Crowning a King – Mediaeval German style
While having breakfast this morning, my eye fell upon a book that I had purchased a few years ago and has since been residing in the dusty chambers of my memory. It is titled BibliOdyssey: Archival Images from the Internet, and it is an interesting, contradictory item – it is a book of images from old, esoteric, and downright weird books that is taken from the BibliOdyssey blog. The blog is both proof that books as an art form are on the decline and that appreciation for the art form has arguably never been greater. With accompanying Tumblr and Twitter sites, it is a veritable treasure trove of exotic esoterica that fills the heart of any true bibliophile with joy. The book’s synopsis, taken from its publisher’s page, outlines its m.o. better than I ever could:
Across the world, libraries and institutions are just beginning to make
their collections available online, much of this amazing material goes
unnoticed by the casual surfer.
BibliOdyssey’s mission has been to search the dustier corners of the
internet and retrieve these materials for our enjoyment. Thanks to the
efforts of this singular weblog, a myriad of long-forgotten imagery has
now resurfaced. Each of these fascinating images is accompanied by
a commentary from PK, author and curator of BibliOdyssey, and a link
to the source website.
Although the site’s legal content is relatively minor, there is an interesting entry on the German Sachsenspiegel, which is the first instance of German customary law being committed to the written word. Furthermore, while it was initially written in Latin, the later translation to German also meant it was the first time that German vernacular was put on the page as well. It was an enormously important legal text in Mediaeval Europe, so it is a tremendously illuminating entry.
Looking at the examples of early versions of the Sachsenspiegel, it could only be hoped that all modern legal texts were so lavishly illustrated!
The first edition of To Kill A Mockingbird
This is a post that really seems to straddle the boundary behind low brow and high brow, since it’s about rare books, but via Pawn Stars.
If you’ve seen Pawn Stars, you’ll know that it’s an extremely popular reality television show that is based out of the Silver and Gold Pawn Shop in Las Vegas. The premise is pretty simple – people bring stuff in to sell or pawn, they haggle, and maybe they can reach a deal. For the benefit of good television, experts are often brought in to authenticate and estimate the value of items.
These experts run the gamut from history to guns (it is the US, after all) to toys to books. Their book expert, Rebecca Romney, is from the Vegas outlet of Baumann’s Rare Books (if you’ve ever looked at the back page of the New York Times‘ Sunday Book Review section, no doubt you’ve seen the NYC Bauman’s ads touting remarkable – and remarkably expensive! – rare books). Being a librarian who has been fortunate to have encountered quite a few rare books (including one bound in human skin at the Harvard Law Library – and the equally creepy [but not a book] Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. death mask), I checked out the Pawn Stars site and eventually stumbled upon Romney’s blog, Aldine.
Rather than being the sort of self-promotional dreck that you might expect for somebody who is plying their trade on reality television, it is actually a rather interesting and entertaining site, with plenty of useful information and food for thought, including the first two parts of an ongoing “Rare Books 101″ series (you can find part one here and part two here).
As a further shameless plug for the library, it’s worth a gander to take a look at our own display of rare books cherry-picked from our special collections. Carefully curated by our own Chief Librarian and avid rare book enthusiast, Louis Mirando, it can be viewed on the lower level of the library.
I’m sure that pretty much all denizens of law schools have, at some point watched at least one episode of Law and Order (or its many, many spin-offs) and, in all likelihood, groaned at some point. While it’s undeniably entertaining, it is also frequently larded with clichés, improbabilities, bad law, and an overly Manichean outlook. After twenty years and over four hundred episodes, these certainly pile up to the extent of “here we go again.”
So, if you’ve ever wondered exactly what would happen if you were to subject the series to an overly rigorous statistical analysis, today is your lucky day. The good folks over at Overthinkingit.com have done it for you, and it took only (!!) two years.
Take a look at it here.
Thanks to the Law Librarian Blog for bringing this to my attention!
While the law can be alternately deadly serious or patently ridiculous (often in the midst of a single case!), it is always refreshing to read legal writing where the author is clearly enjoying the material. If you learn something – even better!
In December 2010, I read about a novel new legal blog in the New York Times called Law and the Multiverse. It has since taken off, with a newly-published book to show for it (alas, it is not yet in the library collection).
A clear example of the aforementioned style of legal writing, it is written by two American lawyers, James Daily and Ryan Davidson, who also happen to be enormous comic book nerds. The premise of the blog is simultaneously extremely simple and extremely clever:
What would happen if real laws applied to the denizens of the comic book multiverse?
So if you ever wondered what would happen if you were convicted of murder and the victim came back to life, if Superman’s heat vision is a weapon, or if evidence collected by Batman could be used by Commissioner Gordon to convict somebody in court, then this is the blog for you.
Although the subject matter is all American-oriented, it is nevertheless extremely entertaining to read about the application of various laws to altogether implausible scenarios. While the premise was initially focused on comic books, it has since expanded to other mediums, with Looper as a recent two-part focus. It is easy to get lost in the archived posts, which are uniformly well-written and straight-faced.
The French official legal portal Legifrance.gouv.fr now provides access to English translations of French legal texts. Note that these translations are for reference purposes only; the original text is also available for comparing modifications. Click here to access English translations.
Kluwer Law International is now offering their Kluwer Arbitration Blog providing information and news on international arbitration.
“We have gathered together leading experts from law firms, arbitration institutions, and academia to report on the latest developments. They in turn have enlisted professional colleagues of diverse backgrounds to offer both established and new voices into the mix. The result is a fresh, high-quality, and timely examination of the world of international arbitration.”