FYI France

File 3: Ejournal and archive

by Jack Kessler,

December 15, 2016 issue. This file presents an archive copy of the issue of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which was distributed via email on December 15, 2016.

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Versions of the following have appeared online regularly, since 1992, as a feature of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which is distributed for free via email every month except August. Ejournal subscriptions may be obtained via email request to:

Here this file is one of a number made available -- hopefully attractively, all in one place, and relevant to libraries and online digital information work in France and Europe. Please email suggestions for improvements to me at




IHL Book History Workshop,
June 2017 in Lyon


A s always, the annonce of the excellent offerings of Lyon's Institut d'histoire du livre for their Spring 2017 "Book History Workshop" follows -- time again to plan well in-advance for that trip to Lyon / the Continent / Europe, to enjoy springtime & France & Lyon, & this coming eventful year to think about antecedents of The Digital, about history, and about more than just often-distressing current-politics -- to a version of the original November 30 posting I have added the notes in brackets, and a few links and contacts infos are provided --




"Book History Workshop 2017

"The next Lyon Book History Workshop will take place from Monday 26 June to Thursday 29 June 2017.

"For the 14th edition of its Workshop, the Lyon-based Institut d'histoire du livre is offering 4 courses in the fields of book and printing history, taught by James Mosley with Nelly Gable, Neil Harris, Isabelle de Conihout and Dominique Varry.

"The four classes run simultaneously during 4 days at the Enssib LIS University, with practical sessions at the Lyon Public Library [Bibliothèque Municipale de Lyon], the Lyon Printing Museum [Musée de l'imprimerie et de la communication graphique] and other rare book repositories in Lyon.

"The courses are aimed at a large variety of specialists (librarians, curators, scholars, artisans, scholars, graphic designers, booksellers, doctoral students, etc.) who encounter questions related to the history of the book, printing and graphic communication in the course of their work or research. Each course is taught by a leading international expert in the field with emphasis on the study of original documents.

"Each course consists of seminars and practical sessions, adding up to 24 hours of teaching time from Monday 26 June 9 am to Thursday 26 June 5:30 pm.

"In order to facilitate access to collections and 'hands-on' study of original documents, each class is limited to 12 students.

"Course fees (one course -- 4 days):

"Full price: 510 euros

"Student price: 310 euros (required mandatory documents: a cover letter, CV and a copy of your university student card)

"The course fees include the provision of study materials, a welcome cocktail on Monday evening and tea/coffee breaks. It does not include meals and accommodation.


"Workshop coordinator: Dr. Sheza Moledina


  1. Printing type: 1450 to 1830 (2017)

    "Some knowledge of printing type is essential in describing printed materials, and it can be of vital importance in assigning a reliable date and a place of printing to documents in which these details are either absent or misleading. The object of this course is to trace the development of type and letterforms from the period of the invention of printing until its mechanization during the 19th century.

    "It will concentrate on the development of the design of printing types, and it will look at the relationship between letters used in other fields such as writing, sculpture and architecture, and explore the cultural, technical and economic factors that have had an influence on their development.

    "The course offers a broad historical overview under the following general headings: gothic hands, gothic types, the revival of 'antique' capitals in Italy, the humanistic script and early roman and italic types, the 'Aldine' roman type in 16th-century France, types in the 'Dutch taste' (le goût hollandois, a term used by Fournier le jeune) in the 17th century, the chancery 'cursive' hand (cancellaresca corsiva) and the calligraphic revolution of the later 16th to 18th centuries, new types of the 18th century in France, Britain and Italy, and the commercial types of the first decades of the 19th century.

    "There will also be sessions in which original artefacts and documents at the Museum of Printing in Lyon will be examined and studied.

    "The course includes a session devoted to the traditional process of making types with a punch, matrix and mould, with a demonstration of casting type by hand. Nelly Gable who is punch-cutter (National Craft Living Treasure) at the Atelier du livre d'art et de l'estampe of the Imprimerie Nationale and who is responsible for its material collections of punches and matrices will give a demonstration of her work.

    "Course in English with the possibility of discussion in both English and French.

