The Da Vinci code author Dan Brown has just donated €300,000 to the Ritman Library to digitize thousands of “pre-1900 texts on alchemy, astrology, magic, and theosophy.” It will include the Corpus Hermeticum (1472), “the source work on Hermetic wisdom”; Giordano Bruno’s Spaccio de la bestia trionfante (1584); and “the first printed version of the tree of life (1516): A graphic representation of the sefirot, the 10 virtues of God according to the Kabbalah.”
One particularly important text that will be digitized is the first English translation of the works of Jakob Böhme, a 17th-century German mystic. Says Esther Ritman, the library’s director and librarian, “When I show this book in the library, it’s like traveling in an entire new world.” Once the work is available online, she says, “We can take everyone along the journey of this book digitally.”
Dan Brown donated the money to the library because he did comprehensive research while writing his novels The Lost Symbol and Inferno. It will take some time to digitize the catalog but there is a 44-page guide to the collection as a free ebook, and a very interesting video that talks about how the books will be transported, digitized, and uploaded.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.