44 results in English
Speech by the His Majesty Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia, at the Assembly of the League of Nations, at the Session of June–July 1936
In the early 1930s, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was determined to expand Italy’s African empire by annexing Ethiopia. In December 1934, a clash, provoked by the Italians, occurred between Italian and Ethiopian armed forces at Walwal on the Ethiopian side of the frontier with Italian Somaliland. Mussolini declared the incident “an act of self-defense” and thus not subject to arbitration under international agreements. Italy demanded compensation and formal recognition of the area as Italian. When Emperor Haile Selassie refused to yield to these demands, Italy began mobilizing its forces ...
A Journey through the Atmosphere on an Airship
Al-riḥla al-jawwīya fī al-markaba al-hawā'iya (A journey through the atmosphere on an airship) is an Arabic translation by Yusuf Ilyan Sarkis (1856−1932 or 1933) of Cinq Semaines en Ballon (Five weeks in a balloon), a novel by the French author Jules Verne originally published in 1863. Shown here is a second edition of this work, produced by the Jesuit print shop in Beirut in 1884 (the first edition having been published in 1875). The novel tells the story of an explorer, Dr. Samuel Ferguson, who, accompanied by a ...
Contributed by Qatar National Library
Literary Program, Which Dr. Ivan de Soto Rector of the Royal College of Lima Ordered to be Published in [Preparation for the] Coming of His Excellency Sir Francisco de Borja
Ivsta literaria qve mando pvblicar el doctor Ivan de Soto rector dela real Vniversidad de Lima enla venida del Excelentissimo Señor Don Francisco de Boria (Literary Program, which Dr. Ivan de Soto rector of the Royal College of Lima ordered to be published in [preparation for the] coming of his excellency Sir Francisco de Borja) was published in Lima, Peru, in 1615. This one-page document is a program prepared in anticipation of the arrival in Lima of Francisco de Borja y Aragón, prince of Esquilache, the Spanish nobleman and official ...
Contributed by National Library of Peru
Provençal Songbook
Cançoner provençal (Provençal songbook) is a 14th century manuscript, written in Occitan, discovered in 1876 by the scholar Milà i Fontanals, and acquired in 1910 by a group of ten benefactors who wanted it given to the Biblioteca de Catalunya as a monument of Catalan medieval literature. Catalan, which originated in northeastern Spain, and Occitan (also called langue d’oc and less accurately Provençal), which developed in southern France and northern Spain, are both spoken and literary languages that reached maturity in the 12th−14th centuries. They share many linguistic ...
Canigó
Canigó is regarded as the best epic poem by Jacint Verdaguer (1845−1902), the most important Catalan writer of the 19th century and a leading figure of the Catalan renaissance. A Roman Catholic priest who served in a variety of pastoral positions, Verdaguer wrote mainly lyric and epic poetry, as well as a number of personal diaries, notebooks and journal articles. Canigó (named for Mount Canigou) is set in Catalonia at the beginning of the 11th century at the time of the Reconquista, the gradual liberation by the Christians of ...
L'Atlàntida, Volume 1, Number 1, 15 May 1896
L’Atlàntida (Atlantis) is a literary magazine in Catalan. It began publishing almost 20 years after the appearance of the great Catalan epic poem of the same name by Jacint Verdaguer, who won special honors at the Jocs Florals for the work and by it consolidated La Renaixença, the Catalan renaissance of the 19th century. The magazine reflects the evolution from Renaixença to Modernism. Between 1896 and 1900, when publication ceased, 169 issues appeared. The magazine was published on the 1st and 15th of each month rather than strictly fortnightly ...
La Renaxensa, Volume 1, Number 1, 1 February 1871
La Renaixensa was the first periodical written entirely in Catalan since 1714, when King Philip V of Spain banned the language. La Renaixensa (La Renaxensa between 1871 and 1876) takes its name from the movement that was born at the end of 18th century and early in the 19th with the cautious writing of some works in Catalan. The magazine was founded in 1871 as a literary magazine and appeared twice a month. Two years later it began to include political articles, which led to it being suspended in 1878 ...
Spiritual Chant
“Cant espiritual” (Spiritual chant) appeared in February 1911 in the book Seqüències (Sequences), published by Tipografia L’Avenç in Barcelona. The poem had great influence in Catalonia and is one of the best known and most studied of the works of Joan Maragall (1860−1911). It was composed in three periods: the first verses in November 1909 and the rest between January and February 1910. Written in the tradition of spiritual chants of many other great poets, the author poses questions to God and makes explicit his doubts, fears, and ...
