Collections and Resources, Community, Events, Rare Book Collection, Special Collections

“Banned and Rare” Readings To Mark First Amendment Day, Sept. 27

First Amendment Day: Banned and in the Rare Book Collection
Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011
Wilson Special Collections Library
5:00 p.m. | Book Display, Main Lobby
5:30 p.m. | Program, Pleasants Family Assembly Room
Free and open to the public
Information: Liza TerllFriends of the Library, (919) 548-1203

Members of the UNC community will read from original editions of banned and censored books in Wilson Library on Sept. 27 as part of UNC’s third annual First Amendment Day celebration.

“First Amendment Day: Banned and in the Rare Book Collection” will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room of the Wilson Special Collections Library. A display of rare banned books will be on view at 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

“How does a book become rare?” asked Claudia Funke, curator of rare books at UNC, and organizer of the event. “One way is for it to be banned!”

Readers will share excerpts from a variety of books in the Rare Book Collection, including:

  • The 1922 Egoist Press edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses, with annotations by attorney and UNC alumnus Mangum Weeks about the inability of the book to travel through the U.S. Postal Service;
  • Walt Whitman’s 1855 Leaves of Grass;
  • The First Circle by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, which was banned in the former Soviet Union;
  • The censored biography of Thomas Becket from a 1503 edition of The Golden Legend;
  • An entry from Diderot and D’Alembert’s eighteenth-century publishing landmark, the Encyclopédie.

Among the readers will be Hugh Stevens, Raleigh-based First Amendment attorney and chair of the board of directors of the UNC Friends of the Library; University Librarian Sarah Michalak; Michael McFee, poet and UNC creative writing professor; Kirill Tolpygo, UNC interim librarian for Slavic & East European Resources, and curator of the André Savine Collection; and UNC associate professor of Spanish Juan Carlos González Espitia. Students, librarians, and guests will read other selections.

First Amendment Day, organized by the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy, is designed to celebrate the First Amendment and explore its role in the lives of Carolina students. The center is a collaboration between the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the School of Law.

The reading also coincides with Banned Books Week, Sept. 24 – Oct. 1, an annual national celebration of the freedom to read.

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