Sensational Books

About the exhibition

Exploring the experience of the book beyond reading, Sensational Books features books and items from the Bodleian’s collections that invite a sensory response across the five senses of sight, sound, taste, smell and touch and beyond.

Visitors will be able to experience the sound of manuscripts unravelling, the smell of vellum in early books or the touch of an old book cover and have many other sensory experiences with the treasures on display. As e-books grow in use, this exhibition captures the renewed interest in the material book, as evidenced by everything from the recent popularity of gift books to high quality book design.

 Location

S T Lee Gallery, Weston Library, Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BG

 Wheelchair access

The Weston Library is wheelchair accessible.

 Admission

Admission free.

 Opening times

This exhibition is temporarily postponed. 

For the first time, researchers have been able to extract the smell from books in the collection of Oxford University's Bodleian Library and bottle it.

- The Daily Telegraph -

Related events

 

book

LECTURE

Medieval manuscripts at the Bodleian and the senses

  CANCELLED

   1pm – 1.45pm

As literacy grew during the three centuries before the printing press, people learned not only how to read, but also how to handle their manuscripts. Certain physical gestures that readers enacted with illuminated manuscripts—including kissing or laying hands on certain images, and rubbing out the faces of others—imparted a ritual significance to books. Just as our twenty-first-century culture of ever-smaller screens has created a set of gestures and habits that had not previously existed (typing with two thumbs, scrolling, clicking, tapping), using manuscripts engendered new physical gestures, which involved touching, listening to, and even tasting books.

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