National Library of France
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La Princesse de Clèves by M.-M. La Fayette, title page of the anonymous 1678 edition
The Reference library places the emphasis on the 20th and 21st centuries, and especially on contemporary creative works.
The Rare Books Reserve (Réserve des livres rares), located in the Research library, holds first editions and corrected proofs.
The Arsenal Library (Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal) is another essential place to study French literature. In line with the direction set by its founder, the Marquis of Paulmy, and collections acquired under the legal deposit scheme over subsequent centuries, it now acquires all kinds of documents on literature from the 16th to the early 20th centuries.
It also holds the following:
Literature and audiovisual materialIn addition to literary adaptations (e.g. Maurice Tourneur’s l'Oiseau bleu from 1918) and films by writers (from Jean Cocteau to Pierre Guyotat), the Audiovisual Department holds around 1,500 interviews and documentaries with leading names in French and foreign literature, mainly from the 20th century (e.g. François Mauriac by Roger Leenhardt), but also including classics (e.g. Victor Hugo architecte by Eric Rohmer). Also available are sound recordings of other 20th century French literary authors, including in particular a large collection of audiobooks, production of which peaked in the 1960s-1970s and has undergone something of a revival over the past few years. These include writers reading their own works: Apollinaire, Barrès, Verhaeren, etc. There is a highly original corpus of songs by writers. The department’s collections also include opera librettos and brief scenarios for ballets by writers such as Jean Cocteau, Georges Bernanos, Samuel Beckett , Michel Butor, etc.
Science fiction at BnF: a different approach to literature
Cover of Jules Verne’s “Voyages Extraordinaires”, Hetzel collection
Tuesday, April 16, 2013