A Reader’s Quest

Copyright 2012 by Paula S. Jordan

Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in the British Library

Ken and I are finally, after some years of wishing and planning, taking off soon on a European adventure! There will be some time in Italy (mainly Tuscany, visiting with a friend.) Then Rome, London and Bath (I’ll finally get to see Stonehenge!!) And Paris. Yea!

And it occurred to me: I’ve scheduled the ruins (the forum and coliseum, prehistoric British and Etruscan sites) and the art (The Sistine Chapel, Florence, David! The Louver!) and the archaeology, and the food, and the Theater (The Globe! Shakespeare’s London!) but the only thing at all book-like … though I’ll be excited to see it … is the Rosetta Stone.

So now, a dream list of historical documents to be visited. The entries are all British, so far:

The Magna Carta — very early copies in the British Museum and British Library.

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle — British Library, together with Chaucer, Shakespeare, ancient maps and sacred texts of many religions (including the Lindisfarne Gospels and a Gutenberg Bible), illuminated medieval manuscripts, a daVinci notebook, and … the Beatles. (Sadly, the Chronicle doesn’t seem to be on display and my email has gone unanswered.)

The Domesday Book — said to be in the British Archives, but the web site doesn’t mention it. Again, my email unanswered.

The Bayeux Tapestry — not technically a book, of course, but a document all the same — is unfortunately in Bayeux, in France, and far from Paris.

I’ve done no searching yet for bookish treasuries in Tuscany, Rome (the Vatican Library for one), or Paris, and have fewer ideas of what to look for in non-English literature. So … any thoughts? If I am able to see the books you suggest, I will do all I can to send pictures, of the buildings if not the objects themselves.

My thanks for all suggestions!

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About Paula S. Jordan

PaulaSJordan.com. SF/F writer. Former orbit analyst. Supporter of libraries and hugger of trees. @PaulaSJwriter

14 thoughts on “A Reader’s Quest

  1. Oh! I forgot– Hammurabi’s Code, in the Louvre. It’s in one of the “scheduled days” sections of the Louvre, so you’ll have to look ahead and see what day that section is open.

  2. The narration character in Jules’ Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea started out his journey at Les Jardin Des Plantes (the natural history museum) in Paris.

    Hemingway spent some solid time in the Fourth Quarter.

    Unicorn and the Lady Tapestry in the Museum de Moyen Age.

    • Wonderful! I will most definitely do my best to see the Hammurabi. I never dreamed of finding any documents quite that ancient. Les Jardin des Plantes and the Fourth Quarter too. The list has just expanded: literary books AND places! There’s an ale house near the Globe that has endured since Shakespeare’s time. Think we’ll drop in for a pint.

  3. Hi, Barbara! It would be lovely to see you in Paris, but we’ll be there this October. I know the spring is wonderful there, and I am hoping that fall — my favorite season — will be as well. Thank you for your suggestions, I do love tapestries, and have promised my brother a full accounting of the ones I see, so you have just improved my report!

    • Yes, and so many other things are there too! At least a week’s worth of historical goodies. We’re planning on a day. We’ll be sure to see Notre Dame too. My husband loves great architecture. Thanks!

  4. Oh and swing by Notre Dame cathedral while you’re in Paris. It’s got some gorgeous architecture itself. (Plus you might catch a glimpse of the elusive Hunchback!)

  5. Ohhh, you’re in for such a treat. All beautiful places to visit. When you’re in Florence it’s worth while trying to take a day out to visit Sienna – really beautiful and very worthwhile.
    Enjoy.
    Lynn :D

  6. Pingback: A Reader’s Quest: Dr. Samuel Johnson | Dark cargo

  7. Pingback: A Reader’s Quest: The Magna Carta | Dark cargo

  8. Pingback: A Reader’s Quest: St Brendan’s Voyage | Dark cargo

  9. Pingback: A Reader’s Quest: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles | Dark cargo

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