Upcoming Exhibitions

Mon, Sep. 17, 2018 to Fri, Dec. 21, 2018
Bird head monster

Aristotle, Pliny the Elder, Christopher Columbus, Ulisse Aldrovandi, and Mary Shelley are united by their writings on the subjects of monsters. Each of these authors crafted distinct visions of monstrosity in their own fields, inspiring the imagination of readers over the course of centuries. Together, the corpus of their texts also holds the answers to which other writers have turned in their quests to the lands of monsters.

This exhibition explores the textual and visual sources at the centre of the stories of monsters recounted in the pages of medieval encyclopedias, wonder books, cosmographies, compilations of travels, natural history volumes, medical texts, and other popular books unfettered by the wonders of the human imagination. Beyond showcasing the Fisher Library’s remarkable collections in the areas of history, medicine, science, and literature, one of the chief concerns of this exhibition is to follow the main themes in the history of monsters in the West. Among the highlights of these themes will be the monstrous peoples of the medieval tradition, the messages of prodigies of the Renaissance period, the invention of monsters in the Age of Exploration, the nature of monsters in light of Humanism, the complexity of human monstrosity in the scientific thought, and the conception of monsters as creative bodies.

This exhibition will be curated by Fisher Librarian David Fernandez.

Mon, Jan. 28, 2019 to Fri, Apr. 26, 2019
Image from the book Les papillons leur histoire

Fern-fever, orchidelirium, the seaweed craze: for Victorians, natural history was a pleasurable pursuit sometimes bordering on a psychological disorder. At more than a thousand volumes, the Fisher Library's Victorian natural history collection provides a unique opportunity to trace the ways in which the medium of print stimulated and sustained the nineteenth-century appetite for natural history. This exhibition showcases both the collecting and manuscript practices of naturalists and how books, in some instances, encased the specimens themselves. A special focus here is women practitioners of natural history -- as authors of and contributors to published works, and as artists and collectors. On display will be copies of some of the most popular natural history works of the day: J.G. Wood's Common Objects of the Country - and some of the most beautiful and rare: James Bateman's Orchidaceae of Mexico and Guatemala. Weighing more than 38 lbs, Bateman's work is considered the largest book published with lithographic plates.

This exhibition will be curated by Maria Zytaruk, Associate Professor of English, University of Calgary.