Covers from the Liberation Collection

These look great- most interesting.

The Liberation Collection consists of over 3000 books published in French between 1944 and 1946. They all share a common subject – the Second World War – and reflect the interest of the collector for book history (quality paper, limited editions, signed copies, etc.); this aside, they differ widely from each other in the way they treat the subject, what they talk about (or don’t talk about), their format, pictorial content, audience, tone and genre. One way to give an insight into the variety of the collection is through its most striking book covers, most of them having been photographed for our thumbnail project. Here is a random sample taken from books catalogued in 2019:


Fiction represents nearly one sixth of the collection. Below are a spy novel, an adventure tale about the life of a fighter pilot and a theatre play about the army draft in France.

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The Résistante and the Collaborationist: an odd connection in the Liberation Collection

An interesting collection indeed.

Riffaud and Liquois, two destinies with seemingly nothing in common, apart from the War and a little booklet from Jeunesse Héroïque (Portrait of Riffaud by Picasso from “Le poing fermé”, Liquois image from under Creative Commons)

As discussed in an earlier blogpost, showcasing the beautiful and entertaining Belgian children’s collection Les Alliés, a surprisingly large proportion of the Liberation Collection is made up of thin pamphlets aimed at young people. They were published in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War in France and Belgium.

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German Expressionism: taking inspiration from Leicester

Fascinating stuff! There always seems more to discover on this topic including Polish and Scandinavian artists drawn into the ambit of German art in this fertile period.

Expressionism in Germany is particularly associated with two major groups which emerged before World War One: Der Blaue Reiter in Munich and Die Brücke in Dresden, artistic communities which reacted against the bourgeois culture and wanted to change art and society. For those interested in seeing German Expressionist works now, obvious destinations are the Lenbachhaus in Munich or the Brücke Museum in Berlin. But closer to home, Leicester has a large collection of German Expressionist works which grew out of an exhibition of “Mid-European art” held there in February 1944. The exhibition was instigated by the then director of Leicester museums, Trevor Thomas (his is a fascinating life story – dismissed from his role in Leicester after the war following a court appearance for public indecency at a time when homosexuality was illegal, the last person to see Sylvia Plath alive…) and featured works belonging to a German emigré collector…

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The Blue, by Nancy Bilyeau

ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

I enjoyed this historical novel, recommended to me by Emma from Words and Peace when she came across my review of Robyn Cadwallader’s Book of Colours which features a 14th century family of limners who create exquisite illuminated bibles and devotional prayer books. The Blue is likewise an historical novel about art, but it’s about 18th century porcelain, and the quest to create the colour blue.

The story features a lively young woman called Genevieve Planché, born in London after her parents fled the persecution of the Protestant Huguenots in Catholic France. Like many a contemporary heroine in commercial historical novels she is feisty, fearless and ambitious, and she accomplishes remarkable feats despite the constraints of her era.  There have, of course, always been remarkable women, but still, the reader must often suspend disbelief, especially towards the end of the story when Genevieve is impudent towards people who might easily…

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The Lanes in November

Beautiful photographs!!


Nadar: the story of a photography pioneer

Fascinating introduction to an early photographer.

Last year the Bibliothèque nationale de France organised Les Nadar, un légende photographique, an exhibition on this family of photographers (accompanying catalogue: S950.b.201.5289 featuring Paul Nadar’s portrait of Sarah Bernhardt on the cover). The most important of these was Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, photography pioneer, freelance writer and caricaturist, known by his pseudonym, Nadar. In addition, his son Paul and his half-brother Adrien Tournachon were gifted photographers.

Caricature of F. Nadar in La lune, 1867, 2015.8.2833

Félix Nadar was born in 1820 into a family of printers and booksellers in Lyon. From a young age he was an admirer of Dumas, Hugo and Balzac. He started to study medicine in Lyon but once his father died in 1837, he had to quit and moved to Paris. There he started his career as writer and caricaturist, collaborating in some journals. He frequented the Parisian bohemian scene in the Latin Quarter; where…

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On the fringes of Dada in Berlin

It seems to be almost a running joke that British people find it difficult to name a famous Belgian. This post highlights a major work of an important and influential 20th century Flemish poet who should definitely be more widely known and who was briefly on the periphery of the Dada movement in Berlin after World War I.

