TREASURES OF THE LIBRARY PODCAST: Professor Christopher Given-Wilson on Rolevinck’s Fasciculus Temporum
In the summer of 2013, the University Library set out to capture the reactions of academic and library staff when encountering their favourite items from the Special Collections Division. For this project, authors for articles for Treasures of St Andrews University Library (London, 2010) were asked to speak about the item or collection they highlighted in this publication.
In this final podcast of the first series, Professor Christopher Given-Wilson describes Werner Rolevinck’s Fasciculus Temporum (Compendium of Times), a ‘universal chronicle’ written by a German Carthusian monk, first published in Cologne in 1474. This 1478 edition – one of more than 30 editions produced by Rolevinck’s death in 1502 – is a tour de force of early typography, with a complex graphic illustration of the timeline of history, and with illustrations and decorations to aid the reader. It also has the unique distinction of having many annotations and additions – particularly on Scottish history – written in manuscript, in decorative style similar to the typography. This was done by the volume’s first Scottish owner, William Fowler, who was dean of Haddington at the end of the 15th century, which reveals that this volume had arrived in Scotland very soon after its printing. It eventually fell into the hands of William Guild, principal of King’s College, Aberdeen, who bequeathed it to the University of St Andrews Library in 1657. It is, then, a volume of interest for many reasons, and well deserves its classification as a ‘treasure’ of the Library.
The article written by Professor Given-Wilson about this item is to be found on pp. 52-55 of Treasures of St Andrews University Library (London, 2010). This short video is one of several which have been made based on the book. The entire set, which will be added to periodically, is available on the University of St Andrews Library YouTube channel.