Exhibition Opening, Reception, and Gallery Talk — “Rex Christianissimus: Books, Art, and Architecture in the Time of Saint Louis”

The Knights of Columbus Vatican Film Library — part of Special Collections in the Saint Louis University Libraries — announces the opening of the exhibition Rex Christianissimus: Books, Art, and Architecture in the Time of Saint Louis, curated by Susan L’Engle, Ph.D. In celebration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the city of St. Louis, Missouri, this exhibition explores key elements that have made King Louis IX of France (1214–70) a memorable figure, one worthy of admiration and veneration even to his contemporaries and from 1297 as a saint. Focusing on the material culture of Louis’s unique historical context, displays will include manuscript facsimiles, replicas of reliquaries, and reproductions of manuscript illuminations. The three major themes of the exhibit explore the king’s virtues most admired by his contemporaries: his personal piety, his patronage of religious and cultural institutions, and his zeal for the grand enterprise of the crusades to the Holy Land.

The exhibition is free and open to the public and will be on display October 1-31 in the West Pine entrance lobby of Pius XII Memorial Library. An opening reception and gallery talk by Dr. Susan L’Engle, Assistant Director of the Vatican Film Library, will take place on Friday, October 10, at 3:00 p.m. Call 314-977-3090 for more information.

Saint Louis University Libraries Special Collections — Rare Books and the Vatican Film Library — houses the rare book and medieval manuscript collections of the University Libraries and provides a laboratory for learning and research that enables students, faculty, and visiting scholars to engage directly with unique, rare, and original materials. Visit Special Collections in Pius XII Memorial Library or online or follow our blog.

 

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New Issue of Manuscripta — Vol. 58, Issue 1 (2014)

The Vatican Film Library announces the latest issue of its biannual journal on medieval and Renaissance manuscript studies, Manuscripta: A Journal for Manuscript Research. In publication since 1957, the journal features articles and reviews and welcomes submissions on medieval and Renaissance manuscript production, distribution, reception, and transmission — encompassing paleography, codicology, illumination, textual criticism, library history, reading & literacy, catalogues, and other subjects.

 

 

Articles:

  • Hugh Hudson, “Further Research on the Italian Medieval Manuscripts in the State Library of Victoria”
  • Nadezhda Kavrus-Hoffmann, “Catalogue of Greek Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Collections of the United States of America, Part VIII: Philadelphia, PA, The Library Company of Philadelphia”
  • Roman Sosnowski, “Translation and Popularization: Sources for the History of Italian Medicine of the Middle Ages in the Berlin Collection of the Jagiellonian Library in Krakow”

Manuscript Notes:

  • Breeman Ainsworth, “Charles of Poitiers, Bishop and Count: Ownership of a Psalter-Hours in Late Fourteenth-Century France”
  • Karl-Georg Pfändtner, “Johannes Duft de Schmalkalden — An Unknown Heidelberg Illuminator of the Fifteenth Century and His Masterpiece: ‘The Calumny of Apelles’”

Book Reviews:

  • Blanton, Virginia, Veronica O’Mara, and Patricia Stoop, eds. Nuns’ Literacies in Medieval Europe: The Hull Dialogue (Anne Winston-Allen)

Abstracts of Papers:

  • Fortieth Annual Saint Louis Conference on Manuscript Studies

Submissions
The journal accepts articles and notes on topics relating to medieval and Renaissance manuscript studies, including (but not limited to) paleography, codicology, illumination, library history, reading and literacy, and manuscript catalogues.

Contributions are evaluated by peer review. Material for consideration should be submitted in English, following the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed., with footnotes, double-spaced, and in electronic form (Microsoft Word). Please include an abstract of no more than 150 words as well as ten keywords. Citations and footnotes should be robust and full manuscript shelfmarks are expected. Where appropriate, please include citations to pertinent critical editions.

“Manuscript Notes” are a means to share preliminary observations, conjectures, and conclusions. The maximum length of submissions for such notes is 1,200-1,500 words (including foot notes), with accommodation for up to two black-and-white illustrations.

