UNESCO Courier

Articles from May

...A Fragile Heritage
UNPARALLELED "producers" and "consumers" of manuscripts the nineteenth and twentieth centuries witnessed an explosion in writing and literary creation. The mass of notebooks, jottings sketches and musical scores that their creators have bequeathed...
A Library in Action; France's Bibliotheque Nationale
FROM the time when Charles V, king of France from 1364-1380, assembled a thousand manuscripts in his library at the Louvre, French monarchs dreamed of building up an encyclopaedic library as witness to the culture of their times. Collectors of books...
A Thousand Years of Catalan History
TEN centuries ago, the Count of Barcelona severed the ties of feudal loyalty that bound him to his liege lord, the King of France. From then on, a territorial, social and political entity centred on the ancestral house of Barcelona grew in strength...
From the World's Archives
THE Secret Archives of the Vatican (so named because of the practice whereby the archives of sixteenth-century European sovereigns were usually described as "secret") are by virtue of their universal nature, a documentary source of exceptional interest...
Gaudi and Dali, the Art of Excess
THE architecture of Antoni Gaudi' (1852-1926) and the painting of Salvador Dali (1904-1989) have a distinctive aesthetic power which raises many questions for those who seek to understand the innermost meaning of their work. Both artists have been...
Libraries to the Rescue
MANUSCRIPTS are unique and fragile things, which are still far from being protected as art of the national heritage, despite the that they are the focus of widespread interest. Although their importance may be acknowledged, the resources allocated...
Literary Detection and Latin American Writing
IN 1915, at the height of the Mexican Revolution, the writer Manriano Azuela published a serial in an obscure newspaper in El Paso, across the US frontier in Texas. At the time he was writing for the paper, El Paso del Norte, his stories reflected...
Microwaves That Save Manuscripts
DEACIDIFICATION of manuscripts, books and archival documents is necessary today for two main reasons: the inferior quality of certain types of modern cellulose-based papers dating from the second half of the nineteenth century); and atmospheric pollution....
Romanesque Treasures of Catalonia
ARTISTIC styles tend to be strongly associated with the countries where they originated (as in the case of Renaissance art in Italy or the Gothic style of northern France) or with the countries where their most important works were produced (such as...
The Archives Collection, a Laboratory for the Future
FIFTEEN years ago, the Guatemalan writer and poet Miguel Angel Asturias (1899-1974), winner of the 1967 Nobel Prize for Literature, donated his manuscripts and archives to the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, so that they could be preserved there and...
The Birth of a Language
LATIN American writers have developed a complex about the lana in which they write because they have always felt that it was not their own. Many writers of metropolitan Spain, especially purists, have encouraged this feeling by assuming proprietary...
The Quest for Authenticity
DURING the past few years, there has been a heightening of interest in the question of textual authenticity, a question to which little attention had been paid previously except by philologists, who studied only classical, medieval and Renaissance...
The Written Word
THE fire which destroyed the Library of Alexandria is often cited as one of the natural catastrophes which have afflicted humanity. Many other fires have impovershed for all time the memory of mankind. They are mentioned less often, but we who have...