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Adalbert is a forum for me, to post ephemera, photography, poetry, occasional travel notes, and various spontaneous motions. Cover photo: Parsonage where my great-grandfather spent his early years. Taken near Liegnitz, Silesia, ca. 1870.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

The British Library and the British Museum

I found myself at the British Library one day, and the British Museum the next, on my first-ever trip to the UK, having arrived via Brussels and the Chunnel, emerging surrealistically into the English countryside from the nighted depths. The Magna Carta show at the British Library, including two of the surviving four copies of the original (actually King John sealed rather than signed, as explained in the exhibit) agreement, thoroughly explained and contextualized the document. Seeing the two originals (even the mangled, charred, archivist's nightmare remains of the Canterbury copy), with their intricate, tiny writing, as well as later accords and variations, and other related items such as two root-dangling teeth and a thumb bone from King John, revealed the Magna Carta's vast sway over history in the past 800 years. I also examined other items in the "Treasures of the British Library" gallery including some handwritten lyrics from the Beatles, and, according to the placard, what is the only surviving medieval copy of Beowulf.

 The British Library

I was able to reach the British Museum in a half-hour or so walk from my central location, and found it a transcendent experience, with the vast galleries containing such treasures as the (controversially-located) Elgin Marbles, the Rosetta Stone, objects from the Sutton Hoo ship burial, and an incomprehensible number more items.


Photo of me, by the Elgin Marbles


The Moon and Venus over the St. Pancras Hotel, 3-22-15

2 comments:

  1. Visiting the main London museums is high on my todo list. From Amsterdam it must be easily doable by train I guess.

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  2. Easy to get to London from Amsterdam by way of Brussels. More than worth it.

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