The third issue of 600 Years of Book Collecting will be available for sale from the Main Library next Wednesday, the 30th of October. This issue, the last of the semester, looks at books from the Library’s collection which tell the story of “Language & Literature” at St Andrews. The teaching of languages has been elementary to a St Andrews education from the very founding of this University: first Latin and Greek, and now an entire School dedicated to the teaching of eight modern languages. Some of the great medieval Scottish poets, including William Dunbar and Gavin Douglas, studied literary texts in Latin at St Andrews. In the 18th century, Professor Robert Watson was one of the first professors in the world to teach English literary criticism; he also entertained Samuel Johnson and James Boswell when they visited St Andrews in 1773. The University is now home to a bustling academic community studying the literature of several countries and the languages which they are written in.
“Language & Literature” features books from the Library’s collection by St Andrews authors, including the first edition of Douglas Dunn’s Terry Street and Robert Crawford and Caroline Saltzwedel’s Impossibility. Also highlighted are some of the first Chinese language books added to the University’s collection; a fragment of a German Almanac from 1472, which St Andrews own two copies of only four known in the world; a first edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; and a 15th manuscript copy of Alcuin’s Ars Grammatica.
Each issue of 600 Years of Book Collecting features a full chronological listing of the entire series, and each issue also features a part of a visual timeline of the University Library’s history. This series brings together the clarity of modern design and the inherent beauty of the Library’s strongest asset — its books. At £3 each, these beautiful magazines are a beautiful introduction to the University Library’s holdings and a great way to get excited about the Library and the University of St Andrews, recently named Scottish University of the Year 2014.