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Peek in the Stacks: rare books

The Castle of Otranto

During the Spring 2023 semester, Special Collections & Archives collaborated with Dr. Colleen Tripp's English 630, "Modern Monsters: Then & Now." Students in the class selected items from our collections of pulps, comics, and horror stories, then authored a series of blog posts in which they examined visual and other representations of the monstrous in the texts they chose. This is the forth post of eight in the series.

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Weird Tales: A Sexualized Scare

The cover of Margaret Brundage’s Weird Tales: Satan’s Palimpsest  greets the reader with a nude blonde, seemingly excited to invite the bat-like Satan into her boudoir. Similarly, Margaret Brundage’s Weird Tales: Children of the Bat cover greets the reader with another nude blonde—this one half-bat with breasts and chained by another bat, who seems to be half-human as well. Through the covers' portrayal of hyper-sexualized, imprisoned women and bats as their captors, the Weird Tales pulp art combines both the scariness and seduction of the Gothic monster, which represents the Other in U.S. culture. 

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Batman issue number 400 “Challenge of the Man-Bat!”

Written by Frank Robbins, Batman issue number 400, Challenge of the Man-Bat1, was published in June of 1970 after a paradigmatic shift in U.S. comics censorship history. Challenge of the Man-Bat was published a decade and a half after the creation of The Comics Code Authority in 1954, which regulated or censored comic book content.

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Weird Tales and The American Sherlock Holmes: Craig Kennedy

Welcome… to Weird Tales. Initially founded in 1923, the Weird Tales pulp magazine boasts an impressive lineup throughout its just over thirty year run, having been one of the first places where American audiences could be introduced to later sci-fi staples such as Cthulu and Conan the Barbarian. Weird Tales was one of the first magazines of its kind, publishing exclusively horror and sci-fi tales, and was even the starting point for several authors who later became household names, such as Ray Bradbury and Robert E. Howard.

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Creole Culture in New Orleans, Louisiana

The Louisiana Creole community are people of mixed French, African, Spanish, and Native American ancestry. An extraordinary Creole culture rich in traditions around food, literature, music, and more thrives in New Orleans. Special Collections & Archives holds many rare books that highlight these traditions.

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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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