. The Vern and Bonnie Bullough Collection on Sex and Gender spans many topics including birth control, abortion, homosexuality, cross dressing, sex education, and prostitution, and includes numerous works demonstrating popular public opinion and more subversive, revolutionary ideas about appropriate roles for women during the 19th century...

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The Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment

The Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers (translated to Encyclopedia, or a Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Crafts) is an embodiment of the Enlightenment, the 17th and 18th century European intellectual and philosophical movement. The University Library’s copy of the Encyclopédie is the third edition that was published in Switzerland in 1778 and 1779.

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Emily Dickinson's Herbarium

Readers familiar with the work of Emily Dickinson (United States, 1830-1886) know that flower imagery appears frequently in her poems. Her interest in plants went beyond merely using them as metaphors in her work, however; throughout her life, she was an avid gardener, and her interest in botany was keen enough that....

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Sunstone, Eliot Weinberger’s 1991 translation of Octavio Paz’s Piedra de sol

Octavio Paz (Mexico City, Mexico, 1914-1998) was a poet, essayist, diplomat, and editor. He served in Mexico's diplomatic corps until 1968, when he resigned in protest of the massacre of student protesters by the Mexican Armed Forces in 1968.

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Floriography: The Language of Flowers

A rose is generally accepted in the United States as a symbol of love, but roses aren't the only flowers imbued with cultural meaning. During the Victorian period in Britain and the United States there was a rise in popularity for the codification of culturally-created floral meanings in dictionary form. This "language of flowers" is known as floriography....

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The Boysenberry and The Chicken Dinner

Walter Knott of Knott’s Berry Farm was born in San Bernardino, CA in 1889. He was raised by his widowed mother and elderly grandmother. Special Collections holds an autographed version of Fabulous Farmer, The Story of Walter Knott and His Berry Farm. The book, published in 1956, was authored by reporters Roger Holmes and Paul Bailey.....

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Francesca Lia Block & Irving Block

Francesca Lia Block published three books of poetry prior to her debut novel Weetzi Bat: Moon Harvest, Season of Green: Poems, and IV, Four Poems, when she was 15, 17 and 22, respectively. All three titles were published and printed by the Santa Susana Press, CSUN’s fine press which ran from 1973 to 1994, and are held in Special Collections and Archives.

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What is this place?

As people move around the 2nd floor of the library and pass Special Collections and Archives, they sometimes pop in to ask, "What is this place?" Special Collections and Archives holds the library’s rare book and periodical collections, and a wide variety of manuscript collections and individual items. The next question often starts "So, what is your (pick an adjective) item or book?" Today for our blog, we have set out to answer a few of your most pressing questions...

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