Address submissions and books for review to Manuscripta, Knights of Columbus Vatican Film Library, Pius XII Memorial Library, Saint Louis University, 3650 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108-3302 or to vfl@slu.edu.

Subscriptions
Manuscripta (ISSN 0025-2603) is published twice annually, and subscriptions are available through Brepols Publishers in print, print + online, and online forms. Print back issues for 1957-98 are available from the Vatican Film Library at $10 per issue.

Inquiries should be directed to the Editor, Susan L’Engle.

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Vatican Film Library Receives Grant from Green Scholars Initiative for Work with New Testament Manuscripts

The Knights of Columbus Vatican Film Library, part of Special Collections in the University Libraries, has been awarded a grant from the Green Scholars Initiative to take part in an international project known as the Visual Database of New Testament Manuscripts, the goal of which is to make fully available online images of all surviving manuscripts of the Greek New Testament. This project is sponsored by the American Bible Society and is intended to benefit scholars and members of the public in the study, textual research, and translation of the New Testament from its original sources. About 5,600 papyrus and parchment manuscripts containing the text of the New Testament survive from Antiquity and the Middle Ages, and these manuscripts and fragments are located in libraries throughout the world, making ready access to this body of evidence one of the greatest challenges facing biblical scholars. Among the most famous of these manuscripts, containing one of the most complete and authoritative texts of the Bible in Greek, is a Vatican Library manuscript produced in the fourth century AD called “Codex Vaticanus” (Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MS Vat. gr. 1209) (see fig.).

Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MS Vat. gr. 1209, p. 1349. Gospel of John.

Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MS Vat. gr. 1209, p. 1349. Gospel of John.

SLU’s Vatican Film Library will work in partnership with the Institute for New Testament Textual Research = Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung in Münster, Germany, and on behalf of the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana to ensure the quality of digitized images and the accuracy of descriptive metadata for New Testament manuscripts in the collections of the Vatican Library. Most images are being scanned from microfilm in order to establish the Visual Database of New Testament Manuscripts rapidly. As part of this grant-funded project, the University Libraries have created a graduate student research assistantship, which has been filled by a student from the Department of Theological Studies. The University Libraries wish to thank the Green Scholars Initiative for supporting this work.

The Green Scholars Initiative funds and promotes international research in biblical texts and manuscripts. It is committed to the development of young scholars and fostering their support among the community of established, senior researchers. It conducts research for the Museum of the Bible on the Green Collection, one of the largest collections of biblical manuscripts, printed books, and artifacts in private hands.

The Knights of Columbus Vatican Film Library was established in 1953 with the assistance of the Knights of Columbus and holds microfilm copies of 37,000 manuscripts from the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. It is a research library for medieval and Renaissance manuscript studies that promotes scholarship in all areas of manuscript research. It offers fellowships for study in its collections, publishes the journal Manuscripta, and brings scholars from around the world annually to participate in its Saint Louis Conference on Manuscript Studies. Visit the Vatican Film Library in Pius XII Memorial Library or online or follow our activities through the blog Special Collections Currents.

For further information about this project, contact Dr. Gregory Pass, Director of the Knights of Columbus Vatican Film Library and Assistant Dean for Special Collections at 314-977-3096 or passga@slu.edu.

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41st Saint Louis Conference on Manuscript Studies

The Vatican Film Library will hold its 41st Saint Louis Conference on Manuscript Studies this coming 17-18 October 2014. This annual two-day conference regularly features a wide array of topics in medieval and Renaissance manuscript studies — e.g., paleography, codicology, illumination, book production, texts and transmission, library history, and more.

The 2014 guest speaker will be Mary A. Rouse (University of California, Los Angeles), who will deliver the Lowrie J. Daly, SJ, Memorial Lecture on Manuscript Studies on “Why Paris? Deep Roots of a Medieval University.” This lecture is co-sponsored in partnership with the Saint Louis University Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies.

