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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.

National Library of the Netherlands/Koniklijke Bibliotheek

December 11th, 2013 by Michael Winter

The website of the National Library of the Netherlands offers an amazing array of content from and about the Netherlands, the Low Countries, Europe, and the world at large. Website available in both English and Dutch.

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.

Professor Robert Darnton to present Eugene Lunn Memorial Lecture

April 4th, 2012 by David Michalski

Michael Saler
History Department

The 2012 Eugene Lunn Memorial Lecture will be given by Professor Robert Darnton on Wednesday, May 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the Alpha Gamma Rho Hall, Buehler Alumni Center. (Reception to follow.) He will speak on “Books, Digits, and Dollars: A Design for the Future.” The lecture is free and open to the public.

Robert Darnton is the Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Director of the Harvard University Library. A winner of the MacArthur Prize and numerous other awards, he has written notable works, including: The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future ; The Great Cat-Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History ; The Literary Underground of the Old Regime ; Poetry and Police: Communications Networks in Eighteenth Century Paris ; The Business of Enlightenment .

Eugene Lunn was, prior to his untimely death in 1990, a member of the Davis Department of History. In his twenty years here, he distinguished himself as a scholar in the field of modern European intellectual history. He was a passionate and productive scholar, but no less an engaged and inspired teacher. In his memory, a fund was assembled to support an annual memorial lecture. Its purpose is to honor the profession of teaching and to present to a broad and varied campus audience an exemplary discussion of issues of high significance in contemporary intellectual life.

This is the twentieth Lunn lecture, following upon those of such well-known scholars as Carl Schorske, Hayden White, Martin Jay, Saul Friedlander, Laura Engelstein, Lawrence Levine, Lynn Hunt, Thomas Bender, Bonnie Smith, Wendy Doniger, Cemal Kafadar, William Cronon, Fred Wakeman, Jan Goldstein, Suzanne Marchand, Louis Menand, Thomas Laqueur, and Mark Mazower.

The lecture, thanks to the generosity of many people, has become an important annual event at Davis. We want to take this opportunity once again to thank all of you who have previously supported this undertaking. We are currently facing a severe funding shortage, however, so if you find it possible to make a new (or renewed) contribution to the lecture fund, however small, we will be very grateful indeed. You may write a check to the “UC Regents (Lunn Memorial Fund)” and send it to Monica Fischer in the Department of History.

Erich H. Loewy, Ruby Cohn

November 2nd, 2011 by Michael Winter

The obituaries of two former UC Davis faculty members, both very well-known scholars, ran in yesterday’s Sacramento Bee (Tuesday November 1, 2011). Erich H. Loewy (b. 1927) was the founding chairman of the UCD Medical Center’s Bioethics Program, and was an internationally known expert in health care ethics.  Erich was also a Nazi-era refugee who emigrated from Austria, first with his parents to England, and later on his own to the United States.   Ruby Cohn (b. 1922) taught comparative drama for a number of years at UC Davis and was a pioneering Samuel Beckett scholar. When her first article on Beckett was rejected by an academic journal in 1959, the editors commented that they liked the paper, but concluded that “your author does not merit publishing space.”

Ilham Dilman’s last book

June 23rd, 2011 by Michael Winter

Ilham Dilman, the prolific UK-based philosopher who died in 2003, is known for his voluminous writings on a wide range of subjects: ethics, metaphysics, ancient philosophy, the legacy of Freudian psychoanalysis, and literature. Philosophy as criticism: essays on Dennett, Searle, Foot, Davidson, Nozick (Continuum, 2011)–now on Shields Library’s freshly-repurposed new book shelf–offers essays on consciousness, realism, ethics, the philosophy of mind, and philosophy as wisdom literature.  For location information, see

The Open Humanities Press: On New Publishing Opportunities in the Humanities

September 28th, 2010 by David Michalski

The Open Humanities Press: On New Publishing Opportunities in the Humanities

Marta Brunner, Open Humanities Press, UCLA Libraries
Date: Thursday, October 21, 1-3pm
Location: 126 Voorhies, UC Davis

Marta Brunner shares her experience as an advisor to the Open Humanities Press, (OUP) an international publishing collective in critical and cultural theory. This scholarly run collective publishes journals such as Fast Capitalism, Film-Philosophy, the International Journal of Žižek Studies and Postcolonial Text, as well books in series edited by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Wlad Godzich and Bruno Latour. Marta Brunner will discuss opportunities and challenges for for humanities scholars offered by new publishing systems alongside the coming crisis in humanities publishing. For more info on OUP see

Marta L. Brunner is Head of Collections, Research, and Instructional Services at the Charles E. Young Research Library at UCLA. In addition to her work in Young Research Library, she sits on the UCLA Library Scholarly Communication Steering Committee and is a Library representative to the UCLA Institute for Digital Research and Education: Humanities, Arts and Architecture, Social and Information Sciences. Marta came to Young Research Library in 2006 as a postdoctoral fellow sponsored by the Council on Library and Information Resources after obtaining her Ph.D. from the History of Consciousness Program at UC Santa Cruz.

Sponsored by the University Library UC Davis

Contact: David Michalski, Social and Cultural Studies Librarian, UC Davis, 530-752-2086

International Journal of Zizek Studies

February 4th, 2010 by Michael Winter

“Launched in January 2007, IJŽS is a peer-reviewed, open access academic journal. As its title unambiguously proclaims, it is devoted to the work of Slavoj Žižek, a Slovenian philosopher/cultural theorist. Despite such predictably caricatured media portrayals as “the Elvis of cultural theory” and “the Marx brother”, Žižek has attracted enormous international interest through his application of otherwise esoteric scholarship to contemporary mass culture and politics. ”

Zusammenfassung, Hans-Georg Gadamers Hermeneutiklehre

January 25th, 2010 by Michael Winter

Zusammenfassung/Summary of Gadamer’s influential study, “Wahrheit und Methode”/”Truth and Method”. Links to two video clips, “Gadamer im Gespraech mit Ruediger Safranski.”