    "-- James Mosley

      "Professor, University of Reading

      "James Mosley is a professor in the Department of Typography & Graphic communication at the University of Reading (UK). He was a founder member of the Printing Historical Society and the first editor of its journal. He was for many years librarian of the St Bride Library in London. As a student he worked at the Water Lane Press in Cambridge, the bibliographical workshop of Philip Gaskell, and he had practical experience at a typefoundry in London. He has written and lectured extensively on the history of European and English typography. He curated the exhibition Le romain du roi: la typographie au service de l'État at the Musée de l'Imprimerie in 2002 and contributed to its catalogue. He added an introduction and notes to the facsimile edition of Fournier le jeune, Manuel typographique (1764) and of its English translation by Harry Carter that was published in 1995. His study of the revival of the sans-serif letter, The Nymph and the Grot (1999) was published to accompany an exhibition at the Soane Museum, London.

      "His personal blog, with the title Typefoundry: documents for the history of type and letterforms comprises a series of essays on these topics.

    "-- Nelly Gable

      "Graveur de poinçons - Maître d'art - National Craft Living Treasure Imprimerie Nationale

      "Diplômée de l'école Boulle, Nelly Gable a rejoint le Cabinet des poinçons de l'Imprimerie nationale en 1987. Première femme graveur de poinçons typographiques, détentrice en activité de ce savoir-faire rarississimé, elle veille en tant que responsable sur le riche patrimoine gravé du Cabinet des poinçons. En 2002, elle a été formée pendant une année entière à la frappe des matrices par un ancien fondeur de l'Imprimerie Foucher.

      "Actuellement, elle continue d'apprendre des techniques disparues que, seuls quelques rares spécialistes maîtrisent encore dans le monde.

      "Avec son ancien collègue Christian Paput, elle a écrit le chapitre intitulé Pérennité des poinçons et matrices dans l'ouvrage l'Histoire de l'écriture typographique, Le XXe siècle, Atelier Perrousseaux, 2006, tome 1 (ISBN : 9782367650050).

      "Nelly Gable a été nommée Maître d'art par le ministère de la culture en 2013.


  2. Teaching Bibliography

    "Subject. Rare book schools are very much about: 'look at the object, and tell me what you see'; at the same time, courses on how you tell people to do this are not common. A course on Teaching the History of the Book has been offered at RBS Virginia [Rare Book School, University of Virginia] on a number of occasions, with teachers such as Terry Belanger, most recently in 2007; here however the plan is something rather different, i.e. find out whether you know enough about bibliography and books to talk about them in a convincing fashion, and how good a teacher you really are.

    "So, don't sign up for this course unless you are prepared for a challenging time!

    "Materials and locations. Most of the sessions will be at the Bibliothèque municipal de Lyon, with particular use being made of the fichier Parguez to find books with unusual or idiosyncratic features, including a set of unbound books from Florence at the beginning of the 19th century purchased for previous courses. Sessions will also take place at the Musée de l'Imprimerie, where many of the items likewise present unusual characteristics, some of which have been described in the recent Guide déraisonné. One session at the Musée might also explore some of the more unusual features of the collection, such as the ephemera, and also take the chance to look at the collection of woodblocks and clichés; likewise it is intended to hold a practical session in the workshop, in which students set type and perhaps print a text. The other feature of the course will be that lessons will be hosted in other Lyon libraries, with the collaboration of the librarians, in order to view unusual and interesting items in their collections.

    "Teacher. I have a long experience in teaching bibliography and book-related subjects, including paper, at a university level, as well as in the école of the IHL and elsewhere. Much of it has involved learning the tricks of the trade and the skills involved in taking a material object, looking at it, seeing what there is to see, and expounding it to a class. Over the years, I have assembled an extensive collection of 'material objects', which are shown to students and passed around during the lesson. It prevents them from going to sleep.

    "Potential users. Courses for academics, or intending academics, are quite rare and hardly ever form part of a university curriculum. At the most, they are expected to pick it up as they go along, or to learn it from their teachers; when I was beginning my Ph.D my university did provide a one-day seminar about teaching and I found it very useful and enlightening.

