A Ukrainian almanac for 75 years ago : the January 2023 UL Slavonic item of the month

The book’s cover

As the first month of the new year draws to a close, it felt appropriate to look at Ukrainian kalendar’ al’manakh for 1948, 75 years ago.

On its title page, it describes 1948 as a jubilee year, and refers back to the three years of 1648, 1848, and 1918.  1648 saw the start of the Cossack uprising against the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth which would eventually lead to the creation of the Cossack Hetmanate state.  Two centuries later, Galician Ukraine was in the Austrian Empire, and 1848 saw the creation of the Holovna Rus’ka Rada (Supreme Ruthenian Council) in L’viv, which determined the blue-yellow flag Ukraine uses to this day and oversaw the publication of the first Ukrainian-language newspaper, Zoria Halytska (Galician Star, or Galician Dawn).  1918 saw immense changes in Ukraine, starting with the 22 January declaration of the independent state of Ukraine. Continue reading

CUL Liberation Ukraine lecture exhibition

In November 2022, the annual Cambridge University Libraries Liberation Literature Lecture focused on Ukraine and was accompanied by a small exhibition of Ukrainian material from the UL, selected in part by local Ukrainians.  The recording of Cambridge’s Dr Rory Finnin’s brilliant talk is now available on the UL YouTube channel, with Ukrainian subtitles, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mwHgQjfkwI.  This blog post provides the captions (in Ukrainian and English) for the accompanying pop-up display. Continue reading

Dutch prizewinners

We have written before about the usefulness of the Libris Geschiedenis Prijs longlists and shortlists for helping us to choose suitable books on Dutch history for our collections. This is a topic that we have not revisited since 2019 so in this post I will highlight some of our relevant purchases from the last three years and also consider a couple of other new prizes worth keeping an eye on. Continue reading

Older Ukrainian material via the HathiTrust

Cambridge has standard, unlocked access to books out of copyright held in the HathiTrust digitised book collection.  Covid-era Cambridge readers may remember that we had full access to the whole collection for some months, when physical restrictions made our print copies almost inaccessible, but even the limited HathiTrust access we have in more normal times is a great bonus for those reading older material.

Screenshot of the first results of my search

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Current Francophone Haitian literature

Colonised by the Spanish and then the French until its successful revolution and independence in 1804, Haiti plays an important role within Francophone literature. However, it still bears the traces of the catastrophic 2010 earthquake (which claimed between 100,000 and 300,000 lives), followed by an extended period of political uncertainty and upheaval. This was further aggravated by the 2016 Hurricane Matthew (which, though less lethal, left 175,000 people homeless). This series of disasters has meant that at Cambridge University Library, sourcing books published in Haiti has been challenging. Over several years, our regional supplier Libros Latinos was not able to travel to the country. However, as is often the case for Francophone literature, many Haitian authors are also published in Canada and France, whether they are still residing in Haiti or have emigrated.

One example is the writer and publisher Rodney Saint-Éloi, born in Haiti, who founded the publishing house Mémoire, as well as the magazine Cultura and the journal Boutures. He moved to Québec in 2001, is a member of the Académie des Lettres du Québec, and in 2003 created the publishing house Mémoire d’encrier, based on the principle of cultural diversity:

Mémoire d’encrier publie des auteur.e.s québécois.e.s, autochtones, antillais.e.s, arabes, africain.e.s… représentant ainsi une large plate-forme où se confrontent les imaginaires dans l’apprentissage et le respect de la différence et de la diversité culturelle. Continue reading