Librairie Droz is a Francophone academic publisher founded by Eugénie Droz in Geneva in 1924. It specialises in Medieval and Renaissance studies, literary criticism, art history, history of the book, and social sciences (in particular economic history). Cambridge University Library has a number of standing orders to its print collections, such as Bibliothèque des Lumières, Bibliothèque de l’École des Chartes, Diderot studies, Hautes études du monde gréco-romain, Hautes études médiévales et modernes, Hautes études orientales, Histoire des idées et critique littéraire, Publications romanes et françaises, Seuils de la modernité or Travaux du Grand Siècle. We are starting a one-month trial to its three series available as ebooks: Textes Littéraires Français; Humanisme et Renaissance; and the Calvin database.
In order to give a better view of the collection’s distribution in time, here are the numbers of books per decade:
Most of the collection was published between 1881 and 1970. We can see two peaks: the last decade of the 19th century and the interwar period. These were the core times of two important poetic movements, respectively symbolism and surrealism.
Here are a few topics which can be explored using books from the Martin Stone collection.
The Martin Stone collection of French poetry
Martin Stone was an English guitarist and rare books collector who had a strong interest in French poetry. Cambridge University Library bought his French poetry collection this year through the bookseller Justin Croft after Stone’s death in 2012.
This collection of French poetry contains 225 books. The oldest one is Odes et ballades by Victor Hugo, published in 1841, the most recent is Sept, written by Andrée Chedid and illustrated by Erik Bersou, published in 2009. Martin Stone focused on purchasing illustrated books, first editions and rare works by authors now long forgotten.
In the past three months, while cataloguing these books, I wanted to showcase the features of these books which appeal to a bibliophile clientele. I will now describe here these characteristics with some examples from this collection.
On the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of Paris, we would like to talk about Images de notre délivrance (Liberation.a.7), published in December 1944 by the Editions du Pavois (the publisher in 1946 of L’Univers concentrationnaire by David Rousset, which was awarded the Renaudot prize, Liberation.c.119 and Liberation.c.918). The book, clearly of a bibliophile nature, is presented by the editor as a documentary, the result of an accidental collaboration between a writer, Georges Duhamel (1884-1966), and an artist, Claude Lepape (1913-1994), both reacting to a unique historical event:
Ce livre est un document. Il est né de la rencontre fortuite de deux sensibilités. L’Ecrivain et le Dessinateur ne se sont pas concertés, mais leurs réactions, si diverses et en même temps si proches, constituent l’un des documents les plus émouvants sur les glorieuses journées de la libération.
One of the last books acquired through the Liberation collection is Amy Bakaloff’s Sombre est noir (Liberation.b.356), a collection of French poetry written during the Second World War and dedicated to Paul Éluard and Georges Hugnet, a writer and publisher engaged in the Résistance. It includes an engraving signed by Óscar Domínguez and two drawings. It is a rare work, one of 232 copies, some numbered on Annam paper, some on blue vellum, and some on vélin des Marais. Continue reading