Certaine Worthye Manuscripts: Medieval Books in the Fisher Library

When and Where

Tuesday, December 20, 2022 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library
120 St. George St. Toronto, ON, M5S 1A5


September 6 to December 20, 2022

The medieval bishop and bibliophile Richard de Bury describes books as an "infinite treasure," for they, more than any other human contrivance, are able to preserve the knowledge and the wisdom, as well as the follies and the failures, of previous generations – "in books I find the dead as if they were alive." This exhibition aims to bring the medieval world to life by drawing on the many treasures from the period to be found in the Fisher Library. It celebrates the medieval book, and the medieval written word more generally, in all its variety in terms of both subject matter and physical form. Included are books on topics from religion to science and history to the law and in formats from the codex to the charter to the tally stick. Though the main focus of the exhibition is on medieval manuscripts – that is, books written by hand – it also explores the transition from handwritten to printed books that began at the very end of the medieval period. Medieval books, and especially their aesthetic qualities, have been a recurrent source of inspiration for the makers of books in subsequent periods, and the exhibition also examines this medievalist tradition in book production, especially in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

This exhibition is curated by the Fisher Library’s PJ Carefoote, Timothy Perry, and Nadav Sharon. It runs from September 6 through to December 20.

Tours: The Fisher will be offering tours by the curators through the exhibition's run. The first will be Thursday November 10 when PJ Carefoote will lead an hour-long tour at 5:30 pm.



120 St. George St. Toronto, ON, M5S 1A5