Summer Sites

Playa de Chipiona by José Jiménez Aranda (c.1899 Museo del Prado)

The summer affords time for a round-up of web sites recently encountered and of potential interest to those who work in the Romance languages:

Biblioteca Medici Laurenciana – more than 1655 manuscripts of the 3900 in the Florentine library’s Plutei collection have been digitized and are available here.

Catalogue of Digitized Medieval  Manuscripts – launched in 2009, this project of UCLA’s Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies Center aims to provide a single finding aid for digitized medieval manuscripts available on the web. See also Digital Scriptorium.

Digital Studies / Le champ numérique – a refereed academic journal, publishing three times a year and serving as a formal arena for scholarly activity and as an academic resource for researchers in the digital humanities.

La Enciclopedia del Museo del Prado – freely available digital conversion of the 4-volume print tool published in 2006 by Fundación Amigos del Museo del Prado and Tf editores.

Études Photographiques – published by the Société française de photographie with the CNL, CNRS and l’université de Ryerson, this open-access journal is one of many titles available through the portal which provides access to more than 254 OA publications.

Manioc, nouvelle bibliothèque numérique partenaire – this digital library of primary sources from the Caribbean, the Amazon, and the Guyana Plateau also provides full text to the open-access journal Études caribéennes.

PLEAIADI – the “Portale per la Letteratura scientifica Elettronica Italiana su Archivi aperti e Depositi Istituzionali” aims at building a national Italian platform that offers centralized access to the scholarly literature archived in Italian open-access repositories.

The Renaissance in Print: 16th Century French Books in the Douglas Gordon Collection – comprises over 600 digitized volumes of French books from the sixteenth century on religion, philosophy, medicine, astronomy, travel and architecture all held by the University of Virginia.

Salon du Livre podcasts – downloadable MP3s from the Paris book fair held every year in March. Includes talks with Jean-Claude Carrière, Frédéric Beigbeder, Fatou Diome, Georges Balandier, Jean-Luc Nancy, Véronique Ovaldé , Antonio Lobo Antunes, Enrique Vila-Matas, and more.

Traces – An open-access bibliographical database on Catalan language and literature. The TRACES project was created in 1987 by the Grup d’Estudis de Literatura Catalana Contemporània (GELCC) from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

Vocabulários Ortográficos da  Língua Portuguesa – two new and complementary, if not competing, orthographical dictionaries were published earlier this year. The searchable online versions are freely available:
Vocabulário ortográfico da língua portuguesa (Academia Brasileira de Letras – 5.ª ed. 2009)
Vocabulário ortográfico da língua portuguesa (Porto Editora – 1.ª ed. 2009)

La voix de Gilles Deleuze en ligne – sponsored by L’association Siècle DeleuzienV and Le Groupe Esthétique, Représentations, Savoirs  (une équipe de recherche de l’Université de Paris 8), hosts hundreds of hours of MP3s mostly from the 1980s.

*An extremely high-res. version of José Jiménez Aranda’s Playa de Chipiona at the top of this post is available on the Museo del Prado’s web site.

Free-books via Editorial Catedra

 Antología de prosa lírica por Juan Ramón Jiménez (Madrid: Catédra, 2007)

Spanish publisher Cátedra has launched  Biblioteca Digital Cátedra which provides free access for a trial period to approximately 50 titles from its back list and that are difficult to find in print. This digital collection is aimed primarily towards the academic community and includes selections from the following important monographic series: Crítica y Estudios literarios, Historia, Arte o Teorema, as well as Letras Hispánicas and Letras Universales.

This first installment of the online book collection includes works by Juan Ramón Jiménez,  Emilio Alarcos Yvancos Pozuelo, Lope de Vega, Carmen Martin Gaite, and others.

Bibliotheque Bleue Texts Digitized

La plaisante et triomphante histoire des hauts et cheualeureux faicts d'armes, du tres-puissant & tres-magnanime, & tres-victorieux Prince Meliadus (Troyes, 1612).

