“Former des hommes” by Jacques de Jésus: more than meets the eye?

Père Jacques in uniform

Former des hommes, by Jacques de Jésus, seems an unlikely contender to be part of the Liberation Collection. It is a modestly produced booklet of barely 38 pages, whose contents are of a spiritual nature. So, why was this book selected to be part of the Liberation Collection, whose aim is to gather books and pamphlets written about the Second World War, and its immediate aftermath, in Francophone countries?

The answer lies in the short biography on the last page of the publication. Jacques de Jésus, born Lucien Bunel, was a Catholic priest and Carmelite who was arrested in 1944 for hiding Jewish children in the school that he had founded in Avon, France. The events leading up to his arrest inspired Louis Malle’s critically acclaimed film Au revoir les enfants. Continue reading

Annual Liberation Literature Lecture 2019: Normandy ’44 with James Holland

The 2019 Cambridge Liberation Literature Lecture will be given on Thursday, 21 November, 5-6 pm, by James Holland, well-known broadcaster and author of military books including Normandy ’44 – D-Day and the Battle for France, London : Bantam Press, 2019, C215.c.4712.

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Funding opportunity for a PhD on France and the Second World War: the Cambridge Chadwyck-Healey Liberation Collection (1944-1946)

Cambridge University Library is delighted to have received an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Collaborative Doctoral Award, and invites applications for PhD studentships, starting in 2020-2021. The successful PhD candidate will receive funding to work on the Chadwyck-Healey Liberation Collection (1944-1946), as part of the Doctoral Training Partnership with The Open University.

The recent 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings underscored the importance of the Liberation of France in the history of the twentieth century. This PhD project aims to make use of the Cambridge University Library Chadwyck-Healey Liberation Collection to explore particular aspects of France during the Second World War, the Liberation, and/or in the immediate post-war period (1939-1946). The Collection consists of about 3000 books and pamphlets in French on these subjects, published from the Liberation of Paris in August 1944 to the end of 1946, encompassing a wide range of material, including novels, poetry, illustrated books, photographic albums, literature for children, testimonies from the camps, military works and political publications. Continue reading

The Liberation of Paris, 19-29 August 1944: “Images de notre délivrance” by Georges Duhamel and Claude Lepape

1On 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.

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“Sombre est noir” by Amy Bakaloff and Óscar Domínguez (1945): war poetry, from anthologies to illustrated collections

Bakaloff Amy, Sombre est noir, orné d’une gravure à l’eau-forte et de deux dessins de Domínguez. Paris, 1945. Liberation.b.356

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