Stanisława Przybyszewska was a Polish writer and dramatist who was born in Kraków in 1901, and was most widely known for her burning interest in the French Revolution. This was immortalised in her trilogy of revolutionary plays: Dziewięćdziesiąty Trzeci (Ninety-third), Sprawa Dantona (The Danton Case), and Thermidor, which were often published together after her death in one volume, Dramaty (e.g. 758:53.d.95.725).
Political songs play an important part in popular culture and are powerful means of fostering and transmitting a sense of community and identity. Songs cross cultures and languages, as we discussed in an earlier blogpost on the French and American songs sung at the Liberation. On 14 July, Bastille Day, we want to shed light on another item from the Chadwyck-Healey Liberation collection: the Chants de la liberté (Liberation.b.130), a wonderfully illustrated collection of songs, accompanied by musical notation, which puts into perspective French political and historical struggles. Each song is accompanied by a didactic note, which provides some historical context.
The title of the collection, which echoes the name of the publisher (the socialist Éditions de la liberté, well represented in the Liberation collection), places the Liberation of Paris at the end of August 1944 as the last of a series of revolutions in the history of France (brushing over the fact that the uprising led by the military resistant group FFI, French Forces of the Interior, could only be successful thanks to the arrival of the Allied forces). The editor and harmoniser, Vincent Gambau, specialised in popular, traditional and regional songs. The illustrator, Robert Fuzier, a member of the SFIO (Section française de l’Internationale ouvrière), participated in the Front populaire government in 1936. Engaged in the Résistance and in clandestine publishing, he was arrested in August 1943.
The Archives numériques de la Révolution française (the French Revolution Digital Archive), a collaboration between the Stanford University Libraries and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, gives us an opportunity to highlight how online resources are enriching and supplementing the collections of libraries in Cambridge.
The goal of the Archives numériques de la Révolution française is to “produce a digital version of the key research sources of the French Revolution and make them available to the international scholarly community. The archive is based around two main resources, the Archives parlementaires and a vast corpus of images first brought together in 1989 and known as the Images de la Revolution française“.
The Hadley collection on Napoleon and the French Revolution held in Pembroke College Library is a good example of the sort of little-used resource which the European Collections blog is trying to make better known. William Sheldon Hadley (1859-1927) spent his entire career at Cambridge. He came up to Pembroke to read classics, and became Master of the College thirty-four years later, holding the post until his death in 1927.
Cultural historian Tom Stammers, a lecturer in the Department of History at Durham, describes in the following paragraphs why the Hadley material is of such interest.
The Hadley collection is a precious snapshot of how the French Revolution was understood in the opening decades of the twentieth century, with strength in four key areas. Continue reading