The 2014 program will include sessions on 1) Heraldry in Medieval Manuscript Illumination, 2) Food Glorious Food: Manuscript Evidence, 3) Coptic Bindings, 4) New Approaches to the Morgan Crusader Bible: Panel on M.638, 5) Captions and their Functions in Medieval Manuscripts, 6) Work in Progress: Frank Coulson (The Ohio State University) and Beth Morrison (J. Paul Getty Museum), and 7) Games.

The guest lecture is free and open to the public and will be held on Friday, 17 October, at 4pm in the Pere Marquette Gallery of DuBourg Hall. Attendance at regular sessions of the conference is open to the public through registration. Saint Louis University students are admitted free of charge.

For further information, visit the conference webpage or contact the Vatican Film Library at 314-977-3090 or vfl@slu.edu.

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Rare Books Exhibition Opening

I am happy to announce the opening of Eloquentia Perfecta: Persuasion and Performance in Jesuit Schools – an exhibition of rare books co-curated by Paul Lynch, Associate Professor of English, and myself. We will be holding an opening reception featuring a curator’s talk by Dr. Lynch entitled, “Perfect Eloquence: Reclaiming the Jesuit Tradition for the 21st Century,” in the Pius XII Memorial Library second floor gallery on Friday, September 5, at 3:00 p.m. The rare books will be on display one floor above, in the Archives and Rare Books Reading Room (Pius 307).

The exhibition explores the Jesuit emphasis on rhetoric in education during the period before the suppression of the Society of Jesus (1773). It traces this theme from the foundational texts of the Ratio Studiorum and Constitutiones, through early writings of Borgia, Suarez, and Perpiña, and onward into the prolific output of Jesuit teachers of rhetoric throughout Europe. It looks backward at the strongest classical influences on Jesuit educational theory and practice. And it shows how the staging of dramatic works, ballets, operas, and orations were important tools used in Jesuit schools for the formation of their pupils.

The exhibition is free and open to the public, and will be on display during regular library hours through July 2015.

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Students in the Stacks: The Spanish Language in Transition

Welcome to “Students in the Stacks,” a new series of posts in which students working in Special Collections write about the finds they just can’t keep to themselves. The first post in this series is by Claire Peterson, a freshman double-major in Spanish and English in the College of Arts and Sciences and a student assistant to Rare Books Librarian Jennifer Lowe.

•     •     •     •     •     •     •     •     •     •     •     •     •     •     •     •     •     •     •     •     •     •     •     •     •     •     •     •     •     •     •     •     •

Diccionario-TP-web

Title page of the dictionary

The first books to capture my attention were early versions of texts familiar to any language student, a dictionary and a grammar. Two volumes in particular, Diccionario de la lengua castellana (1791) and Gramática de la lengua castellana (1796), interested me not only because they were both published by the Real Academia Español, an organization regarded as the authority on the Spanish language, but also because they are 200-year-old precursors of the reference books I use on a daily basis.

Gramatica-TP-web

Title page of the grammar

As antiquarian books, they look very different from my modern textbooks. They are bound in leather with gold-tooled spines and marbled endpapers, printed on handmade laid paper, and were produced at the end of the hand press period in the late 18th century, before industrialization changed bookmaking. A little research revealed that the Gramática is bound in “marbled calf,” and the Diccionario in “tree calf,” both patterns created by the application of acid on the leather. Books bound in marbled calf have random swirling patterns, and tree calf bindings have patterns resembling a tree trunk and branches.

Gramatica-binding-web

The lovely patterns of marbled calf

My examination of the texts themselves revealed some surprising features. In the grammar, I found a remarkable degree of similarity between this work from 1796 and my own Spanish textbooks. Although the orthography of the language has changed considerably, the minimal adjustments made to Spanish grammar make the Gramática useful still in teaching the rules of the language. The grammar’s paradigms and methods of explanation, complete with a student’s absentminded scribblings, look very familiar two centuries later.

Gramatica-annotated-page-web

Si, si, student scribblings!

