World of the Book: a curator tour

Three visitors to the exhibition lean against the balony on the Library's Dome Reading Room

From books that broke the mould to books that changed the world, World of the Book features more than 200 never-before-exhibited items, celebrating the unique place books have in our hearts and minds.

Attendees joined Library curator, Anna Welch and Faculty of Arts expert, Dr Simon West as they shared their insights into this one-of-a-kind collection including an extraordinary exploration into Dante Alighieri’s Divine comedy in honour of the 700th anniversary of the poet’s death.

With its vivid scenes of hell, purgatory and paradise, Dante’s poem has long been a magnet for artists, drawn to fashioning their own illustrative interpretation of the text, a tradition stretching from the 14th century through to the present day. The exhibition highlighted the work of artists who have pictorially brought Dante’s most well-known work to life, including international figures such as Blake, DorĂ©, and Phillips, as well as Australian artists such as Udo Sellbach, Alex Selenitsch, Bruno Leti, Angela Cavalieri, and Peter Lyssiotis.

This one-hour tour showcased some of the most significant works from the Library’s rare books collection. Highlights included medieval manuscripts and sacred texts, magnificent natural history and botanical illustration, stunning modern artist books and fine press editions, as well as pioneering Australian classics, children’s books, graphic novels and comics.

The World of the Book exhibition is located on Level 4 of the Dome Galleries, overlooking the La Trobe Reading Room in the heart of the Library.

Presented in partnership with State Library Victoria.