Department Blog

H/SS & Gov Info Services

The Allied Powers and the Holocaust: Upcoming Conference

February 4th, 2015 by Michael Winter

Organized by UCD Davis professor emeritus of Political Science Alexander Groth, and University of Santa Clara Law School professor Tony Tanke, this four-day conference , which will run from March 16 to March 19, 2015, at the Menachem Begin Center in Jerusalem, features presentations by a number of the best-known holocaust scholars.

Primary Sources for the Study of the Occupation of France, 1939-1945

January 16th, 2015 by Michael Winter

H-Net, a humanities research information network, carried recently an announcement of great interest to scholars working on occupied France and the French during World War II:  EGO 39-45 – War and occupation writings (1939-1945)Sponsored by the French government’s national research agency, the first phase of the project is a catalog of first person accounts, memoirs, autobiographical narratives,  notebooks, and private journals kept by a wide variety of persons during the occupation.  Database records include standard bibliographic descriptions along with fields identifying the libraries where items are held, and where available call numbers or indications of shelf-location. Future plans include links to the fulltext versions of the documents, as they are digitized and added to the online collection.

New Book on Georges Canguilhem

June 24th, 2014 by Michael Winter

Nowdays Canguilhem is probably better known as Michel Foucault’s mentor, but in his day he was a major French philosopher and historian of science, as this collection of articles reveals. For the basic bibliographic description and more information about the library’s copy, check the Harvest library catalog record.  The cover art is a reproduction of a painting by Maurice Matieu that is based on some lines from Henri Michaux.

Richard N. Schwab Papers

June 22nd, 2014 by Michael Winter

Richard N. Schwab taught in the history department at UC, Davis. The two linear feet of papers he donated to the Shields Library Department of Special Collections relate specifically to his lifelong work on the French Encyclopedia of Diderot and D’Alembert–or, as it is more formally known, Encyclopedie, ou Dictionnaire raisonne des sciences, des arts et des metiers, which appeared in fascicles and then eventually as bound volumes between 1751 and 1765. Special Collections also owns an original 17 volume edition of this work, along with the numerous supplementary volumes of engraved illustrations/plates accompanying the text, as well as  other supplementary material issued along with the original text and plates.

Schwab’s contributions to the study of the Encyclopedie and indeed the study of the Enlightenment more generally are much too numerous to mention here, though it should be noted that he produced the English translation of the Preliminary discourse to the Encyclopedia contributed by D’Alembert.  A number of years ago Professor Schwab also began a fruitful collaboration with the University of Chicago and the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, and participated in the eventual issue of a digital version of this landmark reference work.

Modern Language Association (MLA) International Bibliography Video Tutorials

February 18th, 2014 by Michael Winter

The MLA International Bibliography has just announced a new video tutorial series on different ways of searching the bibliography. New tutorials will be released every few months.  Click here for links to the currently available tutorials. The tutorials cover both the ProQuest and the EBSCO interfaces.

Report from Shields Library Stacks: Notes from the Field

December 13th, 2013 by Michael Winter

One of the pleasures of a large research library is the discovery of riches tucked away in places not often browsed.  Such an example is afforded by La Nouvelle Revue Française, aka NRF.  And this particular title does not seem to have been converted to digital format, so it is a great boon to have a complete run, dating back to the founding year of 1909, and continuing to the present.  The back issues are shelved on the Lower Level of Shields, at AP20 .N6.  A check of the earlier issues reveals a fertile cache of  extraordinary materials sure to be of interest as primary sources in the study of French literature, culture, and society.  Early associates included André Gide,  Gaston Gallimard, and an amazing variety of names now enshrined as part of the canon of 20th century French literature.

The editors had actually assembled an issue the year before,  in 1908, but got to quarreling and were unable to come to agreement, and so they had to wait a year to get started.  When they did, the first issue included contributions by Paul Claudel, Jean Giraudoux, Francis Jammes, and Emile Verhaeren. Not at all outdone, Gide himself contributed the first appearance of his novel, La Porte Etroite,  as a series of  installments. By volume 2 others had joined, including Jules Romains and Paul Valery.  Alain-Fournier shows up as a book reviewer before eventually publishing a serial version of Les Grandes Meaulnes, in 1912.  In 1911,  Gide contributed more  novels seriatim, including Les Caves du Vatican, in 1911, and his early masterpiece La Symphonie Pastorale, in 1919. By that time Gaston Gallimard had gone on to found the publishing house that still bears his name, originally as an off-shoot of the NRF.

Translation studies scholars and comparativists will want to know that Gide also published an early translation of the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, in 1911.  Later, after the publication had been suspended for the four years of the First World War,  his translation of William Blake’s Marriage of Heaven and Hell appeared in 1922.  Valéry Larbaud published here his translations of excerpts from Samuel Butler’s novel Erewhon in 1920.

