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

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

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

Ingenuity in the age of Cervantes: pop-up talk, Tuesday 21st February

Following the Fighting windmills virtual exhibition, a short in-focus talk will be given on Tuesday 21st February at 1pm entitled Ingenuity in the age of Cervantes. Come and join us for a compelling presentation by Dr Rodrigo Cacho  from MML and Dr José Ramón Marcaida from CRASHH (Library members only).

See poster below for more details.

pop-up-talk

Camus is outmanoeuvred

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Camus’ name appears prominently on the cover of Salvet’s novel.

Albert Camus had spent the period from April 18 to May 7 1945 in Algeria.  When he returned to his home in the rue Sébastien-Bottin, he found the manuscript of a novel about the French Resistance by André Salvet, together with a letter from the author asking Camus to supply a preface. Camus replied courteously, indicating that he felt such an introduction would not be entirely appropriate.  “J’ai risqué beaucoup moins que votre héros, et ce n’est pas à moi de le présenter.”  He also questioned the desirability of producing any sort of commentary on a novel which should stand alone. “Est-ce à l’écrivain que vous vous adressez?  Mais, dans ce cas, il m’a toujours semblé qu’un livre, surtout lorsqu’il témoigne comme celui-là, devait se présenter seul et sans commentaires.” Continue reading