The first thing to do when opening a dictionary is to look up a favorite word–in my case, entrelazado (interlaced, interwoven). Finding it almost halfway through the Diccionario on page 379, I was intrigued by the fact that the first six letters of the alphabet comprised more than half of the 867-page work. Nothing in the binding or the pagination suggested the book was incomplete. I found the explanation of the lopsidedness in the dictionary’s introduction. Since the last edition, only the entries through the letter “F” had been corrected and augmented, making them much longer than the latter entries, and categorizing the RAE‘s Diccionario as a work in progress.

In order to find out more about the publisher, I consulted some histories of the Spanish language in the general collection. Marking Spain as the last major European nation to establish an academy to oversee its language, the Real Academia Española (RAE) began in 1713 as a group of poets and writers who came together to discuss their literary work. Modeled after and heavily influenced by its French predecessor the Académie française, the RAE is an institution that has been considered the definitive authority on the Spanish language since its beginning. As its motto limpia, fija y da esplendor (“clean, set, and give splendor”) suggests, it sought to standardize the language of the time. Its first publication in 1726 was the Diccionario de autoridades, a dictionary of words collected from and citing passages of Spanish literary works. Eventually it became clear that the seven-thousand-odd pages of entries were perceived by the public as cumbersome and inaccessible, so in the first edition of the Diccionario de la lengua castellana (1780), excerpts from hundreds of Spanish authors were removed.

RAE-device-web

Device of the Real Academia Española

But the noble-sounding motto limpia, fija y da esplendor could have more sinister implications. The dedication of the RAE’s Gramática strikes notes of unification and glorification: “All nations should hold highly their native language, but even more so those who, while embracing a grand number of individuals, enjoy a common language, one that unites them in friendship and interest.” This sentiment addressed to Charles IV, King of Spain and dedicatee of the work, coincides with the policy to make Spanish the official language of the administration and to eliminate the use of native languages in the colonies. On April 16th, 1770, Charles III published a document entitled Real Cédula para que se destierren los diferentes idiomas que se usan en estos dominios, y solo se hable el castellano (“Official document so that different languages that are used in these territories might be banished and only Spanish be spoken”), promulgating his order that Spanish be the dominant language used in Spain and the colonies.

The Jesuits also play a role in this story. In the mid-18th century, in an attempt to significantly reduce the power of the noblemen, the monarchy made an example of the Jesuits. The Crown outlawed the work of the order and pulled out thousands of missionaries because it feared their growing power throughout the colonies. They were replaced with priests who, because of the quick exchange, were told to preach in Spanish since they had not spent years assimilating the native languages of the people as the Jesuits had.

While the joint efforts of the monarchy and the Real Academia Española to standardize the language did succeed, the long-term effects of their work to eliminate other dialects, especially those of the indigenous people of the colonies, are called into question. Persisting throughout the Hispanic-American revolutions of the early 19th century, these policies provide a sharp contrast to the ideals expressed in the dedication of the grammar, making the Diccionario and Gramática quiet witnesses to the evolutions and revolutions of language.

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Curator’s Talk in the Vatican Film Library for “The Rule of Law” — An Exhibition of Medieval Legal Manuscripts

Dan Webb web large

A Curator’s Talk with Daniel Webb, Department of History, for the Exhibit

The Rule of Law: Righting Wrongs and Writing Rights in Medieval Europe

Vatican Film Library
Pius XII Memorial Library, Rm 105
29 April 2014, 4:00 p.m.  

 

Curated by Daniel Webb, doctoral candidate in the Department of History and CMRS Research Assistant in the Vatican Film Library of the Saint Louis University Libraries Special Collections during the academic year 2013–14, this exhibition focuses attention on two aspects of the Western legal tradition: theory and practice.

VFL MS 026_1v edit
Saint Louis University, Pius XII Memorial Library,
Special Collections, VFL MS 26, fol. 1v
Patent of Nobility issued by Philip II of Spain
to Juan de Gayferos
Valladolid, Spain, 1587

In presenting the theory of law, the exhibition presents three representative texts: one examining Roman law; one looking at canon law; and the last demonstrating an effort to combine the first two fields into a grand, unified theory of all law. These works of theory address discrepancies in interpretation and precedent and attempt to evaluate, to find harmony, and to demonstrate that contradictions were more apparent than real.

