Fairy Tale Fridays: The Twelve Dancing Princesses

shoes strewn across the floor above the title

Shoes (and dancing shoes in particular) return again and again as a central motif of fairy tales - from the glass slipper that declares Cinderella to be the Prince’s ballroom crush to the red hot iron slippers in which Snow White’s evil stepmother is forced to dance till she dies. However, perhaps no fairy tale contains quite so many shoes as “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.”

The Secret of Secrets and the History of Medicine

Pseudo-Aristotle. Secretum secretorum. Tr. Philip of Tripoli (fl. 2nd half of 13th c.) Italy, 14th c. Manuscript codex on vellum, 190 x 131mm.Latin. Mich. Ms. 202

Our featured book today is a fourteenth-century Latin manuscript of a medieval bestseller: the Secret of Secrets (Secretum secretorum). Wrongly attributed to Aristotle, and originally composed in Arabic in the eighth century, the content of this work has been gradually shaped, and changed, by scribes and translators throughout the centuries. From being conceived as a manual about kingship, it eventually became one of the most popular medical treatises in the Middle Ages.

A Happy 254th Birthday to "Queen Molly"!

Drawing of book with mounts and snake. Open pages read "HAPPY BIRTHDAY."

In 1824, Mary Randolph poured a lifetime's worth of experience as manager of a grand estate into a single unassuming volume of recipes and household hints. Arguably America's first regional cookbook, The Virginia House-wife represents decades of changing fortunes and evolving palates for the Randolphs, and indeed the whole country, in the years immediately proceeding the Revolutionary War.

500 Years of Erasmus's New Testament!

Title page of Novum Instrumentum omne, diligenter ab Erasmo Roterodamo recognitum & emendatum. Basel: Johann Froben, 1516

Around 1511, the Dutch Catholic humanist, Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466-1536), began working on an edition and Latin translation of the Greek New Testament, for which he thoroughly compared the text of several Greek manuscripts with Jerome's fourth-century Latin translation of the Bible, the so-called Vulgate.


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