Dutch history update

We have written previously about the Libris Geschiedenis Prijs and how it informs our purchasing of Dutch history books. The longlist of ten titles for the 2019 prize, chosen from more than 300, was announced in July. This was then whittled down to a shortlist of five titles earlier this month, with the winner to be announced at the end of October.

Looking at last year’s shortlist, we chose to buy four of the five shortlisted titles for 2018 including the winner:

  • Nobel streven: het onwaarschijnlijke maar waargebeurde verhaal van ridder Jan van Brederode by Frits van Oostrom (C215.c.6483). In this book, the winner, the author has reconstructed the life of Jan van Brederode, a little-known nobleman of the late 14th century who died at Agincourt.
  • Thorbecke wil het: biografie van een staatsman by Remieg Aerts (601:5.c.201.24) is the first full biography of Johan Rudolf Thorbecke, an important 19th century Dutch statesman who wrote a constitution in 1848 and thus introduced parliamentary democracy to the Netherlands.
  • Kolonialeoorlogen in Indonesië: vijf eeuwen verzet tegen vreemde overheersing  by Piet Hagen (634:2.c.201.3) looks at five centuries of colonial wars in Indonesia and is a useful reference tool on the history of Indonesia generally.
  • De toren van de Gouden Eeuw: een Hollandse strijd tussen gulden en God by Gabri van Tussenbroek (C215.c.1510) tells the story of 17th century reconstruction and power struggles in Amsterdam.

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“Owners of hotels–Punishments”, or, St Petersburg in details : the September 2019 Slavonic item of the month

Istoriia Sankt-Peterburga-Petrograda, 1703-1917 : putevoditelʹ po istochnikam (The history of St Petersburg/Petrograd, 1703-1917 : a guide to sources) is a remarkable piece of work, and our set has just been expanded with four new volumes.  The level of detail displayed by the compilers is quite staggering, reflected in the detail of the volume enumeration: our new arrivals are volume 3, issues 5 and 6, each printed in two parts, i.e. 3/5/1, 3/5/2, 3/6/1, 3/6/2.  They join 1/1, 1/2, 3/1, 3/2, 3/3, and 3/4.  The mysterious volume 2 has yet to be published.

Volume 3, issue 6 (1856-1872), part 2 (1869-1872).

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For accompanying coin, enquire in Map Room : the July 2019 Slavonic item of the month

Last week, I decided to tackle a set about major exhibitions and exhibition spaces in Moscow which had been in the Slavonic cataloguing backlog for some time.  How hard a cataloguing challenge could it be?  4 volumes, 6 accompanying discs, 3 accompanying sheets, and 1 accompanying commemorative coin later, I can confirm that the answer was – very.

The coin, front and back.

Cambridge’s copy of VSKhV–VDNKh–VVT︠S︡ is, according to Library Hub (the very new replacement for COPAC), the only one held in the country, which is unsurprising given that it was published in a small run not for general sale.  The set was produced to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Moscow’s extraordinary exhibition complex, in 2009, although the UL was only able to obtain a copy years later.

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Remo Giatti’s prints in the Cambridge Diane française, “Musée de Poche” collection

Giatti’s original print for Le livre et sa matière (2018)

In an earlier blog post, I talked about the artist books donation of the Diane française publisher “Musée de Poche” collection to Cambridge University Library. One of the works I discovered in this series is that of Remo Giatti, an artist form Northern Italy who uses a variety of techniques (engraving, lithography, drawing and collage…), and whose prints often include elements in “relief”. His work featured on the cover of the catalogue (F201.a.4.1), accompanied in the numbered Cambridge copy by an original print. Giatti also contributed to four “Musée de Poche” books (three of them are double volumes containing up to eight prints).

Le plus beau poème du monde est un poème d’amour (2014) by the Italian poet Arturo Schwarz, translated into French by Raphael Monticelli and inspired by Lucretius is a tribute to the beloved woman and her body through the elements. In this context, Giatti’s first and last prints evoke the stains of biological elements enlarged through a microscope, and the cracks forming on an arid soil in shades of grey. In the central double print, a grey shape with lines, strokes and cracks, pops up dramatically towards the viewer. It is set on top of another print which acts as a colourful brown and green background for the other one, reusing patterns of bubbles, stains and lines, and creating a strange effect of alignment and perspective from the top to the bottom print. Continue reading

Russia abroad : the May 2019 Slavonic items of the month

Earlier this week, Vera Tsareva-Brauner gave a talk at the University Library about Ivan Bunin and other Russian émigré literary figures, and this blog post looks at a couple of recent arrivals to the UL about the émigré Russian world.

The Russian Revolutions of 1917 and the ensuing Civil War saw the departure from Russia of many hundreds of thousands of people, many significant intellectual figures among them.  The Revolution-related exodus is commonly named the First (or White) Wave.  The Second Wave followed World War 2 and the Third Wave took place in the later decades of the Soviet period.

In 1995, the Dom russkogo zarubezhʹia imeni Aleksandra Solzhenitsyna (the Alexander Solzhenitsyn House of Russia Abroad) opened in Moscow.  One of the House’s activities is the publication of various research titles and source material about the various Soviet emigration waves.  An advanced search in iDiscover for the keywords Dom russkogo zarubezhʹia Solzhenitsyna in the publisher field brings up, at the time of writing, 14 results.  Among these, the newest arrival is 1917 god v istorii i sudʹbe rossiĭskogo zarubezhʹi︠a︡ (1917 in the history and fate of Russian émigrés; C215.c.2825), a set of papers from a conference held in 2017.  The book’s cover, featuring a detail from Konstantin Iuon’s stunning Novaia planeta painting (which also provided the cover image for the Royal Academy’s Revolution exhibition catalogue), is shown here.  The conference papers are divided into three sections:

  • 1916 and Russian émigrés : politics, ideology, culture : historical significance and everyday practices
  • The intellectual contribution of Russian émigrés to cultural progress (“развитие цивилизационного процесса”)
  • The genealogy of memory : family histories, museums, archives, cemeteries of Russian émigrés

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