In August 1914, Germany and Austro-Hungary declared war on Russia, and the bloody Eastern Front of the First World War opened. The war saw a great deal of propaganda on all sides, some surprisingly humorous. We look at a mischievous pamphlet from Petrograd (renamed from the Germanic “Sankt-Peterburg” that same month) about Kaiser Wilhelm.
Front cover of N.A. Ratomskii’s Chto dumaet Vil’gel’m kogda emu ne spitsia? (CCC.54.469)
Imperial Russia’s involvement in the First World War was disastrous, seeing the deaths of millions of soldiers and eventually the empire’s own demise too. The bloody Eastern Front opened after Russia’s incursion into Galicia with the Battle of Tannenberg, a battle lost so catastrophically by the Russians that their commander, Aleksandr Samsonov, chose to commit suicide than face the Tsar.
Anti-German sentiment was at fever pitch in Russia, and in August 1914, the empire’s capital, Sankt-Peterburg (St Petersburg) was renamed Petrograd to be more Slavic. The University Library has about 30 publications printed in 1914 with the place of publication given as Petrograd. Among these is Chto dumaet Vil’gel’m kogda emu ne spitsia? (What does Wilhelm think about when he can’t sleep?; CCC.54.469), by N.A. Ratomskii.
70 years ago Lucien Nachin published his book on General de Gaulle, entitled Charles de Gaulle : général de France. It was printed in Paris on August 25th 1944. A copy has just been added to the University Library’s collections, as part of the ever-expanding Literature of the Liberation collection, which has as one of its objectives the depiction of the French experience in print between 1944 and 1946.
Charles de Gaulle / L. Nachin
This book appears at first glance to be completely unremarkable, but it in fact gives a vivid indication of French publishing activity of the period. It should be remembered that it was printed on the very same day that the German garrison occupying Paris surrendered. The colophon gives a sense of the secrecy and urgency with which the print run was prepared -Cet ouvrage, préparé et rédigé sous l’Occupation pour les Éditions Colbert, a été composé et tiré grace à l’organisation clandestine des Ateliers Brodard et Taupin.
The speed and difficulty surrounding the publication is described in the Note de l’éditeur on the title-page verso:
La rapidité avec laquelle ce livre a été composé, les conditions dans lesquelles il a été tiré, par les moyens de fortune, sans gaz et sans électricité (voir “l’achevé d’imprimer” à l’avant dernière page) ont entraîné un certain nombre d’erreurs typographiques dont nous nous excusons. Continue reading
Recent graphic novel acquisitions.
Graphic novels are a well-established aspect of French literature. 32 million were sold in 2012. A glance around any large French bookshop will find not just the famous French comic books – Largo Winch and Adèle Blanc-sec, Astérix and Tintin —but also works on political scandals, international politics and adaptations of novels. The University Library, however, does not have a consistent policy regarding acquisition of such material.
The Culturethèque (“the digital platform of the Institut français du Royaume-Uni”) offers a variety of ‘comic books’ available to read online to users in the UK. This type of material is not generally acquired by the UL. As with popular fiction, the UL has been unsure of which bandes dessinées to buy, and how to complement the University’s teaching and research needs.
The UL has recently purchased a number of graphic novels in French, among them : Continue reading
Cambridge University Library is happy to announce its recent subscription to the Colombian magazine Art Nexus.
Recent issue of Art Nexus (no. 93, June 2014)
Art Nexus was originally published in 1976 as Arte en Colombia. In 1992 it changed its name to Art Nexus in order to raise awareness of Colombian and Latin American art worldwide. The magazine, published quarterly in English and Spanish, is a leading publication on Latin American and Caribbean art, with an emphasis on Colombia. Along with the ArtNexus.com portal, the journal has helped to draw attention to Latin American art and its impact on the global art scene. Continue reading
The UL recently acquired a beautiful book (S950.a.201.2298) that compiles the complete Colombian diaries and paintings of a 19th Century Andalucian poet and dramatist named José María Gutiérrez Alba. The backstory behind these is as fascinating as the diaries themselves.
José María Gutiérrez Alba travelled to Colombia in 1870, ostensibly to work as a bookseller. However, the real purpose of his arrival was to secretly provide information to the Spanish government that might help them to build commercial relations with Colombia. Gutiérrez Alba did not have much success selling books and Spain soon lost interest in his “mission”, but he ended up staying in Colombia for another 13 years, becoming heavily involved with the country’s agriculture and founding the journal El Cachaco.
Some of Gutiérrez Alba’s diaries and an extract of his writing.
European Drama and Performance Studies
The Library has recently taken out a subscription to a new peer-reviewed print journal, European drama and performance studies, devoted to the study of the history of the performing arts. Current issues are kept in pigeonhole 384, and back numbers at L415.c.418. Although the journal’s title suggests very general coverage, the first two issues have concentrated exclusively on French drama. However, it is intended that the coverage will eventually include all periods and areas, and interdisciplinary and comparative subjects will feature prominently. Continue reading