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International Articles: Dan Brown donates €300,000 to digitise mystical books that inspired him

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Dan Brown donates €300,000 to digitise mystical books that inspired him.

Article in The Guardian by Allison Flood, 17-06-2016

Da Vinci Code author gives money to help the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica in Amsterdam make collection available online to ‘people around the world’

Photograph: Piroschka van de Wouw/EPA

Photograph: Piroschka van de Wouw/EPA

Dan Brown, whose hero Robert Langdon is able to crack ancient codes with ease, has donated €300,000 (£237,000) to the Dutch library whose priceless collection of antique manuscripts helped inspire his bestselling thrillers.

Brown’s gift to Amsterdam’s Ritman Library, which is also known as the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica, will go towards digitising and preserving its core collection so that the texts might be viewable online by the public. The library holds around 4,600 manuscripts and books that were printed before 1900, and about 20,000 printed after 1900, covering topics including alchemy and mysticism.

Brown, who visited the library on several occasions while he was writing his bestselling novels The Lost Symbol and Inferno, described it as a “great honour to play a role in this important preservation initiative that will make these texts available to the public”.

In a YouTube video, where he appears from behind a revolving bookcase in his personal library, Brown said that he had “always been fascinated in ancient mysticism” and that “one of the greatest repositories on Earth of books and texts on this topic is the Ritman Library in Amsterdam”.

“They are currently embarking on a bold quest to digitise and preserve an enormous part of their collection, and I feel very honoured to play a small part in that process. I look forward with enormous anticipation to the day coming very soon when people around the world will be able to access these texts,” said The Da Vinci Code author. The library hopes that its core collection will be available online by next spring.

Library director Esther Ritman said that thanks to Brown, the library’s dream of becoming open to all was becoming a reality. She said: “This library … is a treasure house of the human mind. It’s a place where books engage with people. It’s a place where wisdom and traditions flow together into one river of life. This library is a place where science, spirituality and society meet. It’s a true embassy of the free mind, a home to anyone seeking and offering inspiration and power of thought. It’s a place where Dan Brown found and offered inspiration.”

“Thanks to [him] we can digitise this entire core collection of our library.”

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/jun/17/dan-brown-donates-300000-to-digitise-mystical-books-that-inspired-him

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