Le Grand Siècle Chez RBC

Emmanuel Bury, professor at the Université de Versailles, and Fabien Montcher, Ahmanson-Getty fellow, Clark Library, UCLA, looking at Philippe de Commyne’s Memoirs in the Imprimerie Royale edition

A week ago, on a stormy Thursday, May 15, Wilson Library gave shelter to sessions of the 2014 Conference of the North American Society for Seventeenth-Century French Literature (NASSCFL).

At lunch hour, the Rare Book Collection mounted a selection of outstanding and eclectic imprints from the Grand Siècle, to the delight of the very knowledgeable conference attendees, who left behind their sandwiches and drinks for some bibliographical nourishment.

Katherine Dauge-Roth, associate professor at Bowdoin College, examines a book in the “Women as Agent and Object” section

Materials were grouped thematically: “Arts & Science,” “L’Imprimerie Royale,” “Mazarinades,” “History & Literature,” and “Women as Agents and Objects.” Clearly, there was something for everyone, as well as much surprise that such French literary resources resided in Chapel Hill. In particular, the extensive collection of Mazarinadespamphlets published during the French civil wars known as the Frondeelicited a fair degree of wonder. RBC’s cataloging of the approximately 1,000 titles overlapped with the publication of Hubert Carrier’s two-volume opus, Les mazarinades (Geneva, 1989-1991), which consequently failed to note UNC’s impressive holdings. Examples on display and the two drawers of shelflist cards received much attention.


Mazarin 1665 front
Mazarin 1665 title-page
Mazarin 1665 past page
Mazarin 1665 last page











Professor Ellen Welch, of UNC’s Department of Romance Languages & Literatures (and a co-organizer for the NASSCFL conference), has certainly used the Mazarinade collection to great advantage with her advanced French literature courses.  A recent class did in-depth analysis of a small selection and produced an informative website.

Adrian Sicler, La chiromance royale et novvelle (Lyon, 1666) / BF922 .S5

The 2014 NASSCFL conference display was enjoyed not only by conference attendees but also by Wilson Library employees, who found new books to love. A particular favorite is Adrian Sicler’s scarce cabbalistic palmistry text (left). And our recent acquisition of a rare edition of Melusine has already inspired a post on Wilson Library’s tumblr.

François Nodot, Histoire de Melusine (Paris, 1698) / GR75.M44 N6 1698
François Nodot, Histoire de Melusine (Paris, 1698) / GR75.M44 N6 1698 /Hanes Foundation