Homilies of Organyà
Written in all likelihood by a priest in the town of Organyà, in north-central Catalonia, in circa 1203-4, this brief manuscript contains six homilies, intended to prepare believers for penance during the season of Lent. The little volume is incomplete; it probably originally contained 11 homilies, but some sheets were lost in the course of time and those that have been preserved have had their margins cut. The sermons are copied in a script that marks a transition between Carolingian and gothic writing. It is a very personal document, written ...
La Fontaine's Fables
Jean de la Fontaine (1621−95) was the author of 12 books containing a total of 243 fables in verse, published between 1668 and 1694. Inspired by fable writers of classical antiquity, and more specifically by Aesop’s Fables, Lafontaine created anthropomorphic animals. Each tale tells a vivid story, which always ends with a moral. Examples include “La raison du plus fort est toujours la meilleure” (Might makes right) in “The wolf and the lamb;” “On a souvent besoin d’un plus petit que soi” (A mouse may be of ...
Book of Different Things
This codex, entitled Livre de plusieurs choses (Book of different things), contains 120 poems in French. The title, now hardly visible, is on the upper cover of the manuscript. Comprising 252 extant paper leaves, it was compiled without any discernible structure or organization by a number of different scribes sometime between 1475 and 1500. The manuscript includes parts of the renowned Le Lais (Le Petit Testament) and Le Grand Testament of François Villon (1431−63) and is one of the principal sources of the former work. It also contains poems ...
Three Tales
While in financial trouble at the end of the 1870s, Gustave Flaubert (1821−80) wrote a series of shorter works of fiction before going back to his difficult task of writing Bouvard et Pécuchet. Un Cœur simple (A simple heart) was published as a series in the Moniteur universel newspaper in April 1877, while La Légende de Saint-Julien l'Hospitalier (The Legend of Saint Julian the Hospitaller) and Hérodias (Herodias) were published the same month in Le Bien public newspaper. These stories were then compiled into one book by publisher ...
Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart
Lancelot ou le Chevalier de la charrette (Lancelot, the knight of the cart) is the third Arthurian novel written by Chrétien de Troyes (circa 1135−circa 1181). It was composed between 1176 and 1181 at the request of Marie de Champagne. This novel in octosyllabic verses is part of the Holy Grail cycle, the four volumes of which are kept at the Bibliothèque nationale de France under shelf-marks FR 113 to FR 116. This copy of the novel was commissioned by book lover Jacques d’Armagnac, duke of Nemours and ...
Hernani
Hernani, ou l’Honneur castillan is a play in five acts by Victor Hugo (1802−85), which opened at the Comédie-Française in February 1830. Set during the Spanish Renaissance, it recounts the rivalries between a young man named Charles Quint, a bandit named Hernani, and the uncle of the lady whose love they all vie for, Dona Sol. Beyond the themes of honor, love, and history, this melodrama is best known for its departure from conventional classical tragedies (in particular the unities of  place, time, and action) and it is ...
The Book of the Love-Smitten Heart
Written in 1457, Le livre du Coeur d'amour épris (The book of the love-smitten heart) is an allegorical romance by King René of Anjou (1409−80). The text in verse and prose recounts the quest for love of the knight Heart who, in a dream, leaves with Desire in search of his lady, Mercy. This amorous journey combines the knight’s studies and his personal memories. The tone is that of a disenchanted man at the end of his life, for whom courtly love and desire both amount to ...
The Princess of Montpensier
This first edition of La Princesse de Montpensier (The Princess of Montpensier) by Madame de La Fayette was published anonymously in 1662. Taking place during the religious wars of the previous century, it is the story of the entangled loves of the princess, her husband the prince, the duke of Guise whom she had loved before her arranged marriage, and his friend, the count of Chabannes. The count, in love with the princess who does not care for him, sacrifices his honor to save that of his lady, before being ...
“Amadis of Gaul.” Book One
Amadis de Gaule (Amadis of Gaul) is a chivalric romance novel by Rodriguez de Montalvo, who based it on stories that had been circulating on the Iberian Peninsula since the 1360s. The original, in Spanish, was published in 1508. Nicolas Herberay des Essars translated the novel into French, with his own additions and adaptations. Book one of his work was first published in 1540 in this large-format version. The story narrates the adventures of Amadis, the archetype of the knight. The novel was an enormous success, which in part had ...
