Québécois literature and the first London edition of “Festival America”

The French collections at Cambridge University Library aim to capture a broad range of Francophone literature. Though quite a few Francophone writers have contracts with French publishing houses, we also buy publications from North Africa, the Caribbean, and Québec (readers’ recommendations for Cambridge University library, especially for Francophone material, are always welcome). Continue reading

Lost and found : two September 2018 Slavonic items of the month

Last week, two 19th-century Russian books were brought to me by a Rare Books colleague who had found by chance that they had no record in the online catalogue. An invisible title is a librarian’s (and reader’s) nightmare – without catalogue records, we may as well be without books.  Now that these two volumes, lost to readers (except those still dipping into the old physical guard book catalogues) for decades, have been found, I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate them in a blog post.

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Strega prize 2018 – goes to a woman, for the first time in 15 years

In July the most prestigious of the Italian literary prizes was won by Helena Janeczek, for her work La ragazza con la Leica (C213.c.6240). Although many female authors have been nominated for the prize in the past, there has not been a female winner since Melania Mazzucco in 2003. La ragazza con la Leica is about Gerda Taro, a war photographer who died during the Spanish Civil war, and it had already won the Bagutta prize earlier this year. Continue reading

Dutch history revisited

In 2015 we wrote about books shortlisted for the 2014 Libris Geschiedenis Prijs, showing that we selectively buy Dutch books on major Dutch historical topics or those with a strong interdisciplinary appeal. In this post we look at a few books acquired in the intervening years which have been shortlisted for the same prize:

First, from the 2015 shortlist, is Cees Fasseur’s Eigen meester, niemands knecht: het leven van Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy, Minister-president van Nederland in de Tweede Wereldoorlog (C214.c.2469). This substantial work is the first major biography of the man who held the important position of Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1940 to 1945 in exile in London.

Nominated for the 2016 prize was De roofkoning: Prins Willem III en de invasie van Engeland by Machiel Bosman (C213.c.3769). Books about William of Orange and his connections with England hold obvious appeal for us. This well-researched but concise account is a combination of history book and novel, telling the story of William’s invasion of England from the different perspectives of the main protagonists. William of Orange is a main player too in the book featured from last year’s shortlist, Oranje tegen de Zonnekoning: de strijd tussen Willem III en Lodewijk XIV om Europa by Luc Panhuysen (C212.c.6787), a comprehensive description of the intense rivalry between Louis XIV and William of Orange who were 17th century contemporaries. Continue reading

New Ukrainian acquisitions : the August 2018 Slavonic items of the month

Last August’s Slavonic blog post looked at new literature from Ukraine.  A year on, particularly with the centenary this month of the foundation of the Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine, it feels appropriate to look at some of this summer’s most recent Ukrainian-language arrivals.

Links to iDiscover records: book on left — middle book —  book on right

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