cover of book

Marks of Genius: Masterpieces from the Collections of the Bodleian Libraries
by Stephen Hebron
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2014
Paper: 978-1-85124-403-4

What sets Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein apart from so many other famous works of fiction? What special combination of creativity and vision made possible the drafting of Magna Carta—a document both so unprecedented and so fundamental to the concept of basic human rights that its name can now be used to define the many declarations that came after it. When describing exceptional accomplishments like these—and the men and women behind them—we use the word “genius.” And while genius is difficult to define, we all recognize that elusive, special quality when we encounter it.
Marks of Genius pays tribute to some of the most remarkable testaments to genius throughout human history, from ancient texts on papyrus and the extraordinary medieval manuscript The Douce Apocalypse to the renowned children’s work The Wind in the Willows. Bringing together some of the rarest and most impressive treasures in the collections of the Bodleian Libraries, it tells the story of each work’s creation and its journey through time, offering insight into the breadth and depth of its influence as well as and its power to fascinate.

Published to accompany an exhibition of the same name at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York, Marks of Genius celebrates with two hundred full-color illustrations works that constitute the pinnacle of human creativity and which we continue to restore and revisit—perhaps in the hopes that some of their remarkable brilliance will rub off.

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