Monday, 16 August 2010

The book that Fell to earth



A Dodo in Oxford: A Panel Discussion

Wednesday 13 October at 7pm
Blackwell Bookshop, 48–51 Broad Street, Oxford
Tickets: £2

In 2008, a diary was discovered amongst some books donated to a charity bookshop in Oxford. It was a most remarkable book, supposedly written over three hundred years ago by a student, describing his life and unusual pet, a dodo. The author of the diary was student of science and recorded his pet’s every move, as well as the reactions of his friends and acquaintances. He had some idea of the bird's rarity, but not that his pet might have been the last dodo to have walked upon the earth.

Doubts have been cast over the authenticity of the diary, so every page has been photographed and reprinted here, meaning that this work does at least three things – it provides a portrait of the famous bird, it reveals glimpses of seventeenth-century Oxford, and it offers the history of a book – how it was printed, made, unmade, forgotten, and ultimately revived.

Four panellists will discuss the details and vicissitudes of this piece of history – Professor Paul Luna, Head of Typography and Graphic Communication at Reading University; Clive Hurst, Head of Rare Books and Printed Emphemera at the Bodleian Library; David Shirt, scientist and lexicographer, with a special interest in ornithology; and Michael Johnson, editor of A Dodo at Oxford. John Mitchinson, one of the men behind QI, will chair this discussion.

Tickets cost £2 and can be obtained by telephoning or visiting the Customer Service Department, Second Floor, Blackwell Bookshop, Oxford. 01865 333623.

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