Thirty-two texts of popular French literature from the Bancroft Library’s collection of Bibliothèque Bleue de Troyes have recently been digitized and added to ARTFL’s Bibliothèque Bleue Online. Hosted by the University of Chicago, the openly accessible database of now 284 separate livrets (booklets) comprises a single searchable corpus for a representative portion of the vast publishing enterprise which was started by printer-bookseller Nicolas Oudot in the early 17th century in Troyes and quickly spread across Western Europe and flourished through the middle of the 19th century. While the length of the texts are usually quite brief and the content varies considerably, they were always aimed at popular consumption. ARTFL’s database, powered by PhiloLogic, includes both the searchable text as well as the digital facsimiles of the often badly worn and cheaply produced chapbooks, which were typically covered in bleue (blue) sugar paper wrappers.

The Bibliothèque Bleue represents a long and storied tradition in popular French print culture. Spanning more than 250 years and involving the publication of mass-produced, inexpensive books that were sold for pennies by colporteurs (peddlers), it comprised texts ranging from the practical (recipes, almanacs, and how-to books) to the pious (hagiographies, prayer books, and other religious instruction) and to the entertaining (fiction, chivalresque romances, songbooks, burlesque), and provides a unique insight into the popular culture of France. The most significant collection (some 2570 volumes) of Bibliothèque Bleue material resides at the Médiathèque du Grand Troyes, whose initial digitization efforts form the basis of the Bibliothèque Bleue Online.

The bulk of the Bancroft’s 92 Bibliothèque Bleue texts were acquired by rare books curator Tony Bliss in the mid-1990s. See The Berkeleyan article from 8/27/97 titled “The Old, The Rare, and the Trashy.” The catalog records for each physical artifact (often bound in the same volume) can be located in OskiCat by searching the title phrase “Bibliothèque bleue (Troyes, France)” or by going directly to the collection entry record which collocates all 45 volumes. Texts chosen for inclusion, a project of the Collaborative Initiative for French Language Collections (CIFNAL), do not duplicate those already contained in ARTFL’s Bibliothèque Bleue Online.

This modest digitization project of approximately 2500 pages of once commonplace yet now scarce historical material involved more people than one might imagine, and plans are underway to add a few more Bancroft texts as well as make the UC Berkeley texts available on the California Digital Library’s Calisphere for even broader use and discovery. This collaborative project would not have been possible without the assistance and support of Tony Bliss, Chuck Eckman, Mary Elings, David Kessler, Steve Mendoza, Charles Stewart, Robert Byler, Randy Brandt, Susan Snyder, Lorna Kirwan, Lynne Grigsby, Sarah Sussman, and the entire team at ARTFL.

Mareschal expert, traitant du naturel, & des marques des beaux & bons chevaux, de leurs maladies & remedes d'icelles. (Troyes, 1781)
Beaugrand, Nicolas [1731]. Mareschal expert,
traitant du naturel, & des marques des beaux
& bons chevaux, de leurs maladies & remedes d’icelles.
Par feu N. Baugrand Augmente d’une seconde partie,
contenant plusieurs recepées tres aprouvées du Sieur de l’Espinet
sic (La Veuve de J. Oudot & J. Oudot, Troyes)

See also:


Andriès, Lise. La Bibliothèque bleue: littérature de colportage. Paris: R. Laffont, 2003.
Main Stacks PQ1125 .A537 2003


La Bible Bleue: Anthologie d’une Littérature “populaire.” / Geneviëve Bollëme; appendice et index ëtablis par Nora Scott. Paris: Flammarion, 1975.
Main Stacks PQ801 .B37

La Bibliothèque bleue et les littératures de colportage. Actes du colloque organisé par la Bibliothèque Municipale à vocation régionale de Troyes en collaboration avec l’École nationale des Chartes, Troyes, 12-13 Novembre 1999 / Réunis par Thierry Delcourt et Elisabeth Parinet. Paris: École des chartes, 2000.
Main Stacks PQ1276.P62 B435 2000

Catalogue descriptif de la Bibliothèque bleue de Troyes (almanachs exclus) / Alfred Morin. Genève: Droz, 1974.
Bancroft Reference Z4.A1 H58 v.7

Martin, Henri-Jean, “The Bibliothèque Bleue: Literature for the Masses in the Ancien Régime,” Publishing History 3 (1978): 70-102.

Sussman, Sarah, “The Bibliothèque Bleue Online: CIFNAL’s First Collaborative Project,” Focus on Global Resources, 28: 3 (Spring 2009).