FYI France

File 3: Ejournal and archive

by Jack Kessler,

April 15, 2013 issue. This file presents an archive copy of the issue of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which was distributed via email on April 15, 2013 -- and, a little later, on, and at Facebook-Jack Kessler's Notes

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FYI France: IHL Book History Workshop, Lyon, June 24-27


F or anyone who will be in or near France, in June, and for general interest, a reminder, that the following excellent event again will be held there in Lyon, June 24-27:

From: Raphaële Mouren
Subject: [ihl] Institut d'histoire du livre, Book history workshop, Lyon, 24-27 june 2013


Book history workshop

programme 24-27 june 2013

For the 10th edition of its Book History Workshop, the Lyon-based Institut d.histoire du livre is offering 4 advanced courses in the fields of book and printing history, taught by Marianne Besseyre (canceled), Kristian Jensen, Anne Mœglin-Delcroix with Françoise Lonardoni and Nicholas Pickwoad.

1. Course in French

An abridged history of occidental illuminated manuscripts through exploration of the collections in Lyon
(this course has been canceled)

Marianne Besseyre

This course will examine the illustrated book production in Francia Occidentalis (6th-9th centuries), and then in the Kingdom of France until the 16th century. Beyond an introduction to the archaeology of the medieval book, it aims to provide essential elements for the understanding of illuminated manuscripts through lectures and concrete examples. The diversity of illuminated manuscripts preserved in the Lyon City Library also demands emphasis of the importance of the history of the collections in Lyon (and the history of the book in general) -- the corpus considered includes, among others, a fine collection of Italian manuscripts.

Marianne Besseyre, former student of the École des chartes and the École du Louvre, was curator for ten years at the Manuscripts Department of the National Library of France. Specialist of Roman and Italian illuminated manuscripts, she is in charge of the department of rare books and manuscripts of the Lyon City Library. She is a member of the executive council of the Comité français d'histoire de l'art (CFHA), a member of the Comité des Travaux historiques et scientifiques (CTHS) and corresponding national associate for the Société nationale des antiquaires de France.


2. Course in English

Introduction to the study of incunabula

Kristian Jensen

The course will examine how to interpret the explicit statements contained in the books themselves about the circumstances of their production. In the absence of contemporary descriptions, however, the incunabula themselves provide the most important body evidence for how they were produced. The course will therefore examine how we can learn about the history of production through recognising and carefully interpreting the evidence with which the books as physical objects present us. This will by implication also provide some tools for recognising books which have later been "improved" or even faked. By presenting the most important catalogues of incunabula in the historical context of their creation, it emphasises their intended aims, as well as their strengths and weaknesses for specific current research purposes. Special attention will be paid to illustration, lay-out and texts; to the relationship between the various phases of production of incunabula and their end-users; we will look at hand finishing and decoration, at book distribution and types of evidence for early provenance and we will look at the impact of later collectors. At the end of the course it is hoped that the students will feel confident in identifying and interpreting the evidence presented by incunabula, using the appropriate reference tools in awareness of current research trends.

Dr Kristian Jensen is Head of Arts and Humanities at the British Library. He began his library career as an incunabulist at the Bodleian Library where he initiated and led for nine years the project which created the Bodleian Library.s incunable catalogue. Subsequently he became Head of Incunabula at the British Library. He has published extensively on incunabula focusing on issues around the history of reading, book ownership and the interrelation between intellectual needs of users and the commercial needs of producers. Most recently he published Revolution and the Antiquarian Book: Reshaping the Past, 1780-1815, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.


3. Course in English

Inexpensive European bindings with limp covers of paper and parchment from the 1470s to the 1830s

Nicholas Pickwoad

The history of bookbinding is not simply the history of a decorative art, but that of a craft answering a commercial need. This course will look at the many different ways in which European bookbinders from the end of the Middle Ages to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution strove to produce ever cheaper bindings for the booktrade. The course will look in detail at the different types of inexpensive commercial bindings with limp parchment and paper covers, including laced-case, longstitch, stitched and tacketed bindings (and some with no covers at all). The possibilities of identifying the work of different countries, cities, even workshops on bindings that are not decorated with finishing tools will be explored, as well as the means by which the comparative costs of bindings can be assessed. The different materials used to make bookbindings will be discussed, as well as the classification of bookbindings by structural type, and how and where these types developed through the three and a half centuries covered by the course. The course will be taught with both extensively illustrated PowerPoint lectures and sessions in which real books are examined and discussed.

Professor Nicholas Pickwoad trained in bookbinding and book conservation with Roger Powell, and ran his own workshop from 1977 to 1989 ; he has been Adviser on book conservation to the National Trust since 1978. He taught at Columbia University in New York from 1989 to 1992 and was Chief Conservator in the Harvard University Library from 1992 to 1995. He is now project leader of the St Catherine's Monastery Library Project based at the University of the Arts London where he is director of the Ligatus Research Centre, which is dedicated to the history of bookbinding.


