An influential polymath: Alexander von Humboldt

Mirador_Humboldt_01

Bronze sculpture of Humboldt by Ana Lilia Martin at Mirador Humboldt, northeast slope of Orotava valley, Tenerife where he stopped on his way to Latin America. Photo by Koppchen via Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday 26th January sees the announcement of the 2015 Costa Book of the Year winner. One of the books in the running for this prize is The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s new world by Andrea Wulf (382:2.c.201.21) which has already won the Costa Biography award for 2015 and would be a good starting point for finding out more about the life of Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859).

Humboldt Penguin (Spheniscus humboldti)

Humboldt penguin. Photo by Gregory Moine via Wikimedia Commons

A renowned figure in Germany and across Latin America, he is less well-known in this country – we may have heard of the Humboldt penguin, named after him (along with countless other species, world geographical features and place names) but most people know very little about the life of this extraordinary naturalist, explorer and geographer. Continue reading

Argentinian Acquisitions

With a population of 2.8 million, Buenos Aires has 734 bookstores, an average of 25 for every 100,000 inhabitants. This is a staggering number – if compared with London, for example – with just 10 bookstores for every 100,000 people, as The Guardian reports. In the linked article, Uki Goñi argues that the exemption of books from standard sales tax in Argentina is partly responsible for the industry boom.

El Ateneo Grand Splendid, one of the most well-known bookshops in Buenos Aires. Photo by Flickr user Jorge Láscar.

El Ateneo Grand Splendid, one of the most well-known bookshops in Buenos Aires. Photo by Flickr user Jorge Láscar.

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The secret lives of a poet: Olga Orozco

Browsing through our recently received Spanish books I came across the weird-looking cover of Yo, Claudia, a collection of articles published in the Argentinian monthly magazine Claudia, roughly between 1966 and 1970.

Yo, Claudia gathers a selection of letters and essays written by the poet Olga Orozco (1920-1999), who, during her life, undertook many jobs to

support her literary interests, from journalist to radio drama actress. Her work for Claudia, however, is particularly interesting. Claudia’s readership was interested in articles on fashion, entertainment, art, politics and literature, written by some of the most prominent intellectuals of the time. What originally was an asset eventually became a problem when in 1976 the publisher had to flee to Brazil, as it was accused by the Argentinian regime of supporting subversive journalists. Orozco’s collaboration was certainly valued, although, in order to please the publisher, she had to conceal her identity under eight different pseudonyms, each one for a different column. Continue reading

General elections in Latin America

A major focus of the University Library’s collection development policy for material in Spanish and Portuguese is the history of Central and South America, as explained on the Latin American & Iberian Collection webpages on the UL website. Coverage of specific periods in history varies from country to country. Contemporary history and in particular politics and government, however, are areas where our collections are particularly strong. Continue reading

Digital Repository of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL) freely available online

ECLAC Digital Repository homepage

ECLAC Digital Repository homepage

The Digital Repository of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC; CEPAL in Spanish) provides free online access to over 35,000 official documents at: http://repositorio.cepal.org/

Originally established in 1948 under the name Economic Commission for Latin America, ECLA later broadened its scope to include the Caribbean countries and became the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). Continue reading