Lyon dans les chaînes, or how to illustrate suffering beautifully

Lyon_chaines_plate4

Liberation.a.60

Lyon dans les chaînes (Liberation.a.60) is a wonderfully illustrated account of the occupation and liberation of the city of Lyon by journalist Pierre Scize. This large volume, held at Cambridge University Library as part of the Chadwyck-Healey Liberation Collection, has an extensive number of coloured lithographs “printed under the surveillance of the artist”, Julien Pavil. The 625 copies of the work were produced between 15 December 1944 and 29 June 1945, which tells us a great deal about the effort and dedication the French were willing to put into book publishing after the Liberation. Continue reading

Maria Sibylla Merian – 300

Portrait of Merian by Jacob Houbraken after Georg Gsell

It is 300 years since the renowned artist and naturalist Maria Sybilla Merian died on January 13, 1717 in Amsterdam. She was born in Frankfurt am Main in 1647 into a family of publishers and artists, and was educated and trained by the artist Jacob Marrel. She established her reputation as the foremost natural history illustrator with her Neues Blumenbuch, published in three parts from 1675. She lived with her daughters in Amsterdam from 1691, and in 1699 she travelled to the Dutch territory of Suriname in South America and spent two years studying and painting its flora and fauna. The work produced in Suriname was the basis for her masterwork published as Metamorphosis insectorum surinamensium in 1705. This magnificent publication is a milestone in the history of natural history illustration. Continue reading

Catalan books and Spanish lyrical pieces in the Jonathan Gili collection

A few years ago, we announced the purchase of a collection of Catalan and Spanish books from the library of Jonathan and Phillida Gili. Our blog post featured some of the gems of this wonderful acquisition.

We are pleased to report that this collection is now fully catalogued. Continue reading

Out of the parcel and into the catalogue : records for newly unpacked books

The University Library has traditionally suppressed titles from the public catalogue until books have been fully catalogued.  This practice was altered some time ago for new Legal Deposit material.  From this week, records will also appear for newly received English and European-language bought material.  This post explains what readers will see and how they can access these books.

Records for such material will appear in iDiscover and Newton with the legend “Uncatalogued item: Enquire in Reading Room; Received [DD/MM/YYYY]”.  “Uncatalogued” here means that what is on display is essentially an order-level record which has not yet been upgraded or approved by one of our trained cataloguers.  Here are sample screenshots for a new Italian arrival (click on each image to expand): Continue reading

Selecting new Ukrainian literature : the August 2017 Slavonic item(s) of the month

The University Library’s Ukrainian-language holdings have nearly doubled in recent years, from 2,500 or so titles when I first arrived in 2010 to about 4,500 now.  We buy books mainly on history and culture, with literature and philology among our main accession areas.  Selecting new literary titles, however, is often rather a challenge.

Selecting books on literature is one thing.  It is easy enough to spot, where offered, good academic titles produced by respectable presses.  A recent (and ongoing) stand-out example is the Istoriia ukrains’koi literatury (History of Ukrainian literature; 758:65.c.201.5(1-4)) set produced by the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, of whose 12 projected volumes we have the four already published.  These – shown in the photo – cover the 10th century to 1830 (v. 1-3) and the work of Taras Shevchenko (v. 4).

Selecting literary titles of past authors is usually also straightforward because the value of their literary contribution is normally known.  Similarly, buying new titles by established current writers (Zabuzhko, Zhadan, Matios, Andrukhovych, to name a few) is also easy.  Determining which books to buy by modern writers less firmly established, however, is something I always find rather tricky.

Continue reading