On the Cover: A Closer Look at the Liberal Arts

Institutiones Linguae Graecae

The cover of the Spring 2011 issue of Drury magazine features the title page of the Institutiones Linguae Graecae (1570) from the Drury University archives. It was published in 1570 by the printing house of Aldus Manutius, probably the most famous printer of Venice. The dolphin and anchor is the Aldine impresa, or trademark. The image represents an oxymoron, since it shows a dolphin, traditionally held to be the fastest creature in the ocean, wrapped around an anchor, which represents something fixed in place that is not moving at all.

The dolphin and anchor image also signifies a traditional Latin saying, festina lente, or "make haste slowly." Manutius chose this paradox because it represented very well the work of a printer, who had to work quickly enough to produce books, but slowly enough to ensure that the work produced by the text was accurate and free of mistakes.

More from University Archivist William Garvin on Designing at Building with W.B. Yeats: Sweat, Anguish and Tradition of Liberal Learning at Drury.

From Liberal Arts to Body Art

The liberal arts experience may differ from student to student, and often, young scholars take away a deeper meaning from their learning experience in the classroom. Such is the case for one of University Archivist William Garvin's students, who was so moved by the meaning of the Aldine impresa that he decided to take it as his own.

Nate Shuler, a student in Garvin's History of the Printed Book class, took a photo of the book's title page with his iPhone in class one day, emailed it to a local tattoo artist, then went to the artist to have the image tattooed on his calf. The process itself took about 45 minutes, and while Shuler said it wasn't terribly painful, he did say the feeling was difficult to describe.

As for his instructor's take on the body art, Shuler waited until the tattoo was complete to even mention to Garvin the "real world" application of knowledge received in class. So after completing his spring midterm, Shuler stepped into Garvin's office to talk about a project he was working on. Garvin assumed his student was working with another professor on a related project, and wanted to share the details of that work with Garvin. Instead, Nate reached down, pulled the hem of his pants up to his knee and revealed the large tattoo of the emblem on his calf.

Garvin said that Shuler's real-world application of his coursework was a first in his years of teaching.

"I really want to tell Nate's parents this: I just pass on information," Garvin said with a smile. "I can't be responsible for what students do with that information."

Video: The Shuler Impresa