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"The Mask of Ceremony": Rutgers' Growing Collection of Festival Books with a List of Holdings

Karl F Morrison

Abstract


Baroque and Rococo art sprang from a culture of extravagance celebrated in mind-dazzling festivals. Those festivals, signatures of their age both in elegance and in conspicuous consumption, vanished as quickly as the fireworks they consumed in enormous quantities. They left behind souvenirs in the form of commemorative books, many of them sumptuously illustrated. Though long neglected, like Baroque and Rococo art itself, festival books have now been recognized as splendid artistic achievements in their own right and as invaluable sources for research, not only in many fields of early modern European history, but also in comparative studies of religion and political orders. International commissions have been established to inventory and study them. This article celebrates the growth of the Rutgers' Special Collections and University Archives' collection of festival books into a useful resource for research.

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