Book talk (en français) with Lyonel Trouillot

Wednesday, November 13
5-6:30 pm
4229 Dwinelle (French Department Library)

Lyonel Trouillot is a novelist, poet, journalist and professor of French and Creole literatures in Port-au-Prince. He will discuss his novel Kannjawou (Actes Sud, 2016) which was recently translated into English (Schaffner Press, 2019). He will be introduced by Soraya Tlatli, professor of French at UC Berkeley.

Sponsored by UC Berkeley’s Department of French
Cultural Services, French Embassy in the U.S.


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.

Summer reading: The Towers of Trebizond

Book cover for The Towers of Trebizond
The Towers of Trebizond
Rose Macaulay

The main character, Laurie; her plump, adventuresome, intellectual Aunt Dot; her somewhat objectionable Anglican Father Hugh Chantry-Pigg; and a white Ruwallah camel embark from England on a missionary reconnaissance–or an Anglican spying expedition, as Laurie comically refers to it–to the unconverted peoples of the Black Sea region. (Part of Aunt Dot’s purpose in going is that of “…sizing up the situation and the possibilities, and telling women about the Anglican Church…and about what a good time Christian women had, wearing hats and talking to men, not having to carry the loads, and being free to go about and have fun like men, and sometimes ride donkeys instead of walking.”)

As Laurie narrates their travels through Turkey and Syria, intertwined are her observations of the peculiar ways of organized religion and her musings on her own spirituality. Adding to the truly great appeal found in the language and witty voice of the book, Laurie’s and the other characters’ vast classical knowledge of literary and ancient history also shines through all their adventures.

Slavic & E. European Cataloging Librarian

That’s it for the 2019 Summer Reading List! See you next summer!

Building Legal Literacies for Text Data Mining: Call for Participants

LLTDMJoin the Building Legal Literacies for Text Data Mining (Building LLTDM) Institute June 23-26, 2020 on the UC Berkeley campus to learn how to confidently navigate United States law, policy, ethics, and risk within digital humanities text data mining projects — so that participants can more easily engage in this type of research and contribute to the advancement of knowledge.

The program will consist of how law and policy matters pertain to text data mining research, such as copyright, privacy, and ethics. It will also help participants integrate workflows for these law and policy issues into their text data mining research and professional support, practice sharing these new tools through authentic consultation exercises, and develop communities of practice to promote cross-institutional outreach about the digital humanities text data mining legal landscape.

The Institute supports 32 participants based in the United States — 16 digital humanities researchers and 16 digital humanities professionals. Digital humanities professionals are people like librarians, consultants, and other institutional staff who conduct digital humanities text data mining or aid researchers in their text data mining research. Participation from pairs of participants is encouraged (e.g. one digital humanities researcher and one professional affiliated with that same institution, organization, or digital humanities project). The Institute will be taught by a combination of experienced legal scholars, digital humanities professionals, librarians, faculty, and researchers — all of whom are immersed in the Institute’s subject literacies and workflows.

To apply, email to a current CV and a 2 page letter of interest addressing your experience with or interest in the intersection of text data mining in digital humanities research and the law as well as your goals for how to apply the knowledge taken from the program. Applications are due December 20, 2019 by 5 p.m. PST. Selection notifications will go out in February 2020.

Visit the Building LLTDM website for more information.

Summer reading: Miles: The Autobiography

Book cover for Miles: The Autobiography
Miles: The Autobiography
Miles Davis with Quincy Troupe

Music majors might want to read this book, which I consider to be the best book on jazz history despite it being an autobiography.

Miles Davis was one of the towering figures in popular music of the 20th century. From a middle class family in East St. Louis, his father sent him to NYC to study music at Juilliard. He dropped out, bored out of his mind, and decided to chase his hero Charlie Parker around town to learn the latest Bebop craze. That act of defiance gave birth to a legendary career and gave us some of the best jazz recordings in history.

Davis always managed to stay on top of the many shifts in the music industry and rarely rested on his laurels. His legendary temper, his women, and his fleet of Ferraris are only side notes to a grand career that spanned almost fifty years. Kind Of Blue, the album that made him world famous, is the best testimony of a man who knew how to incorporate materials from different worlds and create classic American music.