Fairy Tales from Past Times
Contes du temps passé (Fairy tales from past times) by Charles Perrault (1628–1703) were published in parts between 1691 and 1697. Perrault polished the texts, reworking the various legends he collected while staying true to the original storylines. His picturesque storytelling reflected in part the popular culture of the time: he purposefully used archaic terms, archetypes (such as the king, the ogre, the cruel stepmother), and a style reminiscent of oral storytelling (with formulas such as “once upon a time” and such repetitions as “Anna my sister Anna”). His ...
Gaspard of the Night: Fantasies in the Manner of Rembrandt and Callot
Louis-Jacques Napoléon Bertrand (also known by the more poetic pen name of Aloysius) is the author of only one book, Gaspard de la Nuit (Gaspard of the night). Born in 1807, he moved to Paris in 1833 and became an acquaintance of authors Victor Hugo and Charles Nodier. Poor and very ill, Bertrand lived in and out of hospitals from 1838 until his death from tuberculosis in 1841. His friend David d’Angers was the only person to accompany his casket to his final resting place. Bertrand reworked and refined ...
The Confession of a Child of the Century
La Confession d'un enfant du siècle (Confession of a child of the century) is a novel written by the French poet Alfred de Musset (1810–57) when he was 26 years old. It depicts the love affair of a young man named Octave, who, betrayed by his mistress, becomes cynical and drowns his sorrows in alcohol and debauchery. He then falls in love with Brigitte, but his jealous tendencies, his desire to “touch misfortune, otherwise called truth,” put a strain on their relationship. So he decides to let go ...
Paul and Virginia
In 1788, Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre (1737−1814) published a rather short novel, Paul et Virginie (Paul and Virginia), which recounts the youth of two children, who are raised as brother and sister by their mothers on the edge of society, on the island of Mauritius (at that time a French colony known as Île de France). The children’s paradise unravels as they enter their teenage years and their awakening sensuality taints their innocent affection. Virginia is sent to Europe by her mother, who seeks to keep her away ...
Captain Fracasse
Capitaine Fracasse (Captain Fracasse) is a novel by Théophile Gautier (1811−72), the title character of which is a brash, loudmouthed swaggerer. The novel recounts the adventures of the baron of Sigognac during the reign of Louis XIII, a penniless nobleman who, taking on the role of the braggart Matamore, leaves his decaying castle to join a traveling theatrical troupe out of love for a young actress. The novel includes all the main characteristics of the typical roman de cape et d’épée (swashbuckling romance) made popular by Walter Scott ...
Short Stories from Geneva
Rodolphe Töpffer (1799−1846) gained world renown for his stories that for the first time mixed written narration with illustrations, earning him the unofficial title of  “father of the comic strip” with his books Voyages du docteur Festus (Doctor Festus's travels), Histoire de M. Cryptogame (Mr. Cryptogame's story), and Les Amours de M. Vieux-Bois (The story of Mr. Wooden Head). Töpffer also was famous for his Voyages en zigzag (Zigzag travels) and Nouveaux voyages en zigzag (New zigzag travels), accounts of his walking trips in Switzerland. The rest ...
The Procurator of Judea
Anatole France, born Jacques Anatole François Thibault (1844−1924), was one of the most famous writers of his time. A journalist, prolific author, and member of the Académie Française from 1896, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1921, but since that time he has been somewhat under-recognized. Written in a very classical style but using irony, his Le Procurateur de Judée (The procurator of Judea) is a short tale intended to provoke reflections on history, memory, and our understanding of the world. It is the story of ...
Against the Grain
First published in 1884, À rebours (Against the grain) by the French novelist Joris-Karl Huysmans (1848−1907) reflects the author’s departure from the romanticism of Émile Zola and his adoption of a new Symbolist aestheticism. In the absence of a plot, the narrative focuses on the main character, Jean des Esseintes, an eccentric, reclusive aesthete and antihero who rejects modernity and cultivates a taste for decadence. After leading an eventful and exuberant life, des Esseintes becomes weary of society and retreats to a suburban home in Fontenay-aux-Roses, where he ...