There is also a serialized version of one of Paul Claudel’s most famous novels, L’Annonce Faite à Marie, appearing in several 1912 numbers. But probably the greatest find of all is in the volumes appearing in 1914, when the  published fragments of a work by a then relatively unknown writer named Marcel Proust, who was toiling away at A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, and contributed some fragments from what would become the second volume,  La Côté de Guermantes. It’s interesting to learn that Proust’s masterpiece was initially rejected by a number of publishers’ readers, including Gide himself, and had to be published–supposedly at the author’s own expense–by Bernard Grasset.   But it didn’t take long for these initial negative assessments to change.  By the early 1920s,  after Proust meets an untimely death in November of 1922, much space is devoted to extensive analyses of  Proust’s life and work. Other writers who contributed fragments or excerpts of works-in-progress or shorter pieces include Colette, Louis Aragon, Guillaume Apollinaire,  Arthur Rimbaud (who also appears as Jean-Arthur Rimbaud), the anthropologist Lucien Lévy-Bruhl on primitive mentality, and Gertrud Stein contributed  parts of a memoir of Paris in the 1920s.  Antonin Artaud’s debut is a series of letters between him and the NRF editor who rejected his early submissions; later he became something of a regular feature.

Along with Alain-Fournier, a number of other writers make a debut here as reviewers of books, theatrical productions, and even films, including André Breton,  who reviewed Lautréamont’s Les Chants de Maldoror,  Aragon,  who reviewed, among other things, an edition of Les Contes de Perrault,  Antonin Artaud, Julien Benda,  and the early exponent of French existentialism with a Christian accent, the philosopher Gabriel Marcel.  Stephane Mallarmé reviewed musical performances. Many of these also contributed shorter versions of original works.  Along with Marcel, the philosopher Alain also contributed many pieces in the 1920s and the 1930s.

Perhaps the greatest curiosity is a brief item, with the appearance of an announcement or a very simple advertisement,  in 1919, heralding the beginning of “Le Mouvement Dada”; the announcement calls the attention of NRF readers to “Le Directeur,” Tristan Tzara, and even provides what looks like a mock-telephone number (1-2-3-4-5) and an address where he might be reached in Switzerland for inquiries.

Note:  For a notification and brief entry on NRF‘s predecessor, see the blog entry for La Revue Blanche.

 

Gallica: Bibliothèque Numérique

December 12th, 2013 by Michael Winter

Formerly Gallica Classique. One of the world’s most advanced digital library collections, Gallica provides online access to millions of books, periodicals, images, videos, maps, sound files, manuscripts, and scores. Searchable in basic or advanced modes, and browsable by publication type. Originally an attempt to provide coverage of the  Bibliothèque Nationale‘s vast holdings in French literature from the Middle Ages to the present, it now has digital access partnerships with a number of other major library collections substantially increasing its offerings. Includes links to other relevant sites.

Mapping the Republic of Letters

April 29th, 2013 by Michael Winter

A collaborative, interdisciplinary, and international project in the digital humanities, Mapping the Republic of Letters, centered at Stanford University, presents visualizations that analyze “big data” relating to the world of early-modern scholars, with a focus primarily on their correspondence, travel, and social networks. The project makes use of quantitative metrics while retaining a committment to the qualitative methods of the humanities.

Demise of “mademoiselle.”

February 24th, 2012 by Michael Winter

Bernadette Swanson found this official French government circular announcing the administrative decision to abandon “mademoiselle” as a term of address in official contexts, effective February 21st, 2012.  The same will be true of other terms of address, like “nom d’epoux” and “nom d’epouse,” which will be replaced by “nom d’usage.”  The German term “Fräulein” was officially rejected decades ago.

http://circulaire.legifrance.gouv.fr/pdf/2012/02/cir_34682.pdf

Ruby Cohn Collection

November 2nd, 2011 by Michael Winter

In the previous post I briefly announced the deaths of Erich H. Loewy and Ruby Cohn.   I add here a brief note regarding a major collection that Shields Library received as a gift  from Professor Cohn.  Ruby Cohn was not only a pioneering Samuel Beckett scholar; she also enjoyed friendships not only with Beckett himself but with major theater luminaries like Edward Albee.  She brought a broadly comparative dimension to the study of both theater and drama that made her book collection of great interest. As the selector for French, German, Comparative Literature, Theater,  and Drama, I was delighted to find that her collection included hundreds of items of unique interest and have added them to ours, adding the tag “Ruby Cohn Collection” to the catalog records that appear in the UC Davis Harvest Library catalog, in order to preserve their unity as a collection, if only virtually.