New in OverDrive eBooks and Audiobooks

OverDrive is a UC Berkeley Library service for borrowing ebooks and audiobooks. You can access books online, download them to a device, or read them on an ereader such as Kindle. OverDrive is available to current UC Berkeley students, faculty, and staff. How it works: Simply log in with your CalNet ID, and you can start borrowing!

You can also download the Libby by OverDrive app to access OverDrive from your mobile device. For more information, visit the OverDrive help guide.

Check out some of the new arrivals here:

Romance Languages – Online Resources & more

Postcard of Sanremo ca. 1925, Biblioteca civica Francesco Corradi, Internet Culturale

Even though the Library’s buildings have been closed through April  7  due to the coronavirus pandemic, faculty, students and staff can still access a wealth of resources online, and we are ramping up our outreach and remote services. The newly created guide Remote Resources for UC Berkeley Library Users provides an overview of resources available to you:

  • Online resources
  • Online help 24/7
  • Librarian consultations and instruction
  • Technology assistance
  • Returning and renewing materials (due date for all items due between March 16 and May 31 is now June 1, 2020)

This blog post, which will be updated periodically, aims to highlight online resources for those doing research in the romance languages and literatures within the context of Southern European studies in particular. If you encounter resources of interest not listed please let me know and I’ll add them, especially if they are not included in the directory of library databases or existing library guides for French, Italian and Spanish & Portuguese. See also the e-resources guide for the Caribbean and Latin American Studies.

Book and journal requests are encouraged but the Library is limited to e-formats at this time. And please don’t forget that I remain available for research and reference assistance by email, telephone, chat via Google Hangouts, or Zoom.

Claude Potts
Librarian for Romance Language Collections


Most ebooks in English are acquired through packages with publishers such as Cambridge, JSTOR, Project Muse, ProQuest and are discoverable in OskiCat as well as Start My Search. Here are a few important European ebook platforms that can be explored directly (or individual ebooks encountered through OskiCat):

Cairn ebooks  updated 3/26/20
Primarily a journal collection but UCB has has also purchased access to 568 ebooks through Cairn. During the closure, they are providing access to the full catalog of 10,174 ebooks, the Que sais-je? series and also some popular magazines.

Classiques Garnier Numérique
During the COVID-19 crisis, this publisher is generously providing access to digital versions of books we’ve purchased in print, including collections such as Classiques Jaunes, Littérature française, Littératures francophones and more.

Collection of Spanish and Catalan e-books published in Latin America and Spain. To date, the UCB Library has purchased more than 2,700+ titles. To preview the complete list search OskiCat for “Digitalia e-Books UCB access.”

The Directory of Open Access Books is an initiative to increase the discoverability of open access books. Currently, it includes 27,592 academic peer-reviewed books from 377 publishers.

Digital platform for Éditions L’Harmattan which is the largest publisher of French-language ebooks. Search OskiCat for “Harmathèque eBooks” to discover the 1041 titles acquired by the Library.

HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service added 4/3/20   HathiTrust Digital Library
Current UC Berkeley faculty, staff, and students will be able to take advantage of HathiTrust’s Emergency Temporary Access Service, helping the Library continue to serve its mission even during the COVID-19 pandemic. The service provides view-only access to digital versions of millions of the physical volumes held by libraries across the 10-campus UC system — plus NRLF and SRLF. For more information, read HathiTrust’s guide and FAQ on the Emergency Temporary Access Service.

Humanities E-Book Project (formerly History E-Books Project)
Access to the full text of 5,400 frequently-cited academic books in humanities. (ACLS History E-Books Project – HEB) [1920s – present]

Internet Archive’s National Emergency Library added 3/24/20
A collection of nearly a million and a half digitized books, most still under copyright, in all languages are being made publicly available through June 30, 2020. Up to 10 books at a time can be checked out with the creation of a free account.

OpenEdition Books oa updated 3/26/20
A French open access interdisciplinary humanities and social sciences portal with four complementary platforms: OpenEdition Books (ebooks), OpenEdition Journals (scholarly journals), Calenda (academic announcements), and Hypothèses (research blogs). While most of the 9,463 ebooks are available in html, UCB has purchased freemium access to 4,751 ebooks that are now discoverable in OskiCat through the handle “OpenEdition Books.” Purchased titles have been optimized specifically for e-readers, tablets, and smart phones (ePub, PDF, etc.). 700 new titles were recently purchased and freemium access should be turned on by April however during the period of confinement, most books will be available in all formats.

