Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I went and saw the Handwritten exhibition at the National Library today. It is free, but you have to book a time as it has been so popular. The exhibition contains one hundred works from the Berlin State Library spanning one thousand years, from illuminated texts to letters by Thomas Mann, Franz Kafka, Michelangelo, Napoleon and many more.

There are manuscripts from the sciences, philosophy, literature, politics, exploration and even music scores. The display is laid out chronologically and there are didactic panels explaining each exhibit and the writer's significance. I went at lunch time and it was very busy, so I will visit it again one morning during the next month to see the things I missed and to have a good look at some of the things I shuffled by too quickly. But even my brief visit has already got me thinking about my appalling handwriting in my journal and the significance and amazing longevity of these well preserved texts.

The exhibition is on until the 18th of March 2012 and there are evening events to coincide with the exhibition.


  1. How wonderful! I'd love to see that. I used to work at the National Art Library in London in another life (!) and got to look through 15th century illuminated manuscripts... *sigh* I love books :) Hope you get to have a good long look next time, Fiona. Kx

  2. Sounds fascinating and it's fantastic that it's attracting so many visitors. I'm sure some of the most fantastic writers have also had appalling handwriting - though I don't think yours is actually appalling.



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