4. Course in French

The artist's book or how the book can change art (and not the inverse)

Anne Mœglin-Delcroix, in collaboration with Françoise Lonardoni

A certain confusion reigns today in the loose usage of the term "artist's book". Too liberally applied to any work where an artist has been involved, it fails to recognise the specificity of a radically new genre of books, born in the early 1960.s, in declared opposition to the traditional "illustrated book" and the "livre de peintre" for bibliophiles. In fact, much distinguishes them, from the physical aspects of these publications to their editorial and artistic strategies. To clarify the misunderstandings, the best way is to go back to the birth and development of the artist's book in the 1960's and 1970's, demonstrating how it retains distinctive characteristics from its close relationship with the artistic avant-gardes who were, simultaneously, in the process of founding what has come to be known as "contemporary art". The course will be divided into 4 chapters, one per day: The European and North American origins of the artist"s book; The book, medium for critic; The prominent role of the photographic image; A new bibliophilism.

Anne Mœglin-Delcroix, former student of the École normale supérieure (Paris), Ph.D., is professor emeritus of the philosophy of art at the Sorbonne (Paris I). From 1979 to 1994, she was responsible for the collection of artists. books at the National Library of France (Prints and Photographs Department). She has curated several exhibitions on the international production of artists. books. She is the author of several books on this subject: Livres d'artistes (Paris, Herscher & Centre Georges-Pompidou, 1985), Esthétique du livre d'artiste (Paris, BnF & Jean-Michel Place, 1997, newly rev. and exp. ed.: Paris, BnF & Marseille, Le mot et le reste, 2012), Sur le livre d'artiste. Articles et écrits de circonstance (1981-2005), Marseille, Le mot et le reste, 2006, repr. 2008.

Françoise Lonardoni studied art history. She manages the contemporary collections of the Lyon City Library, and she publishes articles on various contemporary artists. She has taken part in numerous congresses on the artist's book and published on contemporary artists: Daniel Firman, Gabriele Di Matteo, Laurent Sfar, Fabienne Ballandras, Frédéric Khodja, Lydia Solana, Jérémy Liron, Bruno Yvonnet, Marie-Agnès Charpin..


The Institut d'histoire du livre brings together two major rare book and printing collections and three teaching and research establishments closely involved in the history of printing and the book: Lyon City library and Printing museum whose rich collections bear witness to the important role which the city has played in the world of books and printing since the 15th century; the École nationale supérieure des sciences de l'information et des bibliothèques (Enssib), which is responsible for the training of library curators in France; the École normale supérieure de Lyon whose researchers are particularly active in the fields of philosophy, linguistics and literature; and the École nationale des chartes which trains future archivists and curators of historical collections. The interdisciplinary environment provided by the Institut d'histoire du livre is intended to encourage research, not only in book history, but also in the various connected fields involved in the study of written and graphic communications such as the history of technology, economic history, art history, sociology, anthropology, linguistics and information science.

Fee: 450 euros for one course (4 days)

Information and inscriptions:



Ecole de l'Institut d'histoire du livre

24-27 juin 2013

La dixième session de l'école de l'Institut d'histoire du livre aura lieu du 24 au 27 juin 2013.

Elle offrira 4 cours en parallèle, proposés par Marianne Besseyre, Kristian Jensen, Anne Mœglin-Delcroix avec Françoise Lonardoni et Nicholas Pickwoad.

Les cours auront lieu à l'école nationale supérieure des sciences de l'information et des bibliothèques et à la bibliothèque municipale de Lyon.

À la fois théoriques et pratiques, les cours accordent une place importante à l'analyse de documents originaux et s'adressent à un large éventail de spécialistes en histoire du livre et des techniques graphique: chercheurs, enseignants, conservateurs de bibliothèques et de musées, libraires...

Chaque cours de quatre jours est animé par un intervenant internationalement reconnu dans le domaine concerné.

Les cours s'appuient en grande partie sur les collections patrimoniales de la bibliothèque municipale...





The rest may be found at,

Lyon in June is a wonderful place -- magical to be in France, magical not to be in already-hot & always-crowded & in-June-increasingly-deserted-by-Parisians Paris -- and wonderful, again, to be in a French place offering concentrated doses of the culture, served up in beautiful surroundings, the way they do in Paris.

And in Lyon you have les bouchons, les traboules, La Croix Rousse, Bernachon chocolate, Paul Bocuse, l'église d'Ainay, la Bibliothèque Municipale, la Musée de l'Imprimerie, Le Parc de la Tête d'Or -- what a name! -- le Rhône, la Saône, la Fourvière, plus much more...

So hie thee to the aeroport, Saint-Éxupery né Satolas -- or hop a TGV at the Gare de Lyon -- and visitez Lyon. And, as the earliest French printers made their workshops in this famous border-town, better-appreciate the wonders of the "histoire du livre" by taking a class in that while you are there!


Jack Kessler,

p.s. The formatting here is an experiment, and mes apologies en avance if it doesn't turn out for your browser -- let me know and I'll send you some ASCII -- but I liked the imaginative formatting of Raphæle Mouren's original annonce so much that I'm trying it.

As with the Internet's original "accent aigu", however, formatting experiments online often do not turn out well, particularly in email: too often, I have discovered over time, formatting tools are discovered to have been mere marketing ploys, in fact -- one browser's attempt to "corner the market", squirreling-away customers from other browsers -- remember "Microsoft ASCII", no mere gift, that.

Mise en page does make a difference, though: so kudos to Raphæle Mouren, and let's try some email formatting -- if it turns out not to be all things to all browsers, we always can revert to Courier ASCII.

Further adventures in transitions in media... which after all was the original and remains the fundamental motivation, here...






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