The term’s third set of CamCREES notes cover the 18 February seminar at which three researchers, including two PhD students, discussed the renowned filmmakers Oleksandr Dovzhenko and Milcho Manchevski. Using the example of the recently published Dovzhenko diaries discussed at the session, the notes also look at open-access and closed-access classification in the University Library.
The third CamCREES session of the Lent term started with a talk by Dr Elena Tchougounova-Paulson about her work on the papers of the great Soviet-era director, producer, and screenwriter Oleksandr Dovzhenko (Aleksandr in Russian). His archive is collection 2081 in RGALI, the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art, where Dr Tchougounova-Paulson was a researcher. Descriptions of the Dovzhenko collection, whose contents number over 2,500 items, can be read (in Russian) starting from the collection’s front page here on RGALI’s website.
A late fifteenth-century Italian Book of Hours bequeathed to the University Library by Samuel Sandars
The subject of Cambridge’s Sandars Lectures for 2013-2014 is the man whose bequest in 1895 instituted the Sandars Readership in Bibliography. Samuel Sandars (1837-1894) made many notable donations to the University Library during his lifetime, and complemented these with noteworthy collections of early English printing, books on vellum, fine bindings and over a hundred incunabula in his 1894 bequest, as well as the manuscripts which form the subject of this year’s lecture series, Samuel Sandars as collector of illuminated manuscripts. Professor Nigel Morgan, Emeritus Honorary Professor of the History of Art in the University of Cambridge, gave his first lecture on Wednesday February 26th. Two more lectures are planned for March 5th and March 12th.
Whilst Professor Morgan emphasised that Sandars was not a rich man when compared with some of the notable American collectors in the final decades of the nineteenth century, he estimates that Sandars gave a total of 150 manuscripts and cuttings to Cambridge. The majority are held in the University Library, with smaller collections in the Fitzwilliam Museum and Trinity College. In his first lecture Professor Morgan spoke about Sandars the collector of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, and his relations with University Librarians Henry Bradshaw and Francis Jenkinson, and with M.R. James in his capacity as cataloguer of manuscripts and director of the Fitzwilliam Museum. The lecture made extensive reference to the manuscripts which Sandars presented to the University during his own lifetime. Continue reading
Hidden away in a corner of the twelfth floor of the University Library Tower are several boxes containing ephemera dating back to the Second World War. The only access via the Library’s catalogues are short descriptions in the secondary card catalogue at the heading War of 1939-1945 which read Propaganda leaflets dropped over enemy and enemy controlled countries during the War of 1939- and Miscellaneous leaflets and other printed ephemera connected with the war of 1939-1945. The majority of these items were donated to the Library while the war was still going on. Many of them are examples of information and propaganda leaflets with official translations attached, which the RAF dropped over many different countries of mainland Europe during the war but there are other isolated gems which we will feature here over the coming months.
Russia’s recent PR hasn’t been good, despite (and sometimes because of) the Sochi Olympics. Sochi itself was even the location of the Putin/Ianukovych meeting often considered the catalyst for the shocking events we have seen unfold in Ukraine. So what did the Olympic opening ceremony have to say in favour of Russia? Rather a lot.
The Sochi 2014 opening ceremony did not attract total approval. Many news sites and commentators focused on the failure of the fifth snowflake to turn into an Olympic ring (a technical failure nicely taken off in the closing ceremony held last night, with a will-it/won’t-it sequence mirroring the original). Many also focused on the surprising/unsurprising involvement of Alina Kabaeva, rumoured to be Putin’s partner, in the finishing stages of the torch relay. Others, though, found more interesting food for thought. This University of Nottingham blog post, for example, looks at the way in which the ceremony’s representation of Russian history and culture played to domestic and international audiences.
The ceremony opened with the azbuka, the Russian alphabet. Each letter was paired with someone or something related to it, even if not always straightforwardly (the use of Pushkin for the letter ъ (the hard sign, a letter whose use was significantly curtailed by the early Soviet orthography reforms but which had previously been very common (Pushkin’s own name would have ended with it during his lifetime)) was a bit of a stretch). The azbuka sequence works well as a section to look at in more detail, since its make-up is representative of the broader issues of a ceremony which celebrated Russian history and culture – including the choices the organisers made about what to include.
Upon his death in 1898, Stéphane Mallarmé was working on a definitive edition of his work Un coup de dés, the iconic poem of European modernism, with the publisher Ambroise Vollard. Mallarmé’s amendments to the text of the poem published in Cosmopolis in 1897 involve changes to the typeface and layout of the poem in order to emphasise his interest in structure and graphic layout. This edition was well advanced, and sets of proofs survive in the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BNF) and the Bibliothèque littéraire Jacques Doucet which have precise annotations relating to format, size and proportion. The text was to include lithographs by Mallarmé’s friend Odilon Redon, and was composed in Didot. It was never published.
Un coup de dès jamais n’abolira le hasard
The first so-called original edition in book form, which was published by Gallimard in 1914 (a digitised copy of which is available through the BNF), ignored Mallarmé’s vision and intended layout. The University Library’s copy is missing, and perhaps Mallarmé would not have lamented its disappearance, since it is printed in Elzevir, a font which Mallarmé disliked, and the page size is wrong. Nevertheless, this version of the text became standard, and also the basis for most translations, including those in English. Continue reading
“Lettere scritte da donna”, a book for women published in 1737. CCD.17.15
The display cases outside the Map Department are hosting a new exhibition entitled ”Conduct literature for and about women in Italy: prescribing and describing life”. The display marks the conclusion of an 18-month Leverhulme Trust–Isaac Newton Trust co-funded project on the production of printed conduct literature for and about women in Italy, between 1470 and 1900. Undertaken by Principal Investigator Dr Helena Sanson and Research Associate Dr Francesco Lucioli, and providing a systematic study of women’s conduct books over a broad chronological span, the project is the first of its kind in the field of Italian studies. A conference on the subject is being held in Cambridge on 20 and 21st March, and more information can be found here.
Read more about the exhibition on the Special Collections blog.