Historical Medical Library

Forbidden Knowledge — Book Talk

Virtual Event

Wooden bookcase with old books.
Wooden bookcase with old books.

Event Details

Event Date




6:00pm - 7:00pm

Event Cost


Past Event

As part of , join Harvard University professor Hannah Marcus, PhD in conversation with our Special Collections and Rare Books Librarian Tyi Marx as they discuss Marcus’ book Forbidden Knowledge: Medicine, Science, and Censorship in Early Modern Italy.



About this Event: 


Forbidden Knowledge: Medicine, Science, and Censorship in Early Modern Italy (University of Chicago Press, 2020), explores the censorship of medical books from their proliferation in print through the prohibitions placed on many of these texts during the Counter-Reformation. This account explains how and why the books prohibited by the Catholic Church in Italy ended up back on the shelves of private and public Italian libraries in the seventeenth century. It was awarded the Morris D. Forkosch Prize for the best first book in intellectual history by the Journal of the History of Ideas and the Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize in Italian History by the American Catholic Historical Association. 


About the Speakers: 


Hannah Marcus is the John and Ruth Hazel Associate Professor of the Social Sciences in the Department of the History of Science and the Interim Faculty Director of the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments at Harvard University. Her research focuses on the scientific culture of early modern Europe between 1400 and 1700. 

Marcus earned her BA at the University of Pennsylvania and her PhD at Stanford University in 2016. At Harvard, she teaches courses on the changes in scientific ideas and practice between the medieval and early modern periods, especially focusing on the early history of science, medicine, and the body, communication technologies, and the relationship between faith and science. She supervises graduate students working on questions related to science in premodernity. Marcus’s undergraduate teaching was recognized with the Roslyn Abramson Award, for “excellence and sensitivity in teaching undergraduates” and her mentorship has been recognized by the Harvard Graduate Student Council with the Everett Mendelsohn Excellence in Mentoring Award. 


Tyi Marx received her B.A. in English, with a concentration in Writing and Rhetoric from Florida Atlantic University, and her M.S. in Library and Information Science, with a concentration in Rare Books and Special Collections from Long Island University. Tyi’s professional interests include reference and instruction, information literacy in relation to rare books and special collections, accessibility to collections material, and preserving collections material.