REDIB (Red Iberoamericana de Innovación y Conocimiento Científico) oa
A platform for the aggregation of open scientific and academic content in the electronic format produced in the Ibero-American context. Currently 3,199 journals and 852 ebooks.

Casalini Libri’s full text digital platform provides access to 3,161 ebooks, 530 conference proceedings, and 141 journals by major Italian publishers.


The most comprehensive collection of French-language journals in the humanities and social sciences available online. Full text to more than 500 peer-reviewed academic French and Belgian journals, as well as citations for open-access journals, in the humanities and social sciences. [2001 – present]

Dialnet oa
Indexes articles, conference papers, book chapters, dissertations and other documents in the social sciences and the humanities published mostly in Spain and to a lesser extent in Latin America. Full text provided to open access content. [2001 – present]

Fabrizio Serra Journals
Collection of more than 50 Italian scholarly journals primarily covering literature, literary criticism, philology, and linguistics. [start dates vary by title; most begin in 2000].

OpenEdition Journals oa
Formerly is part of OpenEdition, a comprehensive digital publishing infrastructure whose objective is to promote research in the humanities and social sciences. The open access scholarly journal collection includes 534 mostly French but also English, Italian and Spanish titles in the humanities and social sciences. [1999-]

Persée oa
Free and open access to French scholarly journals in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities as well as to books, conference proceedings, serial publications, primary sources, etc.

RACO: Revistes Catalanes amb Acces Obert oa added 3/24/20
A cooperative open access repository of 506 full text scholarly journals.

REDIB (Red Iberoamericana de Innovación y Conocimiento Científico) oa
A platform for the aggregation of scientific and academic content in the electronic format produced in the Ibero-American context. Currently 3199 journals and 433 ebooks published by CSIC.

Casalini Libri’s full text digital platform provides access to 3161 ebooks, 530 conference proceedings, and 141 journals by major Italian publishers including Fabrizio Serra Editore.

Digital libraries and other online collections



The Languages of Berkeley: An Online Exhibition

La Vallière manuscript of Candide, ou L’optimisme (1758), Gallica, Bibliothèque nationale de France    

Si c’est ici le meilleur des mondes possibles, que sont donc les autres?

If this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others like?

— Voltaire, Candide, ou, l’Optimisme (trans. Burton Raffel)

Voltaire, né François-Marie Arouet (1694-1778), was a French philosopher who mobilized the power of Enlightenment principles in 18th-century Europe more than any other thinker of his day. Born into a prosperous bourgeois Parisian family, his father steered him toward law, but he was intent on a literary career. His tragedy Oedipe, which premiered at the Comédie Française in 1718, brought him instant financial and social success. A libertine and a polemicist, he was also an outspoken advocate for religious tolerance, pluralism and freedom of speech, publishing more than 2,000 works in all possible genres during his lifetime. For his bluntness, he was locked up in the Bastille twice and exiled from Paris three times.[1] Fleeing royal censors, Voltaire fled to London in 1727 where he, despite arriving penniless, spent two and a half years hobnobbing with nobility as well as writers such as Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift.[2]

After his sojourn in Great Britain, he returned to the Continent and lived in numerous cities (Champagne, Versaille, Amsterdam, Potsdam, Berlin, etc.) before settling outside of Geneva in 1755 shortly after Louis XV banned him from Paris. “It was in his old age, during the 1760s and 1770s,” writes historian Robert Darnton, “that he wielded his second and most powerful weapon, moral passion.”[3] Early in 1759, Voltaire completed and published the satirical novella Candide, ou l’Optimisme (“Candide, or Optimism”) featured in this entry. In 1762, he published Traité sur la tolerance (“Treatise on Tolerance”), which is considered one of the greatest defenses of religious freedom and human rights ever composed. Soon after its publication, the American and French Revolutions began dismantling the social world of aristocrats and kings that we now refer to as the Ancien Régime.[4]

With Candide in particular, Voltaire is credited with pioneering what is called the conte philosophique, or philosophical tale. Knowing it would scandalize, the story was published anonymously in Geneva, Paris and Amsterdam simultaneously and disguised as a French translation by a fictitious Mr. Le Docteur Ralph. The novella was immediately condemned for its blasphemy and subversion, yet within weeks sold 6,000 copies within Paris alone.[5] Royal censors were unable to keep up with the proliferation of illegal reprints, and it quickly became a bestseller throughout Europe.

Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726) is considered one of its clearest precursors in both form and parody. Candide is the name of the naive hero who is tutored by the optimistic philosophy of Pangloss, who claims that “all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds” only to be expulsed in the first few pages from the opulent chateau in which he grew up. The story unfolds as Candide travels the world and encounters unimaginable human suffering and catastrophes. Voltaire’s satirical critique takes aim at religion, authority, and the prevailing philosophy of the time, Leibnizian optimism.

While the classical language of Candide is more than 260 years old, it is easy enough to comprehend today. As the lingua franca across the Continent, French was accessible to a vast French-reading public since gathering strength as a literary language since the 16th century.[6] However, no language stays the same forever and French is no exception. Old French, which is studied by medievalists at Berkeley, covers the period up to 1300. Middle French spans the 14th and 14th centuries and part of the early Renaissance when the study of French language was taken more seriously. Modern French emerged from one of the two major dialects known as langue d’oïl in the middle of the 17th century when efforts to standardize the language were taking shape. It was then that the Académie Française was established in 1635.[8] One of its members, Claude Favre de Vaugelas, published in 1647 the influential volume, Remarques sur la langue françoise, a series of commentaries on points of pronunciation, orthography, vocabulary and syntax.[9]

At UC Berkeley, scholars have been analyzing Candide and other French texts in the original since the university’s founding. The Department of French may have the largest concentration of French speakers on campus, and French remains like German, Spanish, and English one of the principal languages of scholarship in many disciplines. Demand for French publications is great from departments and programs such as African Studies, Anthropology, Art History, Comparative Literature, History, Linguistics, Middle Eastern Studies, Music, Near Eastern Studies, Philosophy, and Political Science. The French collection is also vital to interdisciplinary Designated Emphasis PhD programs in Critical Theory, Film & Media Studies, Folklore, Gender & Women’s Studies, Medieval Studies, and Renaissance & Early Modern Studies.

UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library is home to the most precious French holdings, including medieval manuscripts such as La chanson de geste de Garin le Loherain (13th c.) and dozens of incunables. More than 90 original first editions by Voltaire can be located in these special collections, including La Henriade (1728), Mémoires secrets pour servir à l’histoire de Perse (1745) Maupertuisiana (1753), L’enfant prodigue: comédie en vers dissillabes (1753) and a Dutch printing of Candide, ou, l’Optimisme (1759). Other noteworthy material from the 18th century overlapping with Voltaire include the Swiss Enlightenment and the French Revolutionary Pamphlet collections.

Contribution by Claude Potts
Librarian for Romance Language Collections, Doe Library

Sources consulted:

  1. Davidson, Ian. Voltaire. New York: Pegasus Books, 2010. xviii
  2. Ibid.
  3. Darnton, Robert. “To Deal With Trump, Look to Voltaire,” New York Times (Dec. 27, 2018).
  4. Voltaire. Candide or Optimism. Translated by Burton Raffel. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005.
  5. Davidson, 291.
  6. Levi, Anthony. Guide to French Literature. Chicago: St. James Press, c1992-c1994.
  7. Kors, Alan Charles, ed. Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment. Oxford University Press, 2002.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Ibid.


Title: Candide, ou L’optimisme (Manuscrit La Vallière)
Title in English: Candide, ou L’optimisme (La Vallière Manuscript)
Author: Voltaire, 1694-1778
Imprint: La Vallière (Louis-César, duc de). Ancien possesseur, 1758.
Edition: 1st edition
Language: French
Language Family: Indo-European, Romance
Source: Gallica (Bibliothèque nationale de France, Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, 3160)

Other online editions:

Print editions at Berkeley:

The Languages of Berkeley [fan]
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The Languages of Berkeley is a dynamic online sequential exhibition celebrating the diversity of languages that have advanced research, teaching and learning at the University of California, Berkeley. It is made possible with support from the UC Berkeley Library and is co-sponsored by the Berkeley Language Center (BLC).

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New Books in Literature

Take a much needed study break, and peruse the Library’s new acquisitions in Literature! The books we recently received have something for everyone—whether you’re looking for poetry, prose, or criticism.

Check out the rest of the new acquisitions!

Want a book that we don’t have in the library? Request it here.