The second aspect presented, that of practice, illustrates specific ways in which law was used, challenged, and preserved. By means of contracts, official receipts, and court proceedings, we catch glimpses into how law was both utilized and valued. By examining these documents, laboriously hand-written in an age before print, we can come to understand the brilliance and variety of medieval legal thought, so often ignored in discussions of modern jurisprudence, and, by doing so, can more fully appreciate the depth of our legal heritage.

The curator’s talk will be followed by a reception. The exhibition will be on display Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, through 31 July 2014 in the Vatican Film Library of Pius XII Memorial Library. For further information, contact Susan L’Engle, Assistant Director of the Vatican Film Library, at 314-977-3084, lengles@slu.edu.

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New Issue of Manuscripta – 57.2 (2013)

The Vatican Film Library announces the latest issue of its biannual journal on medieval and Renaissance manuscript studies, Manuscripta: A Journal for Manuscript Research. In publication since 1957, the journal features articles and reviews and welcomes submissions on medieval and Renaissance manuscript production, distribution, reception, and transmission — encompassing paleography, codicology, illumination, textual criticism, library history, reading & literacy, catalogues, and other subjects.

manuscripta 57-2 web large

Articles:

  • Melissa Conway and Lisa Fagin Davis, “The Directory of Institutions in the United States and Canada with Pre-1600 Manuscript Holdings: From its Origins to the Present, and its Role in Tracking the Migration of Manuscripts in North American Repositories
  • Elizabeth Moodey, “Towards a Portrait of a Late-Medieval Mastermind: Jean Miélot”
  • Kenneth B. Steinhauser, “A Catalogue of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts Located at Villanova University”
  • Edward Wheatley, “Newberry Case MS 153 and the Circulation of Curricular Texts”

Reviews:

  • Kerby-Fulton, Kathryn, Maidie Hilmo, and Linda Olson. Opening up Middle English Manuscripts: Literary and Visual Approaches (Ruth Evans
  • Shalev-Eyni, Sarit. Jews among Christians: Hebrew Book Illumination from Lake Constance (Adam Cohen)

Submissions
The journal accepts articles and notes on topics relating to medieval and Renaissance manuscript studies, including (but not limited to) paleography, codicology, illumination, library history, reading and literacy, and manuscript catalogues.

Contributions are evaluated by peer review. Material for consideration should be submitted in English, following the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed., with footnotes, double-spaced, and in electronic form (Microsoft Word). Please include an abstract of no more than 150 words as well as ten keywords. Citations and footnotes should be robust and full manuscript shelfmarks are expected. Where appropriate, please include citations to pertinent critical editions.

“Manuscript Notes” are a means to share preliminary observations, conjectures, and conclusions. The maximum length of submissions for such notes is 1,200-1,500 words (including foot notes), with accommodation for up to two black-and-white illustrations.

Address submissions and books for review to Manuscripta, Knights of Columbus Vatican Film Library, Pius XII Memorial Library, Saint Louis University, 3650 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108-3302 or to vfl@slu.edu

Subscriptions
Manuscripta (ISSN 0025-2603) is published twice annually, and subscriptions are available through Brepols Publishers in print, print + online, and online forms. Print back issues for 1957-98 are available from the Vatican Film Library at $10 per issue.

Inquiries should be directed to the Editor, Susan L’Engle.

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Let’s Go Bills!

1915-16 Team Captain Carl Jay Althaus

1915-16 Team Captain Carl Jay Althaus, The Archive 1916.

The SLU University Archives wishes our Saint Louis University Billikens good luck as they prepare to meet the North Carolina State University Wolfpack in the second round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament this evening in Orlando, Florida. Tonight’s game marks the Billikens’ third consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament, a first in SLU’s history, and the ninth overall appearance in the NCAA tourney.