At the Foot of Mount Sinai
On January 13, 1898, Georges Clemenceau, politician, journalist, and cofounder and owner of the newspaper L’Aurore (The dawn), published in his newspaper the famous manifesto J’accuse (I accuse) by Émile Zola, defending Captain Alfred Dreyfus against charges of treason and espionage motivated by anti-Semitism. Only three months later, Clemenceau published Au Pied du Sinaï (At the foot of Mount Sinai). The work includes a collection of portraits of Jewish people from Galicia that might easily be characterized as anti-Semitic. Clemenceau was, however, a staunch defender of Dreyfus and ...
From the Earth to the Moon, Directly in 97 Hours and 20 Minutes
In 1862 French publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel (1814−86) founded the youth magazine Le Magasin d'éducation et de récréation (Education and entertainment magazine), and asked Jules Verne (1828−1905) to contribute to it by writing novels. Hetzel later created a collection entitled Les Voyages extraordinaires (Extraordinary journeys) dedicated solely to Verne’s works, the goal of which was to “sum up the knowledge … accumulated by modern science … in its own attractive and picturesque and colorful format.” The collection featured De la terre à la lune (From the earth to the ...
Count d'Orgel’s Ball
“I was in a blazing hurry, like someone who is going to die young and thus works twice as hard.” This quote by one of Raymond Radiguet’s characters could easily be applied to the author himself. In three years, Radiguet (1903−23) published three articles as well as poems and novels, among which Le Diable au corps (The devil in the flesh) was a best seller and became a classic. Le Bal du Comte d’Orgel (Count d'Orgel’s ball), presented here, was Radiguet’s second novel. Written ...
The Magic Skin
La Comédie humaine (The human comedy) is the promethean project, conceived by the great French writer Honoré de Balzac (1799−1850), which sought to represent contemporary society and man in their entirety through novels and short stories. Many characters appear in several of the stories that make up the larger endeavor, and events and situations echo each other from one story to the next. Presented here is La Peau de Chagrin (The magic skin), the second novel in the cycle, in the original edition published by Gosselin in 1831. It ...
Carrot Top
Poil de carotte (Carrot Top) is a collection of short scenes that recount the daily life of a young redheaded boy whose mother continually humiliates and teases him, to which his other family members remain indifferent. This maternal hostility, the source of which the author does not explain, sometimes causes Carrot Top to be cruel (especially towards animals), as he cannot express his desire for love and recognition and lives a life of loneliness and bitterness. The tone of the novel is short, sharp, and sometimes ironic. There is no ...
Frederick the Great's "The Works of the Philosopher of Sans Souci." Volumes I-III
The three-volume edition of selected works by Frederick II, King of Prussia, printed in 1749−50, was the first product of Frederick’s private printing press at the palace of Sanssouci. The king entitled the edition, the contents of which were entirely in French, Oeuvres du Philosophe de Sans Souci (The works of the philosopher of Sans Souci). (Sanssouci was the name of the summer palace that Frederick had built just outside Berlin in 1745−47.) Volume one contains the burlesque heroic epic Le Palladion, which was written as a ...
Frederick the Great's "The Works of the Philosopher of Sans Souci." Volume I
The three-volume edition of selected works by Frederick II, King of Prussia, printed in 1749−50, was the first product of Frederick’s private printing press at the palace of Sanssouci. The king entitled the edition, the contents of which were entirely in French, Oeuvres du Philosophe de Sans Souci (The works of the philosopher of Sans Souci). (Sanssouci was the name of the summer palace that Frederick had built just outside Berlin in 1745−47.) Volume one contained the burlesque heroic epic Le Palladion, which was written as a ...
Sarah Bernhardt: Puzzle in Ten Postcards Depicting Sarah in Her Different Roles
Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) was a French stage actress who was arguably the most famous actress of the 19th century. She deliberately cultivated an aura about herself using every form of media, earning such titles as “the Divine Sarah” and the “Sacred Monster.” In France and other countries, her image was endlessly circulated in paintings, engravings, photographs, statues, posters, advertisements, and satirical drawings. This puzzle, consisting of ten postcards, displays her silhouette in her most famous roles, female and male, tragic and dramatic. Throughout her career, Bernhardt reinterpreted many classic roles ...
