Last autumn, the University Library exhibited several books signed by major Russian authors such as Ivan Bunin. Vera Tsareva-Brauner, of the University’s Slavonic Section, who found the autographs, will talk about her extraordinary discoveries on 28 May at 5pm in the Library. The talk is open to all.
Cambridge University Library has just acquired a collection of about 230 French illustrated poetry books ranging from 1841 to 1970 and beyond. They were collected by Martin Stone, an English guitarist as well as rare books dealer and collector who passed away in 2016. The collection consists mainly of outstanding first editions, many of which printed on special paper and containing signatures and dedications by and to prominent figures of the Parisian art world (Cocteau, Apollinaire, Marie Laurencin etc.). It is very strong from a literary perspective, with major or lesser-known French and Belgian poets, ranging from Symbolist and Decadent writing to the 20th century Modernist avant-gardes, which reverberated across the globe.
The generosity of Professor Nigel Morgan to the University Library has been written about before in our blog, in an April 2015 post. Since then, Professor Morgan’s donations have continued to come in, and the collection only yesterday of the latest batch of treasures provides a good reason for giving an update.
Each book donated by Professor Morgan, Emeritus Honorary Professor of the History of Art in the University of Cambridge and Sandars Reader in 2013-2014, contains a heading in the catalogue record for him as the donor. An advanced search in iDiscover which combines his authorised form (Morgan, Nigel J.) with the formula former owner and specifying the UL as the holding library brings up at the time of writing well over 900 results. The latest donation contains nearly 100 volumes, so before long the results will number over 1,000. Continue reading
A recent Russian arrival to the University Library takes as its subject tourism in the Soviet Union. Skvoz “zheleznyi zanaves” : See USSR! : inostrannye turisty i prizrak potemkinskikh derevenʹ (Through the Iron Curtain : See USSR! : foreign tourists and the spectre of Potemkin villages; C215.c.1563) is by Igor’ Orlov and Aleksei Popov. Visitors to the Soviet Union normally saw the country in carefully choreographed tours arranged by the state agency Intourist. Such control made sure that the tourists saw strictly what they were meant to see, hence the mention in the book’s titles of Potemkin villages – shorthand for ensuring that appearances support the desired narrative (the term comes from Catherine the Great’s favourite, Potemkin, pulling the wool over her eyes by assembling fake village fronts during a tour).
We highlighted last autumn the winner of the prestigious Strega prize, one of the most important literary prizes awarded in Italy. It was won for the first time in 15 years by a woman – Helena Janeczek for her novel La ragazza con la Laica (C213.c.6240).
The other four major literary prizes that we focus on were awarded in the last 12 months as follows: Continue reading