Tag Archives: gallica

Gallica Friday: Miss Lili & Azor

Gallica, the online search engine of the French National Library (BnF), is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Or maybe since the baguette. Gallica Friday highlights some of the fun, interesting, and curious things I found by happily clicking around Gallica.Lili et Azor

“How Miss Lili helped her friend Azor.”

From Ecoutez-moi, a children’s book by Benjamin Rabier from 1905.

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Gallica Friday: Jiu-Jitsu

Gallica, the online search engine of the French National Library (BnF), is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Or maybe since the baguette. Gallica Friday highlights some of the fun, interesting, and curious things I found by happily clicking around Gallica.

Jiu-jitsu

Le jiu-jitsu pratique, a textbook published in 1906 by the Paris city Police chief, Charles Péchard. It’s supposed to teach you no fewer than 100 ways to deal with a criminal, even if he’s armed. What else could you possibly need?

Gallica Friday: Women in Politics

In June 1936, the cover of L’Illustré du Petit Journal, the magazine of the popular newspaper Le Petit Journal, featured the first women who held government positions in France: Suzanne Lacore, Cécile Brunschvicg, and Irène Joliot-Curie. They were appointed in 1936 by the left-wing Popular Front — a rather radical idea at the time because women were still not allowed to vote. The article itself was somewhat lukewarm and spent too much time discussing the jokes that could be made about women ministers. But it did note that they were very qualified for their positions and people appreciated them.

Fast-forward to December 2013, Elle magazine has declared Christiane Taubira “woman of the year” and featured her on the cover of the magazine. Taubira is the French Minister of Justice, also appointed by a left-wing government. She was instrumental in the passage of the same-sex marriage law and gave a rousing speech the day when it finally happened. Before that, in 2001, she also worked hard to pass another key law, which recognizes slave trade as a crime against humanity. In the interview, she talks about the many racist attacks against her, but focuses on her many accomplishments and projects, quoting Diderot as her inspiration: “Si ces pensées ne plaisent à personne, elles pourront n’être que mauvaises, mais je les tiens pour détestables si elles plaisent à tout le monde.”

A historical cover, says Le Parisien, and I couldn’t agree more.

Gallica Friday: Learning Your ABCs in 1933

Gallica, the online search engine of the French National Library (BnF), is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Or maybe since the baguette. Gallica Friday highlights some of the fun, interesting, and curious things I found by happily clicking around Gallica.

There’s an endless list of alphabet books on Gallica, and I’m sure someone, somewhere will spend days going through them and writing a thousand-page French-style dissertation. But here’s a particularly fun one from the 1930s. Not only are the images very sweet, but the author is extremely committed to the convention of having all words in a sentence start with the relevant letter. This gets a bit more complicated when we get to the end of the alphabet.

So we have Zoe who’s riding a zebra at the zoo (the perks of having a name that starts with Z). Yvon on a yawl with her yatagan (mmokay, this is getting weird). Xavier who hides away to drink a glass of sherry (French kids!). And Wilhelmine wearing a waterproof coat on a train wagon and looking terribly sad. Wilhelmine’s life would certainly have been easier now with the world wide web, wouldn’t it?

Gallica Friday

Gallica, the online search engine of the French National Library (BnF), is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Or maybe since the baguette. Welcome to Gallica Friday, where I’ll highlight some of the fun, interesting, and curious things I found by happily clicking around Gallica.

Let’s start with book ads from 19th-century France. The standard publishing model back then was to serialize the novel before printing it as a separate, self-contained book. Novels were usually first published in serial form in popular newspapers, then reprinted and sold as a series of booklets, and only after that collected in one volume as a novel. It was a pretty solid economic model for writers and publishers, and it might be one of the reasons why those 19th-century novels are so very long.

Gallica offers a glimpse of how these serialized novels were marketed when they were first published. Here are the ads for some well-known novels by Emile Zola: Au Bonheur des dames/The Ladies’ Paradise (1883), Germinal (1885) La Bête humaine/The Monomaniac (1890), and La Débâcle/The Downfall (1892).