Griffithiana: a silent film and classic animation journal

Former University Library staff member Glynne Parker died in October 2011, and after his death his wonderful collection of printed matter and ephemera on film was presented to the Library. At the time of writing, about 50% of the 2800 items have been catalogued. The general collection will feature in a future blog post, but some material is particularly worthy of mention.


First issue of Griffithiana, 1978.

Friuli-Venezia Giulia is probably one of the lesser known Italian regions, but its position as one of Italy’s “most cinematic” regions attracts cinema lovers and experts from all over the world. It is home to seven major international film festivals (see list below) and to the Cineteca Nazionale del Friuli which, amongst other ventures -like film conservation-, published Griffithiana, a biannual journal named after D.W. Griffith, with articles and monographic issues related to the study of silent cinema and classic animation. Continue reading

Shrovetide carnival plays

The University Library has recently acquired a rare edition of three early dramatic pieces by Goethe, the Neueröfnetes moralisch-politisches Puppenspiel (7001.d.268), which like Werther was published for the Leipzig autumn fair of 1774, when Goethe was 25 years old. The Library’s copy, bound in later period vellum with red morocco lettering pieces, is in excellent condition with only minimal browning. The title-page has a vignette of a seated boy striking with a sword at a slate bearing letters of the alphabet.

Neueröfnetes moralisch-politisches Puppenspiel (7001.d.268)

Neueröfnetes moralisch-politisches Puppenspiel (7001.d.268)

The three works in question are a dramatic poem, Des Künstlers Erdewallen, and two Shrovetide carnival pantomimes, Jahrmarktsfest zu Plundersweilern and Ein Fastnachtsspiel vom Pater Brey. In his Goethe, the poet and the age, Nicholas Boyle summarises the Jahrmarktsfest zu Plundersweilern : “In a fairground setting a vivid and satirical kaleidoscope of figures, quacks, gypsies, peasants, pedlars from Nuremberg and the Tyrol, an Italian barrel-organist, and one or two more characters from the refined classes, all conversing in a lively rhyming farrago, form an audience for a play within the play: the biblical folk-story of Queen Esther and the villainous Haman”.

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Where is 21st century Latin American fiction heading?

A screenshot of the collaborative online translation project “Palabras errantes” presented at the seminar.

A screenshot of the collaborative online translation project “palabras errantes” presented at the seminar.

What are the new trends in Latin American fiction? Can we go beyond the general conviction that, after the ‘60s “boom”, Latin American fiction experienced a steady decline both in the quality and quantity of literary works produced? How are researchers, librarians and publishers reacting to this in the UK? These and many more questions were answered at the seminar 21st Century Fiction from Latin America  held on Wednesday 12th of February 2014 at Senate House, London.

The panorama of 21st Latin American fiction is hugely vast and exciting, as was evidenced by the very stimulating contributions presented at the Seminar. Here we mention some of them. Continue reading

El Moudjahid

El Moudjahid is currently an Algerian French language newspaper, published daily (except on Fridays) and founded in 1962 at the end of the Algerian War of Independence. It had previously been used during the War as the title of the information bulletin of the FLN, the “organe central du Front de libération nationale”, which was widely circulated amongst resistance fighters. El Moudjahid was first published clandestinely from June 1956 in Algiers, then, for issues 8-10 in Morocco, and from November 1st 1957 in Tunis. An Arabic version was also produced, Al Mudjâhid, with somewhat different content.

El Moudjahid - T644.b.26.1-3

El Moudjahid – T644.b.26.1-3

In 1962 the content of El Moudjahid was reprinted as a three volume monographic set with analytical indices – by a printer based in Belgrade in Yugoslavia. This is indicative of the close ties which existed between Algerians and Yugoslavs at this time. Belgrade gave strong support to the provisional government in Tunis from 1957, and established a clinic for wounded soldiers of the Algerian liberation army, for example. Continue reading

Modern Greek in the University Library

Cover of 'Thalassina eidyllia (1887-1891)' by Alexandros Papadiamantes (S706.d.94.14)

Cover of ‘Thalassina eidyllia (1887-1891)’ by Alexandros Papadiamantes (S706.d.94.14)

The University Library’s Modern Greek collection, which numbers over 13,000 items, is now represented on the Library’s language-specific webpages.  An introduction to the collection, with an explanation about transliteration and a guide to history and literature classmarks, has been put up on this page.  The text of that page is provided in this blog post.

The Modern Greek collection

The University Library has got over 13,000 items in Modern Greek in the electronic catalogue, stretching from the 16th century to the current day.  The 16th to 18th centuries are represented by over 400 books in total, and then the 19th century sees a leap up to over 1,000 items.  A greater leap still follows for the 20th century, with over 8,500.  The 21st century is so far represented by nearly 3,000 books.

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World War 2 propaganda (2)

The second in our short series of posts on World War 2 propaganda features an interesting leaflet. Most of the propaganda leaflets in the University Library’s collections are examples of leaflets which the RAF dropped over mainland Europe. But this one is a leaflet dropped by the German Luftwaffe over Britain, in this case landing in the Essex village of Birdbrook, south of Haverhill.

The leaflet was sent to the Librarian by Herbert Richmond, then a 77 year old Fellow of King’s College, with an accompanying letter in which he related how a large number of the leaflets (which he described as ridiculous) were found in a cardboard box near to a small balloon which had come down in a hedge. His niece presumably lived in the village and had got hold of a copy for him to pass to the University Library.

Untitled Continue reading

The revue Lignes

Several members of the French Department have recently expressed concern that Cambridge’s subscription to the journal Lignes (classmark : L700.c.386) had lapsed. Thanks to the efforts of our supplier in Paris, we have just succeeded in bringing our holdings up to date. Doctoral candidate Adrian May explains why this title is so significant.


The most recent volumes of Lignes

The most recent volumes of Lignes

Lignes, founded in 1987 and still publishing today, is a French intellectual revue, a thrice-yearly, para-academic periodical publication in whose pages contemporary and heated debates on philosophy, politics, art and literature are played out. Directed by the Georges Bataille specialist Michel Surya, Lignes is one of the only publications to carry on the legacy of the ‘French theory’ generation of the 1960s and 1970s, which propelled the likes of Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault and Roland Barthes to international fame.

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