This evening’s game against the Wolfpack, is the first time Saint Louis University and North Carolina State University have met in men’s basketball in the nearly 100 year history of basketball at SLU.

2013-14 Team Captain Dwayne Evans

2013-14 Team Captain Dwayne Evans.  (Photo provided courtesy of Billiken Media Relations)

However this is not the first time that the Saint Louis University Billikens have made it to a national championship basketball game. The 1947/1948 Saint Louis University Billikens men’s basketball team (depicted below) won the prestigious National Invitational Tournament championship. While that team is usually considered the most successful team in the history of men’s basketball at SLU, the current Billiken senior class has won more games than any other class in SLU Basketball history.

1947-48 NIT Champions

1947-48 NIT Champions, The Archive 1948.

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“The Rule of Law: Righting Wrongs and Writing Rights in Medieval Europe” — A New Exhibition in the Vatican Film Library

The Vatican Film Library of the Saint Louis University Libraries Special Collections announces its current exhibition of medieval manuscripts, The Rule of Law: Righting Wrongs and Writing Rights in Medieval Europe, on display Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, running 12 February 2014–1 August 2014 in the Vatican Film Library (Rm. 105) of Pius XII Memorial Library.

VFL MS 026_1v edit

Saint Louis University, Pius XII Memorial Library,
Special Collections, VFL MS 26, fol. 1v
Patent of Nobility issued by Philip II of Spain
to Juan de Gayferos
Valladolid, Spain, 1587

Rights—Consent—Liberty—Equality. These words evoke strong feelings in the hearts of most Americans, and resonate in many constitutions of western democracies. When most of us think about the roots of these democracies, our minds leap from ancient Greece and perhaps the Roman Republic straight to the Enlightenment and the work of John Locke. Chances are that the Middle Ages lie forgotten in our picture of the democratic principles we enjoy. Yet modern notions of the equality of humankind, the necessity of liberty, the consent of the governed, and the self-evidence of human-rights were most fully elaborated not in classical Athens but in twelfth-century Italy, emerging from the studies of civil law (Roman law) and church law (canon law).

Medieval scholars and jurists wrestled with theory—the origin and interaction of laws, rights, and customs—as well as practice, as they suggested new interpretations for very old laws. Legal scholars commented on ancient texts, then commented on those comments, and even wrote stand-alone volumes of those commentaries. Meanwhile, students using these works scribbled their thoughts in the margins.

From the University of Bologna and other medieval scholarly centers, legal study became one of the most dominant fields of inquiry and helped foster a culture aware of the rights of individuals. The work of these students and scholars forged a vital step along the path that ultimately inspired the immortal words of Thomas Jefferson, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

This exhibit focuses attention on two aspects of the western legal tradition: theory and practice. In presenting the theory of law, the exhibition presents three representative texts: one examining Roman law; one looking at canon law; and the last demonstrating an effort to combine the first two fields into a grand, unified theory of all law. These works of theory address discrepancies in interpretation and precedent and attempt to evaluate, to find harmony, and to demonstrate that contradictions were more apparent than real. The second aspect presented, that of practice, illustrates specific ways in which law was used, challenged, and preserved. By means of contracts, official receipts, and court proceedings, we catch glimpses into how law was both utilized and valued. By examining these documents, laboriously hand-written in an age before print, we can come to understand the brilliance and variety of medieval legal thought, so often ignored in discussions of modern jurisprudence, and, by doing so, can more fully appreciate the depth of our legal heritage.

VFL MS 033_recto edit

Saint Louis University, Pius XII Memorial Library,
Special Collections, VFL MS 33
Grant by Pierre le Jaire
Provins, France, December 1267

This exhibition is curated by Daniel Webb, doctoral student in the History Department and CMRS Research Assistant in the Vatican Film Library during academic year 2013–14. For further information, contact Susan L’Engle, Assistant Director of the Vatican Film Library, at 314-977-3084, lengles@slu.edu .

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