Selected Fables for Children
The French poet Jean de La Fontaine (1621-95) is best known for his 243 Fables, which he wrote over a 26-year period between 1668 and 1694. Patterned after Aesop’s Fables, La Fontaine’s tales involve a familiar cast of rabbits, grasshoppers, ants, foxes, and other animals. Written in verse, the Fables have been read by successive generations of French children, but also have been appreciated by adult readers for their satirical commentary on human nature. This copy of a late-19th century children’s edition belonged to U.S. Supreme ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
The Most Fearsome Life of the Great Gargantua, Father of Pantagruel
François Rabelais (circa 1494–1553) published his comic masterpiece Pantagruel, most likely in 1532, under the pseudonym Alcofribas Nasier (an anagram of the author’s real name). Prompted by the immediate success of this work, Rabelais went on to write the life and adventures of Pantagruel’s father, Gargantua. The events of the later book thus take place before those narrated in the first book. The character of Gargantua was already known in popular literature, but Rabelais composed a new tale that reworked the themes of Pantagruel. Through the story ...
The Defense and Illustration of the French Language
Joachim Du Bellay was born in Anjou, western France, in about 1522. In 1549, he published l'Olive (The olive), his first collection of sonnets and the first cycle of love sonnets in the French vernacular. That same year, he put forward his ideas on the French language and poetic practices in this work, La Deffence, et illustration de la langue francoyse (The defense and illustration of the French language). Du Bellay shared his essay with friends, who later formed the group of 16th-century poets known as the Pleiades. His ...
The Characters of Theophrastus
Jean de La Bruyère (1645–96) was a French essayist and moralist whose Les caractères de Théophraste, traduits du grec, avec les caractères ou les moeurs de ce siècle (The characters of Theophrastus, translated from the Greek, with the characters or the morals of this century) is a masterpiece of French literature. Employed as a tutor in the royal household of Louis XIV, La Bruyère observed first hand the vanity and pretensions of the aristocratic society around him. His work consists of a translation of the treatise by the Greek ...
Arthurian and Other Romances of the 13th Century
This 13th century manuscript, with text in two columns and superbly decorated, is an anthology of romances from the Middle Ages. The first two texts, L'Estoire del Saint Graal (The history of the Holy Grail) and L'Estoire de Merlin (The history of Merlin) are dedicated to the Arthurian legends and are attributed to Robert de Boron (circa 1200). The third text, Le Roman des Sept Sages de Rome (The romance of the seven wise masters of Rome), is a work of ancient Eastern origins, deriving from the Book ...
The Book of the City of Ladies
Christine de Pisan (circa 1364–1430) was born in Italy and came to France at the age of four with her father. Arguably the first woman in Europe to earn a living as an author, she is widely regarded as an early feminist who spoke out for the rights of women and espoused female achievement. She wrote poems and prose texts that were often allegorical and philosophical and that reflected her own original and engaged personality. She prepared the books with the aid of copyists and illuminators and offered them ...
The Most Memorable Strange Tales Observed from the Birth of Jesus Christ to Our Century
After studying law in several French universities, Pierre Boaistuau (1517–66) spent much time travelling throughout Europe in the service of different ambassadors, which gave him the chance to examine the curiosities of the contemporary world. Upon his return to Paris, he wrote and published his complete works in the brief period between 1556 and 1560. His books were the origin of two dominant genres in the second half of the 16th century: the histoires tragiques (tragic stories) and the histoires prodigieuses (strange tales). Histoires prodigieuses (Strange tales) was the ...
Dangerous Liaisons
French author Pierre-Ambroise François Choderlos de Laclos (1741–1803) published Les Liaisons dangereuses (Dangerous liaisons) in 1782, signed only with his initials. Widely regarded as scandalous work, the epistolary novel etched the name of Laclos in the literary tradition of the 18th century, in which fiction in the form of purportedly discovered letters and memoires flourished, and in which debauchery and anonymity were interlinked. In the novel, the characters Merteuil and Valmont, aristocratic members of an overly mannered, rarified society near the end of the ancien régime, hatch an infernal ...
Roman de la Rose
The Roman de la Rose, “wherein the whole art of love is contained,” was one of the most widely read literary works of the Middle Ages. An allegorical poem composed in the French—meaning Romance—of the 13th century, it was celebrated already in the 16th century as a national classic. The first 4,058 lines of the poem were written by Guillaume de Lorris in around 1230. Jean de Meung wrote an additional 17,724 lines in around 1275. The work is at once a courtly song, a story ...