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Friends of Fisher Events


photo of Anne Thackray

Anne Thackray.

Caterpillars and Cathedrals: The Art of Wenceslaus Hollar

Curated by Anne Thackray, Caterpillars and Cathedrals opened at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library on January 27, 2010. The Fisher Library’s outstanding collection of prints and book illustrations by printmaker Wenceslaus Hollar (1607–1677) is highlighted in this exhibition. Printmaking reached new technical and artistic levels in the seventeenth century, and Hollar was among its most admired practitioners. His subject matter reflects the political and religious conflicts of his time, changes in book and print culture, and the expansion of European knowledge during his lifetime.

The exhibition closed on April 30, 2010. The catalogue of the exhibition, written by Anne Thackray, is available for purchase at $30. Write to to order a copy.

Ninth Annual David Nicholls Memorial Lecture

photo of Thomas Keymer

Thomas Keymer.

Motly emblems: narrative fiction and page design in the novel before Jane Austen

Professor Thomas Keymer, Chancellor Jackman Professor of English at the University of Toronto, delivered the David Nicholls Memorial Lecture on February 3, 2010. Examining early editions of early fiction and viewing them as printed artifacts, is to see the intensity with which novelists and their publishers and printers worked to exploit the expressive potential of typography and page design. In this illustrated lecture, Keymer highlighted Sir Roger L’Estrange’s translation of Lettres portugaises, Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year, Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa, Samuel Johnson’s Rasselas and others, and the play on print conventions in Jane Austen’s manuscripts.

This annual lecture is generously endowed by Hilary Nicholls.

Second Annual Leon Katz Memorial Lecture

photo of Nick Mount and Johanna Sedlmayer-Katz

Nick Mount with Johanna Sedlmayer-Katz.

The CanLit Book of the 1960s

Professor Nick Mount, Associate Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of English at the University of Toronto delivered the Leon Katz Memorial Lecture on March 4, 2010. The long decade between the late 1950s and the mid-1970s marked the emergence of most of the best-known, most respected names in Canadian literature: Margaret Atwood, Pierre Berton, George Bowering, Austin Clarke, Leonard Cohen, Robertson Davies, Timothy Findley, Mavis Gallant, Robert Kroetsch, Margaret Laurence, Dennis Lee, Daphne Marlatt, Alice Munro, bpNichol, Michael Ondaatje, Al Purdy, Mordecai Richler, Audrey Thomas, Sheila Watson, and Rudy Wiebe, among others. Professor Mount’s lecture told the story of their arrival and the circumstances that produced so many writers of such lasting importance.

This annual lecture is generously endowed by Johanna Sedlmayer-Katz.

Sixteenth Annual Gryphon Lecture

photo of Alexandra Johnston and George Kiddell

Alexandra Johnston with George Kiddell.

The History of English Drama Before 1642 Revisited

Alexandra F. Johnston, Professor Emerita at the University of Toronto, delivered the Gryphon Lecture on April 6, 2010. The Alexander Lectures in 1954 on the surviving external records of the Chester Mystery Plays began a revolution in our understanding of the nature and importance of performance in England before the Puritans closed the public theatres in 1642. The revolution has had three streams—the discovery and editing of the external evidence for performance found in legal, financial and administrative records both secular and ecclesiastical from all over Great Britain, the revival of performance of the surviving texts, and the re-edition of those texts including a new approach to the editing of Shakespeare. Toronto has been at the centre of the first two streams, among other efforts, through the Records of Early English Drama. The talk brought these threads together and presented what is emerging as the new consensus about the history and importance of early English performance.

This annual lecture is generously endowed by George Kiddell.