    "Teaching bibliography also has to take account of the fact that scholars rarely study bibliography as an academic subject; quite often, they start off doing something quite different, and 'drift'. The course is offered with a mind to Ph.D. candidates and young scholars, who are looking to develop their university teaching skills, both for lectures and seminars, in a critical environment, and more mature scholars, who are interested in adding some form of book studies to skills they already possess. A further possible category is librarians and conservators, who wish to improve their 'show and tell' techniques, also perhaps through the medium of a library blog.

    "Here again the examples of Stoddard's inspirational Marks in books or of the Lyon Guide déraisonné might encourage other librarians and conservators to produce a publication of their own. And finally booksellers, who are looking for ways of adding value to what they propose through better and more elaborate forms of description.

    "Plan détaillé du cours:

      "The course involves almost entirely hands-on practical sessions, with a minimum of classroom time, and rather than being specialist, encourages students to look at all aspects of a book, including Nineteenth-Twentieth-century material.

      "The idea is that you should be able to say anything about any book that happens to hand and see how and why it is remarkable. A selection of items from very different periods and geographical areas will be provided, though in some sessions they will be coherent, for instance, manuscripts (both parchment and paper), incunabula, Renaissance books, Eighteenth-century, modern books, ephemera, and so on.

      "Each session will begin with a group discussion about the characteristics of the selection, after which students will have a brief period to examine chosen items. A group discussion will draw attention to features of interest and explore ways of describing them for others. In some cases, research will be conducted on repertories and online resources to discover the background to bibliographical features: again the emphasis will be on doing this as quickly and skillfully as possible. The course will also look at ways and means of building up a collection for teaching purposes, including the concept of 'broken books', and testing your abilities to recognize formats. Another session will bring together different versions, including manuscripts, of a certain text and explain how the work evolves as a published artefact through time and space.

    "Critical Literature:

    • "Guide déraisonné des collections du Musée de l'Imprimerie et de la Communication Graphique, Lyon, Musée de l'Imprimerie, 2014.

    • "Roger Stoddard, Marks in books, Cambridge, Harvard University, Houghton Library, 1985.

    • "Teaching bibliography, textual criticism, and book history, edited by Ann. R. Hawkins, London, Pickering & Chatto, 2006.

    "-- Dr. Neil Harris

      "Professor of bibliology and Director of the Department of History and Preservation of the Cultural Heritage, Università degli Studi di Udine

      "Dr. Neil Harris is Professor of Bibliography and Library Studies at the University of Udine in Italy, where from 2008 to 2015 he was also director of the Department of History and Preservation of the Cultural Heritage (Dipartimento di Storia e Tutela dei Beni Culturali). After a B.A. in English at Oxford and a Ph.D. in Comparative literature at Leicester, he obtained a Perfezionamento, or a second Ph.D., at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa. In the process, what began as a learned footnote about Milton's reading of the Orlando Innamorato turned into a six-hundred page bibliography of the poem by Matteo Maria Boiardo (1988-91). Subsequently he has worked extensively on the history of the Italian Renaissance printed book, with in-depth studies of the printing of the Aldine Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (1499) and explorations of the tricks of the trade used by printers to create multiple states and issues. He has also followed numerous cataloguing projects of early printed material in Italian libraries and contributed introductions and critical essays to the published versions, in particular to that of San Gimignano (2007). Together with Cristina Dondi, he is presently engaged in editing the Zornale, or ledger, of the Venetian bookseller Francesco de Madiis, which records the daily sales activity of a shop in the Rialto district from 1484 to 1488.


  3. French gold-tooled bindings 1507-1967 : major workshops and collectors (2017)

    "Since the publication in 1951 of Louis-Marie Michon's La reliure française - an excellent but sparsely illustrated study which is now, inevitably, rather out of date - there has been no serious study of French bookbinding as a whole.

    "Isabelle de Conihout and Pascal Ract-Madoux aim in their course to fill this gap by offering a close examination of a large number of remarkable bindings from the period 1507-1967. A hundred or so original bindings (and several hundred photographic reproductions) will be presented and described. Although bindings are physically inseparable from the content which they enclose, they also have to be considered as autonomous artefacts. French deluxe bindings in particular have to be considered as works of art as much as historical objects.

