New exhibition, in the library and online: Cambridge caricatures of the Franco-Prussian War and the Paris Commune (1870-71)

A display of our collection of Franco-Prussian caricatures, is on until 7 May 2022 on the first floor of Cambridge University Library, for readers and visitors. The online exhibition is now also available, providing a snapshot of how 1870-71 caricaturists represented the overthrown Napoleon III and the imperial family (a favourite object of ridicule), or the Prussian enemy (Wilhelm I and his Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, featured, along with German soldiers, as comical yet relentless conquerors and plunderers).

W. Alexis, Triumphal entry in Paris of Bismarck and Wilhelm I, 1871
CUL, KF.3.10, p. 58

The virtual exhibition gives a glimpse of Paris under siege, through the role of women, who often carried the burden of dealing with penury and food shortages, and helped in the war effort, working as nurses, or even volunteering to form battalions of female soldiers. They were also blamed for their frivolity and treachery…

Morsabeau (Eugène Rosambeau), “Les Boucheries”, 1870, CUL, KF.3.11, p. 17

We look at how the cartoonists depicted the transition from the Second French Empire to the Third Republic, divided between the moderate Thiers government, based in Versailles, and the more radical and progressive members of the Paris Commune, established in the spring of 1871… Here is the link to the virtual exhibition.

Adolphe Thiers (Head of the Republican government) as a cameleon
lighting the fire of the Paris Commune… Le Lampion, March 1871, CUL, KF.3.10, p. 168

Finally, don’t forget the talk ‘Allons enfants de la patrie’: Children and the Wars of 1870-71, Thursday 31 March, 5-6 pm in the Milstein room. We have a couple of spaces left for a tour of the library’s Historical printing room led by its curator Colin Clarkson before the event: if you are interested please get in touch (french@lib.cam.ac.uk)!

Irene Fabry-Tehranchi

Schöningh and Fink ebook collections

While ebook publishing of academic titles in Germany has been lagging behind in comparison to the anglophone world, great strides have been made in the last few years and now most of the major academic publishers offer their titles in ebook format. However, one major problem is that institutional access to ebooks can often be much more expensive than purchasing the print version. The University Library has been acquiring an increasing amount of German language ebooks. We have access to many German language ebooks through our EBA (Evidence Based Acquisition) scheme with de Gruyter and we acquire numerous individual titles from the major aggregator platforms.

Recently we have purchased our first ebook packages. These are the Schöningh and Fink ebook collections which are offered by Brill. Ferdinand Schöningh and Wilhelm Fink are renowned academic publishing houses with Schöningh focusing on history, theology and philosophy while Fink concentrates on philology and media studies. The ebook collections are organized by subject and issued annually. We have acquired the 2020 and 2021 collections for the subject areas Early Modern & Modern History and Literature & Culture, giving us access to 240 titles. Records for these titles can be found in iDiscover. Below we list a selection of titles from the collections to give an idea of the range of topics covered; follow the hyperlinks under the cover images for access. 

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1990 remembered

Thirty years ago, on 3 October 1990, East and West Germany were reunited as East Germany formally joined West Germany. This date is now celebrated as Unification Day in Germany.

Helmut Kohl campaigning in Erfurt

1990 was a year of rapid change in East Germany following the dramatic events of 1989, the peaceful revolution and the fall of the Berlin Wall. A ‘round table’ acted as an interim government until the elections in March 1990 which resulted in the first democratically elected parliament in the history of East Germany. This parliament approved the decision for East Germany to join West Germany. The unification was preceded by the conversion of the East German currency to West German currency in July 1990. All these internal events were accompanied by negotiations on an international level. While the dramatic events of 1989 have a clear place in the collective memory it seems that this is not the case for the events of 1990. Continue reading

The fall of the Berlin Wall and Stefan Heym

The day the Berlin Wall fell

Last Saturday Germany marked the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with numerous events. It was in the night of November 9, 1989 that the Berlin Wall was opened and East German citizens could freely visit the western part of Berlin. In the coming days, the whole border between East and West Germany would be opened. The fall of the Berlin Wall was the culmination of the dramatic events of autumn 1989 when the citizens of East Germany took to the streets to demand freedom of speech and the press and the freedom to travel. In October 1989 when the communist leadership wanted to celebrate 40 years of East Germany the citizens found their voice and made their demands heard. Within a year East Germany was unified with West Germany in a process of rapid democratization.

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New Weimar on the Pacific

This post is written by David Lowe, who retired from our department in April.  We hope it is the first of many retirement-era contributions.

When in August 2001 the University Library acquired its copy of Roland Jaeger’s New Weimar on the Pacific: the Pazifische Presse and German exile publishing in Los Angeles, 1942-48 (862.c.504), a history of the small private press which published eleven German language titles between 1942 and 1948, we had none of the books in the collection.  That omission has now been partly rectified, and in recent years we have bought four titles, three of them presented by the Friends of the Library from the legacy of Mrs Margaret Green, wife of the former Schröder Professor of German Dennis Green.

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