Read at Home: New in OverDrive for March

OverDrive is a UC Berkeley Library service for borrowing ebooks and audiobooks. You can access books online, download them to a device, or read them on an ereader such as Kindle. OverDrive is available to current UC Berkeley students, faculty, and staff. How it works: Simply log in with your CalNet ID, and you can start borrowing!

For more information, visit the OverDrive help guide.

Check out some of March’s new arrivals here:

New Books Added to Graduate Services in March

The handmaid's tale

The Handmaid’s Tale: The Graphic Novel by Margaret Atwood art & adapatation by Renee Nault

Conversations with Allen Ginsberg

Conversations With Allen Ginsberg edited by David Stephen Calonne


Pursuit: A Novel Of Suspense by Joyce Carol Oates

Conversations with Neil Simon

Conversations With Neil Simon edited by Jackson R. Bryer and Ben Siegel

Poems written abroad : the Lilly Library manuscript

Poems Written Abroad: The Lilly Library Manuscript by Stephen Spender edited by Christop Irmscher

Complete novels : Boston adventure ; The Mountain lion ; The Catherine wheel

Jean Stafford: Complete Novels: Boston Adventure, The Mountain Lion, The Catherine Wheel edited by Kathryn Davis

Selected poems of Edith Wharton

Selected Poems Of Edith Wharton edited by Irene Goldman-Price

Like a thief in broad daylight : power in the era of post-human capitalism

Like A Thief In Broad Daylight: Power In The Era Of Post-Human Capitalism by Slavoj Zizek

Have You Read These Reader Favorites Yet?

Although 2019 is behind us, we can’t get enough of the wonderful works of literature that came out last year. All of the books below ranked high on the 2019 Goodreads Choice Awards, with topics ranging from the glamour of 1940s New York to connections between two seemingly average people. Find these reader favorites at Berkeley!

For fiction, consider:

If thrilling novels are more your cup of tea, try these:

Take a trip back in time with these selections:

Want a book that we don’t have in the library? Tweet us at @doe_lit!

An African American short story in French

Le Mulâtre by Victor SéjourBorn in New Orleans, Victor Séjour (1817-1874) was a Creole writer who moved to France at the age of 19 to continue his education, find work, and flee the racial oppression of Louisiana. His short story “Le Mulâtre” (“The Mulatto”) was first published in the abolitionist journal Révue des Colonies (March 1837) not long after his arrival in Paris and is now freely available through Gallica—the digital library of the Bibliothèque nationale de France. It is the first work of fiction written by an African American author. Set in Saint Domingue before the Haitian Revolution, Séjour’s work centers on the injustice and cruelty of slavery. According to Marlene Daut and David O’Connell in her article “Sons of White Fathers: Mulatto Vengeance and the Haitian Revolution in Victor Séjour’s ‘The Mulatto'” published in Nineteenth-Century Literature 65:1 (June 2010), the tale was “not simply a blow . . . struck for the cause of abolition in the French colonies, but [was] . . . also one of the first manifestations of a ‘literature of combat’ written by an American black.””

A full English translation of “The Mulatto” was published more than one hundred years after his death in The Norton Anthology of African American Literature, edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Nellie Y. McKay (New York: W. W. Norton and Co., 1997). Remembered as one of the first black writers of both the African American and French literary traditions, Victor Séjour enjoyed a period of success as a playwright, was naturalized as a French citizen, and is buried in the Père-Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. The Library has reprints in French and a few English translations of his works in the Main Stacks while The Bancroft Library houses two rare first editions – La madone des roses : drame en cinq actes, en prose (1869) and La tireuse de cartes; drame en cinq actes et un prologue, en prose (1860) in its African American Writers collection.

This post has been shared as part of a UC Berkeley initiative announced by Chancellor Carol Christ to mark the 400th anniversary of the forced arrival of enslaved Africans in the English colonies.


New in OverDrive for February

OverDrive is a UC Berkeley Library service for borrowing ebooks and audiobooks. You can access books online, download them to a device, or read them on an ereader such as Kindle. OverDrive is available to current UC Berkeley students, faculty, and staff. How it works: Simply log in with your CalNet ID, and you can start borrowing!

For more information, visit the OverDrive help guide.

Check out some of February’s new arrivals here:

French Literary Prize Winners 2019

French Literary Prize Winners 2019

France’s array of literary prizes offer a glimpse of emerging French and francophone writers, and also award accolades to the well-known. The winning titles with hyperlinks on this list provided by Amalivre in Paris are now available for check-out in UC Berkeley’s collection. To view the most recent book purchases across disciplines within French studies, please consult the recent acquisitions list in OskiCat.