    "-- Isabelle de Conihout

      "Directrice du département des Livres et manuscrits, Christie's, Paris

      "Archivist paleographer, Isabelle de Conihout is Head of the Manuscripts and Books Departement at Christie's Paris since october 2014. She began her career as Head of the Bureau du Patrimoine des bibliothè'ques at the Direction du Livre et de la Lecture (1982-1986), then worked for twelve years as curator in the Réserve des livres rares of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (1986-1998) and then as Senior Curator in the Bibliothèque Mazarine (1998-2014). In addition to research on original editions and literary libraries (Philippe Desportes, Tristan l'Hermite, chivalric romances), she is particularly interested in the history of collections (cabinets of curiosities, the collections of cardinal Mazarin) and the history of bookbinding : Les reliures de Marin Cureau de la Chambre (1594-1669) et l'atelier « Rocolet », 1997; Madame de Pompadour bibliophile, 2002; Les reliures de Mazarin, conference « Mazarin, les lettres et les arts », 2002; La belle librairie évanouie de Nicolas de Villeroy, conference Henri III mécène, 2003 ; On Ten new Groliers : Jean Grolier's first library and his ownership marks before 1540 (New York, The Grolier Club, 2013). And with Pascal Ract-Madoux : "Ni Grolier, ni Mahieu, Laubespine", Bulletin du Bibliophile, 2004, nº1.


  4. Physical Bibliography (2017)

    "The largely Anglo-Saxon discipline of analytical bibliography offers an archaeology of the printed book. The course offers a practical introduction to the analysis and description of documents typeset by hand and printed on the common press before 1800. The aim is to familiarise students with the many ways in which books reveal how they were produced, who printed them, and where.

    "Physical bibliography is an indispensable tool for scholarly editors of rare books, for historians who need to check the validity of printed sources, and for librarians and collectors requiring a full understanding of the books in their collections. It provides the means of reconstituting the genealogy of successive editions of a given text, of identifying forgeries and pirate editions published under false addresses in order to circumvent the censors, and of identifying 'manipulations' by unscrupulous booksellers, and fakes which have been put on the market at various times.

    "Topics include: basic concepts and definitions; history of the theory and practice of analytical bibliography; the organisation of early printing shops; precise methods of book description (in particular collational formulae); the importance of comparing different copies of the same book (variants, press corrections, cancels, reprintings); the detection of counterfeit copies, false imprints and forgeries; the identification of typical booking styles.

    "Course in French.

    "-- Dominique Varry

      "Professeur des Universités, ENSSIB

      "Dr. Dominique Varry is agrégé d'histoire and professor of book history, library history and physical bibliography at the Enssib (Lyon) where he trains French librarians. Between 1983 and 1989, he was researcher at the Direction du livre et de la lecture (Ministry of Culture). From 2004 to 2009 he taught physical bibliography at the école pratique des hautes études (Paris). His doctoral dissertation (Sorbonne 1986) dealt with confiscated libraries under the French Revolution. He was the editor of volume 3 of Histoire des bibliothèques françaises (1991, second edition 2009) and has published many other books. He is currently working on the history of printing and of the book-trade in Lyon in the 18th century, and especially on false foreign imprints used by Lyon printers."


-- and a few liens: in french & in english --




So, springtime in this fascinating border-town(!)... Lyon, at the confluence of the Rhône & the Saône, & on the frontier of Savoie with fine views of the Alps & so for Parisians throughout the ups & downs of French history always within-reach of the Lombard banks & bankers & banking-practices, & l'Italie! Equipped with a municipal library wise enough to have preserved some of the finest exemplars of French bibliographie for & from la révolution and other grand évènements of all that history... Birthplace of French printing far from the royal clutches up in Paris... berceau of that plus veterinary science, electricity, cinema, puppets, and cuisines both traditional and nouvelles, and its chocolate, with its wines not far away... all located only 2 hours from la capitale now via TGV, yet nearly-always far enough away to innovate...

Worth a journey,







FYI France (sm)(tm) e-journal ISSN 1071-5916

      |         FYI France (sm)(tm) is a monthly electronic
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