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The Collections: Guide to the Collections: European Literature

Voltaire. Candide. 1759.

It is in French literature, especially of the 19th and 20th centuries, that the Lilly Library has built its strongest holdings of European literature. Early books include the first book in French printed in Paris, Les grandes chroniques de France (1476), Froissart's Chroniques (1499), an early edition of François Villon's works (ca. 1540), the first edition of Montaigne's Essais (Bordeaux, 1580), and early editions of Corneille, Molière, Racine, and Perrault. With the 18th century, the collections are more extensive, especially for Rousseau, Diderot, Voltaire, and Restif de la Bretonne. Since 1970 the Library has actively collected a large number of 19th and 20th century authors and now has substantial holdings for Chateaubriand, Honoré de Balzac, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas (père and fils), Stendhal, George Sand, Gustave Flaubert, Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, Stéphane Mallarmé, Marcel Proust, Jean-Paul Sartre and many others.

The century was two years old

The Library's holdings in German literature range from the baroque to the present but are strongest for the romantic period. Especially notable are the Bernardo Mendel collection of nearly two thousand Taschenbucher (literary annuals that flourished during the first half of the 19th century), and important collections of Heinrich Heine and Theodor Fontane. The Library also houses the surviving archives of the German publishing house S. Fischer Verlag and has book collections of many Fischer authors including Gerhardt Hauptmann, Thomas Mann and Herman Hesse. Other European holdings include first editions of works by Hans Christian Andersen, Ibsen, Pushkin, Turgenev, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Nabokov and extensive collections of the Czech poets Karel Macha and Petr Bezruc.

Related exhibition catalogues include:

Catalogues relating to literature in general:

To purchase exhibition catalogues, see information on the Lilly Library's Publications. To search the Library's catalog and other finding aids, see the Collections page.

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