Processing the A.G. Parker Cinema Collection is almost complete. A few fragile volumes await conservation and cataloguing and a residue of journal runs are currently being added to the catalogue, but the end is clearly in sight.
Reinaldo Arenas (1943-1990) was one of Cuba’s most important and controversial writers. His debut novel Celestino antes del alba celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Arenas is best known outside the Spanish-speaking world for his posthumously published 1992 autobiography, Antes que anochezca / Before Night Falls (adapted into an award-winning film in 2000 by Julian Schnabel). This documented the horrific persecution he faced under Fidel Castro, both for his openly homosexual lifestyle and for his public antipathy towards the leader’s regime, and his eventual escape to the USA as part of the infamous Mariel Boatlift.
Some 160 Spanish broadsides (known as “aleluyas” in Spanish) have been recently added to the Cambridge Libraries catalogue. They were bequeathed to Cambridge University Library by Edward Meryon Wilson, former professor of Spanish at the University of Cambridge. The collection contains a complete run of one of the longest series of aleluyas ever printed in Spain: the Marés-Minuesa-Hernando series, consisting of 125 numbers. According to Jean-François Botrel , the printer Hernando would have acquired this collection from the printers Marés-Minuesa in 1886 and would have started reprinting it shortly afterwards.
These aleluyas can be consulted in the Rare Books Room (classmark F180.bb.8.1). They were printed by Librería Hernando and by Sucesores de Hernando, respectively (the founder and his descendants) between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century (Librería Hernando was founded in 1828; Sucesores de Hernando took over in 1902).
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.
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. 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’.
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. Continue reading
This is a guest post by Dr. Stella Panayotova, Keeper of Manuscripts and Printed Books at the Fitzwilliam Museum.
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