A new acquisition: the Panorama of the Franco-Prussian war by Percy Cruikshank (1870)

We are delighted to be able to shed light on the recent purchase by Cambridge University Library Special Collections of a satirical Panorama of the Franco-Prussian war. Illustrated by Percy Cruikshank, it probably dates from the end of 1870. It relates to both the exhibition of the Cambridge collection of 1870-71 caricatures held at the University Library this spring, and the academic conference on the Memory of 1870-71 held at Wolfson College by Marion Glaumaud-Carbonnier and Nick White last month.

Unfolded panorama in the Rare books reading roomThe Panorama of the Franco-Prussian war, published in London by F. Platts & Mann Nephews, was “painted by PC from the sketches of Messrs. Smith, Brown, Jones & Robinson”. The full signature of Percy Cruikshank (1817-1880) appears repeatedly within the images themselves. Percy came from an illustrious family of caricaturists: he was the son of Isaac Robert Cruikshank (1789-1856), the nephew of George Cruikshank (1792-1878), and the grandson of Isaac Cruikshank (1764-1811). He contributed caricatures of the Franco-Prussian war to the British satirical humour magazine Judy or the London Serio-Comic Journal (named after Punch and Judy). The highly collaborative nature of the panorama is interesting given the reference to no less than four sketchers. Continue reading

Max Liebermann – modern master 

Self-portrait (source: Wikimedia Commons)

175 years ago, on July 20, 1847, the famous artist Max Liebermann, regarded as the pioneer of modernism in Germany, was born in Berlin.  After realist beginnings, influenced by the School of Barbizon which he encountered during a stay in Paris from 1873 to 1878, he became a master impressionist finding inspiration in beer gardens, café terrasses, gardens and parks. Portraits form a considerable part of his oeuvre too, including the creation of fascinating self-portraits throughout his career. Today his paintings can be found in all the major museums around the world.

Continue reading

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. 

Continue reading

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