Library Assistant III/Receiving Specialist (Spanish/Italian/French/Portuguese/Catalan Collections)
Ordering & Monographs Receiving Unit

This book is part of the 2019 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!

Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo Win 2019 Booker Prize: Read All About Them

Canadian author, Margaret Atwood, and British-Nigerian author, Bernardine Evaristo, have jointly won the 2019 Booker Prize. Atwood secured the Prize for The Testaments, the much-anticipated sequel to her 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale. Evaristo won the Prize for Girl, Woman, Other, a novel in which each chapter follows the lives of primarily black women moving through the world alone but somehow still connected to one another. This is Atwood’s second Booker win and the first for Evaristo, who is also the first black woman to win the prize since it began in 1969.

Margaret Atwood was born in Ottawa, Canada, and has long been an avid fan of writing and literature, beginning her journey when she was just six years old. Upon graduating with a Bachelor’s in English from the University of Toronto and a Master’s from Radcliffe College, Atwood began publishing collections of poetry. Her 1964 collection The Circle Game won the Governor General’s Award. By the early-to-mid-1970s, Atwood had garnered much fame for her poetry and novels, particularly her 1972 novel, Surfacing, the story of a woman artist who goes searching for her missing father on an island in northern Quebec. In the next few decades, her poignant novels on pressing social issues, feminism, and speculative fiction cemented her into the legendary author she is today and have garnered her over 20 awards.

Bernardine Evaristo was born in London, England and attended the University of London, where she later received a doctorate in creative writing. Evaristo has written eight books of fiction, which mainly focus on African diasporic experiences throughout various points in history. But she does not stop just there; Evaristo’s writing style is known for combining aspects of prose and poetry, history and modern times, and alternate realities with real life. A good example would be her 2009 novel, Blonde Roots, is a satire that switches the course of the transatlantic slave trade in which Africans enslave Europeans. Her novels have won her many prestigious awards and fellowships, such as the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize and the Ferro-Grumley Award.

A joint win for the Booker Prize is a phenomenon that has not occurred since the 1990s. In spirit of Atwood’s and Evaristo’s special win of the Booker Prize, act quick, and snatch up their novels through the Library! You can find more of Atwood’s books on Overdrive as well.


The Languages of Berkeley: An Online Exhibition

Dustjacket for the first edition of An Béal Bocht

An Béal Bocht (1941), or The Poor Mouth, written by Brian O’Nolan (Ó Nualláin) under the pseudonym Myles na gCopaleen, is one of the most famous Irish language novels of the 20th century. O’Nolan, who most famously published works such as At-Swim-Two-Birds and The Third Policeman under the name Flann O’Brien, wrote in both English and Irish as a journalist and author.

O’Brien takes up the subject of the Irish Literary Revival, a movement in the early 20th century spearheaded by such figures as Lady Gregory and W.B. Yeats who tried to repopularize the Irish folklore and raise the ‘language question’ of Ireland. He simultaneously parodies the genre of Gaeltacht autobiography, autobiographies written in Gaelic that emphasize rural life in Ireland, such as An t-Oileánach (The Islandman) by Tomás Ó Criomhthain and Peig by Peig Sayers, and critiques aspects of the revival.

An Béal Bocht begins with the birth of the narrator, Bónapárt Ó Cúnasa, and follows his life in Corca Dorcha, an impoverished town in the west of Ireland. The town’s rurality attracts the elite from Dublin in search of ‘authentic’ Irishness. Corca Dorcha certainly fits the description — it never stops raining, it’s extremely remote, and crucially, everybody speaks only Irish. The large numbers of visitors from Dublin insist that they love the Irish language, and that one should always speak Irish, about Irish, but ultimately they find Corca Dorcha to be too poor, too rainy, and ironically, too Irish. The very authenticity they sought drives them away to bring their search for authenticity elsewhere.

