As part of its bookbindings exhibition, Cover Stories, the Special Collections Centre at the University of Aberdeen will be hosting a series of five talks that focus on some of the individuals behind the bindings - those who owned the books, commissioned or designed their covers.
The first talk in the series looks into the life and work of Renaissance scholar Duncan Liddel whose waste-bound text books are featured in the exhibition.
Duncan Liddel (1561-1613) was a Scottish mathematician, physician and astronomer. He’s also one of those people associated with Aberdeen and its university who are largely forgotten now: Hugh Mercer; Thomas Glover; and Lord Byron. Liddel deserves better. He was a leading scholar at various German-language Lutheran institutions and helped spread the ideas of Paracelsus, Copernicus and Brahe. Indeed it was claimed during his life that he was the first person to teach the astronomical ideas of Ptolemy, Copernicus and Brahe in Germany. He eventually returned to Aberdeen University, his alma mater, to teach across a range of disciplines from mathematics to medicine. Most importantly, he left three great legacies: his own publications (largely on medicine); his library (to the University including his copy of Copernicus) and a significant bequest to support education and the poor in the city which, to this day, supports the Common Good Fund.
Professor William G. Naphy is Aberdeen University’s Dean for North American Affairs and has lectured in History at the university since 1996. His area of specialism is Calvin’s Geneva. He has published works on Calvinism, the history of sexuality, medical history and the wider Protestant Reformation. He has appeared frequently as an authority for documentaries and on various news programmes discussing current affairs relating to gender, sexuality and religion.