online exhibition

rare book library




This online exhibition from the Rare Book Library at the University of Sydney displays over 140 original volumes of the most important works in the emergence of modern thought and culture.

These are the books that shaped the modern mind. These are the books that changed the way we view the world and our place in it.

Spanning from the 1540s when Copernicus challenged the traditional view of our place in the universe to the late 1800s, this exhibition showcases many of the landmark publications in the history of human thought.

From Newton's Principia to the Works of William Shakespeare, from Hobbes' Leviathan to Diderot's Encyclopedia, the impact of these books transcends the beauty of their fine bindings and beautiful illustrations. Indeed many of these works are still exerting an influence today.

By tracing developments in astronomy, philosophy, alchemy and chemistry, literature, theology and medicine this exhibition puts us in touch with the ideas which gave birth to modern science and culture.