Bibliophiles are Happy
“The Radzivills and the book” exhibition that has recently opened in Minsk in the Central Scientific Library of the National Academy of Sciences has drawn attention of rarity connoisseurs
Radzivill princes’ library founded in the XVI century by Nikolai Radzivill the Black was one of the largest private libraries in Europe at that time. Its corpora are the documents that reflect, like a mirror, the memorable events of the epoch. Many of the Nesvizh Radzivills were hereditary bibliophiles and often bought the book rarities of the precedent centuries that interested them. Genrewise and languagewise among the Radzivills’ books are mostly West-European printed publications. Being representatives of the political elite of the time, the Radzivills paid a lot of attention to studying the political and legal systems of the Great Lithuanian Principality and the European states, religious discussions, military art and also took interest in the novelties of belles-lettres and classical literature.
In the stock of the department of rare books and manuscripts there is a unique book collection of the Nesvizh library of the Radzivills which is one of the most valuable collections and part and parcel of the common European cultural heritage.
The exhibition also presents books on the history of Western Europe and Great Lithuanian Principality, translated works of the ancient classics as well as books on exact sciences, literature, geography, linguistics, art and culture. Of special extrinsic value are the editions of the works of belles-lettres classics, philosophers, public and political figures of the XVII — early XX centuries that were published during their life and documentary prose of the XIX century. Of interest are also editions with the owners’ notes, handwritten remarks of the Radzivill family members.