Paul van Ostaijen in Germany, 1920 via Wikimedia Commons

Paul van Ostaijen (1896-1928) was from Antwerp where he gained a reputation as a dandy within bohemian circles. He was a political activist for the Flemish independence movement, and his flight to Berlin at the very end of World War I meant that he escaped a short delayed prison sentence, imposed earlier that year for demonstrating against the pro-French speaking Cardinal Mercier. He was already a published poet and critic, and during the two and a half years that he spent in…

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Die Pinguine lassen mich nicht los – Zeichnung von Susanne Haun

Lovely penguins- really sweet!!

Susanne Haun

Es hört sich an als ob der nächste Salon am 29. Oktober 2019, 18 Uhr (Klick) in meinem Atelier noch in weiter Ferne scheint, jedoch weiss ich, wie schenll die Zeit vergeht und zeichne weiter an meine Afrika Impressionen.

Die Pinguine lassen mich nicht los. Die Beobachtung der Pinguine gehört zu meinen schönsten Erinnerungen an die Afrika Reise vor nun schon fast zwei Jahren. Hier ist der Link (Klick), der zum Blogbeitrag führt, in dem ich über diesen besonderen Tag berichte.

Afrika, Pinguin, Zeichnung von Susanne Haun (c) VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019Afrika, Pinguin, Zeichnung von Susanne Haun (c) VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019

Ich zeichne für die kleinen Arbeiten immernoch in der Größe 15 x 15 cm. Da ich meine Blätter immer voll ausnutze, muss ich mir tatsächlich einen Bleistiftrahmen dieser Größe zeichnen, damit ich innerhalb meines Passepartoutausschnitts bleibe. Das amüsiert mich etwas, vor dem Rahmen wird der Ausschnitt wieder ausradiert.

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Mein Sinnbild von Gertrude Stein – Collage von Susanne Haun

I have a feeling that it was her brother that was really the great collector of Matisse and so on. She was not an easy character to fit in!!

Susanne Haun

Entstehung Mein Sinnbild von Gertrude Stein, 65 x 50 cm, Tusche auf Hahnemuehle Aquarellkarton, Collage von Susanen Haun (c) VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019Entstehung Mein Sinnbild von Gertrude Stein, 65 x 50 cm, Tusche auf Hahnemuehle Aquarellkarton, Collage von Susanen Haun (c) VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019

Gertrude Stein war die Mutter der modernen Literatur.

Im großen von Uda Strädling herausgegebenen Gertrude Stein Lesebuch bezeichnet die Autorin die Literatin als “Sprachversucherin”, eine sehr gelungene Definition, wie ich finde. Hier eine Kostprobe ihres experimentellen Stils:

„Und worum geht es. Darum was vorgeht.
Was vorgeht führt ein anderes Wort ein
und das ist so gut wie ja.
Gertrude Stein, »Hört doch“

Bekannt dürfte Gertrude Stein vor allem durch den Textauszug “A Rose is a Rose is a Rose is a Rose …” sein. Die Anzahl der Rosen variiert dabei je nach Veröffentlichung. Diese simple Aussage begleitet mich schon eine geraume Zeit durch mein Leben und hat mir tatsächlich des öfteren als Weisheit in meinem Werdegang geholfen.

Die Collage von Gertrude Stein sollte eigentlich schon zur Ausstellung

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Fontane – 200

I really like his poetry- over the Tay Bridge Disaster u.sw.

200 years ago, on December 30, 1819, Theodor Fontane, one of the best-known 19th century German authors, was born. He grew up in Neuruppin, a small town in the Mark Brandenburg north of Berlin. He trained and worked as a pharmacist before embarking on a literary career, starting as a journalist before becoming one of the most prolific novelists of the 19th century.

The 200th anniversary of his birth is being celebrated throughout this year with numerous exhibitions and events in the Brandenburg region (more details here). The main exhibition is being held in Neuruppin from March 30 to December 30 and aims to give an insight into Fontane’s authorial practice. This exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue which the library has acquired (C202.b.3557).

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