An Béal Bocht is regarded as a masterful satire, deftly critiquing the genre, the Dublin elite who supposedly supported Irish language revival but avoided rural realities, and the state’s failure to maintain authentic Gaeltacht cultures. The title comes from the Irish expression — ‘putting on the poor mouth’ — which means to exaggerate the direness of one’s situation in order to gain time or favour from creditors. In the novel, there is also the repeated phrase, “for our likes will not be (seen) again,” taken directly from An t-Oileánach.

For more than a century, UC Berkeley has been a locus for the study of Irish culture, language, and literature. Faculty from the departments of English, Rhetoric, Linguistics, and History participate teach courses in Irish and Welsh language and literature (in all their historical phases), and in the history, mythology, and cultures of the Celtic world.[1] The Celtic Studies Program offers the only undergraduate degree in Celtic Studies in North America. Following a visit by President Michael Higgins in 2016 to foster relationships between Irish universities and UC Berkeley, the campus’s Institute of European Studies launched the Irish Studies Program.[2] Flann O’Brien’s works are taught in UC Berkeley classes such as Modern Irish Literature and the English Research Seminar: Flann O’Brien and Irish Literature.

Contribution by Taylor Follett
Literatures and Digital Humanities Assistant, Doe Library

Sources consulted:

  1. Celtic Studies Program, UC Berkeley (accessed 10/1/19)
  2. Irish Studies Program, Institute of European Studies, UC Berkeley (accessed 10/1/19)

An Béal Bocht
Title in English: The Poor Mouth
Author: Myles, na gCopaleen (O’Brien, Flann, 1911-1966)
Imprint: Baile Áṫa Cliaṫ : An Press Náisiúnta, 1941.
Edition: 1st edition
Language: Irish
Language Family: Indo-European, Celtic
Source: The Internet Archive (Mercier Press)

Other online resources:

Print editions at Berkeley:

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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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Read Nobel Prize in Literature winners Olga Tokarczuk and Peter Handke

Polish novelist Olga Tokarczuk and Austrian author Peter Handke have just been announced as the 2018 and 2019 Nobel Prize winners in Literature, respectively. Naturally, we might expect our vast collection of their novels to be in high demand!

Before getting  started in literature, Tokarczuk was a psychologist at the University of Warsaw, working as a therapist and volunteer psychologist at an asylum in western Poland. She cites her love for psychology as a significant influence on her literary career. She rose to fame with her third novel, Prawiek i inne czasy (Primeval and Other Times), an enchanting microcosm of 20th-century Poland. She has also built a strong collection of short stories, poems, and essays along with her bestselling novels, which have won her Poland’s Koscielski Foundation Prize and prestigious Nike Award and the International Booker Prize. Tokarczuk has paved the way for Polish literature on the international stage with her insight into the human psyche.

Handke initially studied law at the University of Graz in Austria, dropping out when his first novel,  Die Hornissen (The Hornets), was picked up for publication. Often the center of controversy and known for paying close attention to the “material presence of the world,” he has had much commercial success with his plays and scripts written for films, particularly with his 1966 play, Offending the Audience and 1987 film, “Wings of Desire.” Handke has not only won awards for his novels but for his films as well, including the Gold Award for German Arthouse Cinema and the Georg Büchner Prize for German literature.

Read these selected books by the two authors before they go flying off the library shelves!

Summer reading: Angle of Repose

Book cover for angle of repose
Angle of Repose
Wallace Stegner

Stegner’s novel, one of my all-time favorites, is relevant to the “Between Worlds” theme because, while it is set in the recent modern day, the main character, a history professor at UC Berkeley, is writing a book about his grandparents’ westward migration along the American frontier, where they often must reconcile civilized east and wild west. I read this during my junior year as an undergraduate and did not want it to end.

Senior Data Visualization Analyst
Office of Planning and Analysis

This book is part of the 2019 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!


Summer reading: The 57 Bus

Book cover for The 57 Bus
The 57 Bus: A true story of two teenagers and the crime that changed their lives
Dashka Slater

This gripping read explores the different worlds of race, gender, class, and privilege and how they explosively collide on a bus traveling from Berkeley to Oakland.

Head, Social Sciences Division & Social Welfare Librarian
Social Research Library

This book is part of the 2019 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!