Rare Books Blog

November 7, 2011

The Yale Law Library’s online catalog, MORRIS, now provides an easy, automated way to learn about our recent rare book collections. You can subscribe to an RSS feed, “New Additions to Yale Law Library’s Rare Book Collection,” by adding this link, http://morris.law.yale.edu/feeds/rarebooks.xml, to your favorite RSS feed reader, such as Google Reader or Live Bookmarks. A list of all the available RSS feeds from MORRIS can be found here.

The feed reports the most recently cataloged rare book acquisitions, such as Clarence Darrow’s The Skeleton in the Closet (Riverside, Conn.: F.C. Bursch, 1914). We purchased this little booklet from Meyer Boswell Books, who described it as “The first separate issuance of the first of Darrow’s ‘two major attempts at literature’, long to underpin his philosophical view of life as ‘a never-ending school [teaching us] to turn from [its] … dire defeats to the mastery of ourselves’.”

Thanks to Mary Jane Kelsey, our Associate Librarian for Technical Services, for making this possible.

MIKE WIDENER
Rare Book Librarian

November 2, 2011

The Law Library is always delighted when research on materials in our collection is published. An entire monograph on a single one of our manuscripts is a rare privilege and honor.

Such an honor has been bestowed on us by Rosemarie McGerr. Her latest book, A Lancastrian Mirror for Princes: The Yale Law School New Statutes of England (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011), is an in-depth study of one our most important medieval manuscripts, the Nova Statuta Angliae (ca. 1450s-1470s). In the course of her study, McGerr rejects the previous description of the manuscript as a wedding gift from King Henry VI of England to his consort Margaret of Anjou. Instead, she argues that it was commissioned by Queen Margaret for their son, Edward the Prince of Wales. As described by the publisher:

This seminal study addresses one of the most beautifully decorated 15th-century copies of the New Statutes of England, uncovering how the manuscript’s unique interweaving of legal, religious, and literary discourses frames the reader’s perception of the work. Taking internal and external evidence into account, Rosemarie McGerr suggests that the manuscript was made for Prince Edward of Lancaster, transforming a legal reference work into a book of instruction in kingship, as well as a means of celebrating the Lancastrians’ rightful claim to the English throne during the Wars of the Roses. A Lancastrian Mirror for Princes also explores the role played by the manuscript as a commentary on royal justice and grace for its later owners and offers modern readers a fascinating example of the long-lasting influence of medieval manuscripts on subsequent readers.

Rosemarie McGerr is Professor of Comparative Literature and Director of the Medieval Studies Institute at Indiana University.

More information on the book is available from the Indiana University Press website.

MIKE WIDENER
Rare Book Librarian

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