Youth Culture at the Liberation: Résistantes and Résistants in Cardboard Cut-Outs

We are grateful to the Managing Editor of the French History Network Blog for permission to reproduce the article by Southampton doctoral student Emily Hooke on a set of cardboard toy theatre scenes depicting the Liberation of Paris. The University Library has these in its Liberation Collection, and they featured prominently in the exhibition which we mounted in 2014.

Emily-Hooke-Fig-1

Roland Forgues, Le Général de Gaulle à l’Arc de Triomphe, 26 août 1944 (Paris: Edition de l’Office Central de l’Imagerie, 1944). See bibliographic record here. Click on the image to enlarge.

On a trip to Paris a few years ago, I was wandering along the Seine, glancing casually at the boquinistes when I spotted something interesting: three pieces of cardboard illustrated with scenes from the Liberation of Paris — 19-26 August 1944 — and dated later that year.[1] Looking closer, I could see these sheets were cardboard cut-outs, as the tabs under the figures show (fig. 1, fig. 2, fig. 3). They also contained the only information I have been able to find of them: They were illustrated by Roland Forgues and commissioned by l’Office central de l’imagerie, Paris.

Researching further, I found that these were far from the only representations of the Resistance aimed at youth during the Liberation. Indeed, there was a boom in children’s literature at the Liberation — despite the paper shortages. These sought to repair the damage done by children’s comic books under the Occupation such as Le Téméraire, which framed the Resistance as villains – ‘without morals and without courage’.[2]

The cardboard cut-outs sparked my interest in popular culture, and added a new dimension to my research: youth. Following the Liberation the Resistance became seen as ‘military, patriotic and essentially masculine’ despite evidence to the contrary, and I wanted to see how they fitted into the construction of this gendered narrative.[3] Continue reading

Alice in translation

In October 1866 Lewis Carroll told his publisher Macmillan that his friends in Oxford “seem to think that the book [Alice’s adventures in Wonderland] is untranslatable”.  History has proved his friends very wrong, as a new three volume acquisition by the Library, Alice in a world of wonderlands : translations of Lewis Carroll’s masterpiece, edited by Jon A. Lindseth (S950.b.201.3527-3529), makes clear.

– Waddleton.c.1.395

Continue reading

The first polyglot Bible (Part 2)

It is very likely, and widely accepted, that Nebrija recommended the printer Arnaldo Guillén de Brocar to Cisneros. Brocar had a good reputation and had exclusive rights to print Nebrija’s works, so he had been printing his books since 1503.

Page of Mark's Gospel in volume 5. Click on image to see enlarged.

Page of Mark’s Gospel in volume 5 (Young.5). Click on image to see enlarged.

The typography of these volumes is also a great achievement. How to present a complex distribution of the different texts was a problem solved ably by Brocar. He cast new types for several of the alphabets used in the project. The Hebrew and Aramaic types are particularly appreciated; they have, as stated by the incunabulist Julián Martín Abad: “clearly more beautiful designs than those we find in the Iberian Hebraic incunabula”. Brocar cast two different Greek types: one in the Aldine style, and the most remarkable, used in the New Testament; “undoubtedly the finest Greek font ever cut” according to the typographer Robert Proctor. The illustration below shows the distribution of the texts in the first volume. The inner column has the Greek text (Septuagint) with an interlineal Latin translation, the central column has the Latin Vulgate, while the Hebrew text is in the outer column. Continue reading

The first polyglot Bible (Part 1)

The Complutensian Polyglot Bible was the first printed polyglot Bible, and as a result the one that set the model for the following polyglots. 2017 is the 500th anniversary of both the end of the printing process of this Bible and the death of Cardinal Cisneros, promoter and sponsor of the project.

Title page of volume 1 (Sel.2.69)

Title page of volume 1 (Sel.2.69) including Tunstall’s inscription (click on image to see enlarged)

The University of Cambridge has eight complete sets of the Complutensian Polyglot catalogued (four at the UL, two at Trinity College and one each at Corpus Christi and St John’s College libraries). F.J. Norton recorded several more complete or partial copies. He states that one of the UL copies has perhaps the longest history of use in the same library, exceeded only by those in the Vatican and Colombina (Seville) Libraries. It was presented by Bishop Cuthbert Tunstall (1474-1559) when he was still bishop of London; that is to say, no later than February 1530 (see inscription on t.p.). Continue reading

Defoe’s Moll Flanders: the Flemish connection

This guest post is written by Dr Jaap Harskamp (formerly Curator of Dutch & Flemish collections at the British Library, who is now working on the University Library’s early Dutch books).

Defoe, via Wikimedia Commons

Defoe, via Wikimedia Commons

A title says a lot about a work of fiction. Daniel Defoe came up with a master stroke by naming his raciest novel Moll Flanders. With these two words he attracted the attention of his potential readers who instantaneously grasped its shades of meaning.

One of the best-known pilgrims in Chaucer’s collection of Canterbury tales is Alisoun, the Wife of Bath, a bawdy woman who is the very antithesis of virtuous womanhood. In her delightful tale she challenges contemporary wisdom about the female role in society. She claims to be an expert on married life having had five husbands (her first at the age of twelve). Continue reading