The newly donated Bibliotheca Hermetica series: Alchemical Texts in the University Library

As part of a large donation from emeritus Art History Professor Jean Michel Massing, Cambridge University Library now possesses 13 works from the collection Bibliotheca Hermetica, an illustrated, encyclopedic collection of works on alchemy, astrology, and magic, dating across the Medieval to the late Renaissance period. Directed by René Alleau, with translations into Modern French, this collection, published in the 1970s, hoped to contribute to a greater understanding of traditional hermetic teachings.

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Japanese history, arts and literature: cultural encounters in Cambridge University Library’s Francophone collections

Cambridge University Library is holding until the end of May Samurai, History & Legend, a fascinating and beautiful exhibition of Japanese manuscripts and (illustrated) printed texts and images. Cambridge UL holds one of the most important historic Japanese book collections in the UK. Although Japan is not at the core of the University Library French language collections, and we are constrained by budget limitations, over the years we have collected many Francophone publications on different aspects of Japanese history and culture. Here is a glimpse of some of the titles we have acquired.

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Science fiction and the arts

In July, I wrote a short introduction to the cataloguing work I have been doing with the collection donated by Professor Sir Alan Bowness and the insights from the donor’s own notes. After cataloguing and skimming through more of the collection, I found an enjoyable and unexpected theme amongst the collection of exhibition catalogues: science fiction & fantasy.

The out of this world cover of Bowness.b.471

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Some more Ukrainian donations : the October 2021 Slavonic items of the month

The decorative cover of ‘Dusha narodu i dukh nat︠s︡iï’ (The soul of a people and the spirit of a nation) by I︠U︡riĭ Rusov. The word across the middle reads ‘Ukraine’ and the three slogans at the bottom read ‘For faith, for Ukraine, for glory’.

Last year, I wrote about the first books to be catalogued from a donation sent to us by the Shevchenko Scientific Society in New York.  Today’s post looks at several other books in the collection which passed through my hands last week.

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Some lockdown-era donations

Our department, Collections and Academic Liaison, works on the lion’s share of donations of books made to the University Library.  Since our numbers in the library building have had to be kept very low since mid-March last year, our focus in the office has chiefly been on cataloguing new bought books, but this post mentions a few donations that we have been able to process recently. Continue reading