Fall Awards Author Title Publisher
Governor General’s Literary Award (roman français) * Céline Huyghebaert Le drap blanc Le Quartanier
Grand prix de la littérature policière * Richard Morgiève Le Cherokee Joëlle Losfeld
Grand prix du roman de l’Académie Française * Laurent Binet Civilizations Grasset
Grand prix du roman métis * Laurent Gaudé Salina: les trois exils Actes sud
Prix Décembre * Claudie Hunziger Les grands cerfs Grasset
Prix de Flore Sofia Aouine Rhapsodie des oubliés La Martinière
Prix de la langue française * Louis-Philippe Dalembert Mur méditerranée Sabine Wespieser
Prix de la nouvelle de l’Académie française * Louis-Antoine Prat Belle encore et autres nouvelles Somogy
Prix des cinq continents de la francophonie * Gilles Jobidon Le tranquille affligé Leméac
Prix du roman FNAC * Bérengère Cournut De pierre et d’os Le Tripode
Prix Femina * Sylvain Prudhomme Par les routes Gallimard
Prix Femina essai * Emmanuelle Lambert Giono, furioso Stock
Prix Goncourt * Jean-Paul Dubois Tous les hommes n’habitent pas le monde de la même façon L’Olivier
Prix Goncourt des lycéens * Karine Tuil Les choses humaines Gallimard
Prix Guillaume Apollinaire (Poetry) * Olivier Barbarant Un grand instant Champ Vallon
Prix Interallié * Karine Tuil Les choses humaines Gallimard
Prix Landernau * Sylvain Prudhomme Par les routes Gallimard
Prix Médicis * Luc Lang La tentation Stock
Prix Médicis essai * Bulle Ogier & Anne Diatkine J’ai oublié Seuil
Prix Renaudot * Sylvain Tesson La panthère des neiges Gallimard
Prix Renaudot des lycéens * Victoria Mas Le bal des folles Albin Michel
Prix Renaudot essai * Eric Neuhoff (Très) cher cinéma français Albin Michel
Prix Senghor du premier roman francophone *
Ester Mann & Levon Minassian
Le fil des anges Vents d’ailleurs
Prix Wepler * Lucie Taïeb Les échappées Editions de l’Ogre
Other General Literary Prizes
Prix des Deux Magots (January) * Emmanuel de Waresquiel Le temps de s’en apercevoir L’Iconoclaste
Prix des Libraires (June) * Franck Bouysse Né d’aucune femme
La Manufacture de Livres
Grand prix de la francophonie de l’Académie Française *
Grand prix littéraire de l’Afrique noire (May) * Armand Gauz Camarade Papa Nouvel Attila
Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman (May) * Marie Gauthier Court vêtue Gallimard
Prix Goncourt de la nouvelle * Caroline Lamarche Nous sommes à la lisière Gallimard
Prix Ahmadou Kourouma (May) * David Diop Frère d’âme
Prix Goncourt de la poésie (May) * Yvon Le Men awarded for the body of his work
Prix Goncourt de la biographie (June) * Frédéric Pajak Manifeste incertain 7 Noir sur blanc
Prix Landernau Polar (May) * Thomas Canteloube Réquiem pour une République Gallimard
European Union Prize for Literature (auteurs français) * Sophie Daull awarded for the ensemble of her work Ed. Philippe Rey
Prix Mallarmé (Poetry) * Claudine Bohi Naître, c’est longtemps La tête à l’envers
Prix Orange (June) * Jean-Baptiste Maudet Matador Yankee Le Passage
Prix de l’Académie française Maurice Genevoix (June) * Jean-Marie Planes Une vie de soleil Arléa
Prix Ouest France Etonnants Voyageurs (June) * Anaïs Llobet Des hommes couleur de ciel Ed. de l’Observatoire
Prix des Lecteurs de L’Express (June) * Jean-Claude Grumberg La plus précieuse des marchandises Seuil
Prix Jean d’Ormesson (new 2018 –not restricted to living authors or new titles) * Julian Barnes La seule histoire (translated from the English) Gallimard
Grand Prix de Poésie de l’Académie française * Pierre Oster For the ensemble of his work
Prix de la Bibliothèque nationale de France (June) * Virginie Despentes For the ensemble of her work
Prix du livre Inter (June) * Emmanuelle Bayamack-Tam Arcadie POL