Early Modern Exchanges


UCL Rare Books Club - Kircher, chickens, and Early Modern music and science

23 July 2019, 12:30 pm–2:00 pm

old books, UCL Special Collections

Event Information

Open to



UCL Special Collections


Special Collections Reading Room
South Junction basement, Wilkins Building, UCL
Gower Street/Malet Place

What do chickens, hypnosis, music and volcanoes have in common? The answer is Athanasius Kircher, the astonishingly wide-ranging C17th-century scientist and polymath. You are warmly invited to the next UCL Rare-Books Club on Tuesday 23 July to look at early editions of some of his works, including one of the earliest depictions of a hypnotised chicken. We’ll be joined by a student from the Warburg Institute working on a dissertation entitled ‘'Fire-vomiting mountains': Volcanic theory in Athanasius Kircher's Mundus Subterraneus’, and by a member of staff whose family knew a thing or two about hypnotising chickens.

Collections: Johnston Lavis; Ogden
Project: Warburg Institute

Drop-in sessions - no booking required.

(South Junction basement reading room, Wilkins Building, UCL Gower Street/Malet Place site, Bloomsbury unless otherwise indicated)
30 July – plants and botany **venue: Institute Of Advanced Studies Forum G17**
6 August – new developments in imaging rare books and archives – Laidlaw Fellow
13 August – Small Press collection - Special Collections Visiting Fellow’s talk **venue: Institute Of Advanced Studies Common Ground G13**
20 August – Mediaeval scientific manuscripts
27 August – new acquisitions at UCL Special Collections
3 September – to be confirmed
10 September – Latin in the 17th Century

If you’re in London, come by on Tuesday lunchtimes, whether you’re starting out on a research project, would like to meet other researchers, or have a specific query about our collections, whether you’re thinking about developing teaching or events, submitting a funding bid, or just want to see some beautiful items during the lunch break.

To request collection items or propose a topic for a Club meeting, email t.tuckett@ucl.ac.uk