skip to content
 

The Rare Books Department holds a significant amount of French material amongst its various collections. The most important collections are the Montaigne Library, the Leigh Collection (Rousseau and French philosophy) and the L.C.G. Clarke collection (Restif de la Bretonne).

How to search for material relating to French studies

The electronic catalogue does not allow the reader to browse the whole of a special collection in a single search. It is possible, however, to replicate the shelf order of a collection within each size specification in Newton. To do so, one must search by classmark stem for the collection, using the first two elements of the classmark and including final punctuation. Please note that classmark searches are case-sensitive. For example, Montaigne.1. gives access to the earliest titles in the Montaigne collection; Leigh.d. to the start of the sequence of smaller volumes (17-21 cm) in Ralph Leigh's library on Rousseau and related material; CCA.45. to volumes in the Claudel collection.

Browsing can also be done through the physical class catalogues for the collection. The class catalogue contains classmarks next to basic bibliographical data: author, title, place and date of publication. It does not contain subject headings. Please enquire in the Rare Books Reading Room if you would like to look at the class catalogues.

The Acton Library: Church history and local history

Lord Acton was Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge from 1895 until 1902. The Acton library contains works about the political and ecclesiastical history of Europe since the Reformation, ranging from the 15th to 19th centuries and including 5,000 items in French. Books on local history and the history of the Church are of particular interest for French studies.

Search tip: type "Acton" as a keyword and select French as a language in Newton.

Find out more about the Acton Library.

Back to top.

The First World War collection

Books, pamphlets and ephemera in French relating to the First World War are available on microfilm. You might want to consult the card catalogue in Rare Books as well as Newton. The card catalogue also includes material held elsewhere in the Library.

Find out more about the First World War collection in Rare Books and the Military archives relating to French studies.

Back to top.

The Hutt collection: Pierre-Simon Fournier, a French typographer

(George) Allen Hutt (1901-1973) was a journalist interested in the work of the French typographer Pierre Fournier. Books about Fournier and typography in France can be found in the Hutt collection.

In his 1957 book L'inventaire de la Fonderie le Bé, Stanley Morison promised a chapter on "Jean-Pierre Fournier l'Ainé and Simon-Pierre Fournier le Jeune", but this was never included in the final work. Items relating to Pierre-Simon Fournier in the Morison manuscripts can be found in Janus.

MS Add.9812/A/44 Notes and photographs (1957-1965)
MS Add.9812/A/44/2 Typescript (1964-1965)
MS Add.9812/D/1 Memoranda on the Le Bé and Fournier families (1935-1958)
MS Add.9812/D/292 Letter (photocopy) of Morison to an unidentified correspondent, probably Warde, enclosing part of a type-specimen of Fournier (1925-1927)
MS Add.9812/E2/1 Notebook (1930-1959)

Back to top.

The Hunter collection: the history of psychiatry

The Hunter collection holds a significant number of French texts reflecting the growing interest in psychiatry and mental illness among the French scientific community and general public during the 19th century. You can find works by and about Jean-Martin Charcot (1825-1873) and Philippe Pinel (1745-1826) as well as books about law relating to the mentally ill and accounts of lunatic asylums and hospitals in 18th and 19th century France.

Find out more about the Hunter collection.

Back to top.

Incunables and 16th century books

Some of the Library's French incunables and 16th century books are extremely rare. Among them are:

  • Pierre Desrey. Vita Christi. Lyons: Guillaume Balsarin, 18 Mar. 1498. (Inc.4.D.2.10 ; Oates 3075).
  • Horae: ad usum Pictavensem. Paris: Philippe Pigouchet, for Simon Vostre, 8 Aug. 1498. (Inc.5.D.1.29; Oates 3075).
  • Alexander de Villa Dei. Doctrinale (Partes I-IV). Comm: Monachus Lombardus. Ed: Maturinus de Barda. Rouen: Martin Morin, for Jean Richard, [after 1490]. (Oates 3281).
  • Gulielmus Paraldus. Sermones moralissimi sup[er] evangelia dominicalia... I. de Channey, in civitate Avinionensi, 1519. (F151.e.4.4-).
  • Jean Pèlerin. De artificiali p[er]spectiva. Impressum Tulli ... : Opera Petri Jacobi ..., anno catholice [9 Calends July (i.e. 23 June) 1505]. (Syn.4.50.5).

Back to top.

The Leigh collection: Rousseau and other French philosophers

Oeuvres de Jean-Jacques Rousseau, citoyen de Genève. Édition ornée de superbes figures... 	de Cochin [et al.]. Tome II. Paris: Chez Defer de Maisonneuve; de l'imprimerie de Didot le jeune, 1793[-1800]. (Leigh.a.1.20)

Illustration from: Leigh.a.1.20

Ralph Alexander Leigh (1915-1987) was Professor of French at Cambridge University and editor of the Correspondance complète de Rousseau (1965-1998). His collection of 8,000 items was recently added to by Dr Robert Wokler's collection of 250 works relating to Rousseau and Diderot.

Find out more about the Leigh collection.

Back to top.

The Claudel collection: "Margotine et son cacique"

A series of published works by Paul Claudel with a dedication to his friend Audrey Parr sometimes referred to as Margotine. There is also an archive of Claudel's works held in the Manuscripts Department.

CCA.45 Paul Claudel - presented by Audrey Parr, 2001.

Back to top.

The Montaigne Library

The Montaigne collection is the third largest collection of Montaigne's books after the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Bibliothèque municipale in Bordeaux. It contains books from the author's personal library, including annotated books, numerous first editions as well as books owned by famous people. Some books from the collection were displayed in an exhibition held at Cambridge University Library from 4 August to 23 December 2008: "My booke and my selfe", Michel de Montaigne, 1533-1592.

Find out more about the Montaigne library.

Back to top.

The L.C.G. Clarke collection : Restif de la Bretonne

CCC.23 Restif de La Bretonne, Nicolas Edme (1734-1806)
A collection of eighteenth century French novels by Restif de la Bretonne and other writers, bequeathed by Louis Colville Gray Clarke (d. 13 December 1960), Fellow of Trinity Hall and Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum (1937-1946).

Find out more about the L.C.G. Clarke collection of Restif de la Bretonne (CCC.23).

Back to top.

The Waddleton collection: illustrated books

Privas, Xavier. Prince des dunes. Paris : Librairie Delegrave, 1934.

Privas, Xavier. Prince des dunes. Paris : Librairie Delegrave, 1934.

Norman Waddleton collected books with colour illustrations of any kind from all over the world. His particular interests included children's literature and works with a remarkable binding. All French language books in the collection are catalogued on Newton.

Search tip: type "Waddleton" as a keyword and select French as a language.

Find out more about the Waddleton collection on the UL web site.
The following website also contains a database of the whole Waddleton collection, including some digitised material: www.bookartworld.com.

Back to top.

The Yorke collection: Theology and classics

The Yorke collection mainly originates from the Ely Episcopal Library. It was assembled by the Right Rev. the Hon. James Yorke, Bishop of Ely (1781-1808). The subject coverage of the collection is wide: theology, classics, travel, history, literature and political pamphlets. Approximately one quarter of the books were published on the continent. Most of these are French works, including copies of a weekly journal Nouvelles extraordinaires (1792-1796).