German prizewinners 2016

In previous posts we pointed out how literary prizes are useful for our collection development. By acquiring prizewinning works we document the evolving canon of German literature.  In this post I will present a selection of German literary prizes awarded recently.

Arguably the most prestigious prize for German language literature is the Georg-Büchner-Preis. The 2016 prize was awarded by the Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung to Marcel Beyer for his rich work which ranges from the epic to the lyric and essayistic. The Akademie said that “his texts devote themselves to the representation of the German past with the same precise dedication with which they trace the sound of the present time. They pursue a poetic geography, which is always also an exploration of language”. The latest works acquired by the University Library are his poetry collection Graphit (C203.d.8391) published in 2014 and his collection of essays Sie nannten es Sprache (C204.d.7081) published in 2016. Continue reading

A jewel of a book

This is a guest post by Dr. Stella Panayotova, Keeper of Manuscripts and Printed Books at the Fitzwilliam Museum.

fol. 285r from the facsimile

In 2015 Cambridge University Library acquired a rare modern book about a unique medieval manuscript (F201.b.4.1). One of only 999 copies printed in 2015, it is a facsimile of a Book of Hours made in Angers c.1450. While the original manuscript is among the treasures of the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris (MS NAL 3244), the facsimile supports research and teaching in Cambridge. Faithfully recreating the richly illuminated and highly personalised prayer book, precious and tiny (10 x 7.8 cm) like a jewel, the facsimile invites the modern-day reader-viewer to relive the experience of the manuscript’s early owners.

The Book of Hours belonged to Jeanne de France (1438-1482), daughter of Charles VII. She may have received it as a wedding gift upon her marriage in 1452 to Jean, Count of Clermont, who would become Duke of Bourbon in 1456. The coats of arms sprinkled throughout the Book of Hours reveal Jeanne de France’s ownership as well as the fact that after her death the Duke of Bourbon re-gifted the manuscript to his next wife, Catherine d’Armagnac. Continue reading

Italian book provision: a bookseller’s perspective

This is a guest post by Barbara Casalini, Lelia Barcatta and Patricia O’Loughlin, senior staff with our Italian book provider, Casalini.

Mario Casalini, the father of our current owners Michele and Barbara, visited the US in the 1950s with a group of Italian publishers. During that visit a Harvard professor complained that there were no reliable channels of supply for both books and information about Italian scholarly publications. Mario decided to act on this and set up his first office in Montreal in 1958, moved next to New York and then to Florence in the early 70s. Finally, in the late 70s the company was set up in the family home in Fiesole.

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Italian literary prizewinners for 2016

We have written in the past of the five major Italian literary prizes and, since we started our blog, we have highlighted the prizewinners each year.

Here are the winners for 2016:

The Strega prize: awarded this year to Edoardo Albinati for his novel La scuola cattolica (C211.c.1831)

The Bagutta prize: awarded this year to Paolo Di Stefano for Ogni altra vita : storia di italiani non illustri (C211.c.4073) and to Paolo Maurensig for his novel Teoria delle ombre (C210.c.5964) Continue reading

In with the old : the January 2017 Slavonic item(s) of the month

Russian rules allow the export of modern books that are a maximum of 50 years old.  Towards the end of each calendar year, I therefore have a look at the books soon to turn 51 which are available for purchase from Ozon, a Russian online shop in the mould of Amazon.  These are almost always incredibly cheap and in impressively good condition, and it is impossible to resist buying rather a lot.

Last month, then, I bought 55 books published in 1966.  While the emphasis of Russian modern book selection would clearly be on Russian and East European culture and history, the table below (and the illustrations above it) show that my eye was drawn to less standard subjects for this older material.  Technology, for example, came second overall – seeing how mid-century Soviets developed and wrote about computers, for example, could quite conceivably spark someone’s interest in the future.

201701_misc

Left to right: books on nuclear submarines, where to spend a day out in and near Leningrad, computer programming, choosing an amateur film camera, food preservation, space exploration, and calculators.

Fine arts (includes architecture) 7
Geography 6
History 12
Language and literature 2
Law 1
Medicine 2
Performing arts (cinema etc) 7
Political sciences 2
Religion 1
Sciences 3
Social sciences 2
Technology 9

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