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Rare Books Collection: European History and literature

Mount Saint Mary's University rare books catalog

European History

 

Anderson, Adam. Historical and chronological deduction of the origin of commerce, from the earliest accounts : containing an history of the great commercial interests of the British empire ; to which is prefixed, an introduction, exhibiting a view of the ancient and modern state of Europe ; of the importance of our colonies ; and of the commerce, shipping, manufactures, fisheries, &etc. of Great-Britain and Ireland ; and their influence on the landed interest: with an appendix, containing the modern politico-commercial geography of the several countries of Europe. Volumes 1 & 4. P. Bryne; Dublin, 1790.

 

Origins: Both volumes were donated to the Mount Saint Mary’s College library by a Father A. Gartland in the year 1849.

 

Material: These volumes cover a comprehensive look at European Economic History from the pre Roman European societies up to 1780 A.D. The author examined political policies, costs of war, views of commerce and economics, and currency rates. In Volume 4, there is a list of English expenses and commerce for several centuries (Note: it does not go by every year). This book is a useful account for anyone studying economic and political European history.

 

Weaknesses: Citation of sources is hard to pin down. Anderson mentions a few in the introduction but then states there are too numerous to list. In the actual text he does make passing references to sources such as an author or a financial report. However, there is no official list for easy access.

 

Call Number: HF3504  .A55 1790

 

Barthaelemy, J.J.Travels of Anacharsis the younger in Greece, during the middle of the fourth century before the Christian Era. C. and J. Rivington; London, 1825.

 

Origins: This book was recently rebound by Mount Saint Mary’s College at some point, making it difficult to determine how the book came into the Mount’s collection.

 

Materials: This book contains a number of maps of the Greek region as well as pictures from Ancient Greece. Each of these maps and pictures are reproduction of maps for a famous French novel known as Travels of Anacharsis the Younger in Greece. The book may be fiction but the author J.J. Barthaelemy did use his research and produced maps that he tried to make as accurate as possible given the resources of his time. Barthaelemy wrote a length introduction about the maps in addition to exacting measurements.

 

Weaknesses: The maps themselves are useless without the novel. The Mount currently owns a copy in general circulation but is in French.

 

Call Number: DF28 .B5 1825

 

Bury, Richard Girard de. Histoire de St. Louis, Roi de France (History of Saint Louis, King of France) Audot, Rue des Matharinas; Paris, 1817.

 

Note: This book is in French

 

Origins: This book seems to have come from a printing press in France during the 19th century.

 

Material: This book is about the reign of Saint Louis or King Louis the 9th of France. The book begins with the death of his father, King Louis the 8th who left his wife, Queen Blanche as his son’s regent. The history continues to follow Louis’s reign as monarch of France during the 13th century. Histoire is an interesting publication not just because of its subject but also the time and location in which the book was published. In 1817, Paris had been the center of the French Revolution, the Reign of Terror, Napoleon’s rule and the Napoleonic Wars which paved the way for the Restoration of the French Monarchy in 1815. With a French monarch back on the throne, it makes sense that a devout Catholic would seek to strengthen the royalty with a book on a king who was also a saint.

 

Weaknesses: Given that the topic of this book is a saint, readers should be cautious in believing too much of the superstition and supernatural surrounding the life of Saint Louis. Additionally, there are no chapters which makes navigation difficult.

 

Copper, James. A residence in France; with an excursion up the Rhine, and a second visit to Switzerland/Collection of Ancient and Modern British Authors. J. Smith; Paris, 1836.

Origin: This book came from the Mount Saint Mary’s College Library.

 

Material:  This book contains two different writings with A Collection of British Authors and A Recollection of Europe. A Residence in France is written from the perspective of James Feinmore Cooper, an American author, who spent time traveling and living in Europe. Residence covers Cooper’s time in the French Court and country side which culminates in a trip to Switzerland. In-between are Cooper’s impressions of French, Swiss, and German life and court politics. Highlights of his trip includes meeting the famous Marquis De Layfette. Residence is written through a series of letters rather than as a narrative.

            A Recollection of Europe also written by James Cooper is written through letters as well but are structured as a narrative. The second version was written after the fact as a way for Cooper to make sense of what he saw and to allow his audience to follow his adventures through a clear narrative. Residence tends to go off into different tangents and stories that take away from the narrative. Both works should be examined in concert so the reader can get Cooper’s original reaction as well as his overall message. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote his long lasting work Democracy in America around the same time about the United States politics and society in the Jacksonian Era. Cooper, in turn, gave an American perspective to a volatile period in European history.

Weaknesses: The structure of the Residence makes it hard for readers to keep track of what year these events are taking place. In addition, this book is fragile and should be handled with care.

 

European Literature

Beaumont, Francis and Fletcher, John. The Tragedy of Valentinian. J.Brown; London, 1717.

 

Origins: This book was donated to the Mount by Henry Olwell. The only Henry Olwell which had contact with the Mount was Henry E. Olwell, class of 1869. The play has been rebound and the credit for Olwell’s donation is now stamped on the cover page of the book, quite possibly by Monsignor Phillips himself.

 

 

Material: The Tragedy of Valentinian is a play written in the early 17th century set in Ancient Rome. The play itself centers on the Roman Emperor Valentinian III and his raping of Lucina, the wife of one of his general. While the play contains little historical accuracy (indeed beyond the existence of Valentinian III, the rest is fiction) the writers intended this play as a response to the political beliefs of James I. As one writer described the characters, Valentinian and Lucina represented a show down between two different viewpoint, the emperor representing James’s political views, and Lucina representing a peasant or citizen trying to resist the authority of a tyrant king.[1]Students studying Early Modern Europe would find this play interesting and useful for research.

 

Weaknesses: As already stated, this play is useless for historical purposes.

 

Call Number: PR2509 .V3 1717

 

[1] Robert Turner, “Responses to Tyranny in John Fletcher's Plays”. Medieval & Renaissance Drama in England, Rosemont Publishing & Printing Corp DBA Associated University Presses: 1989, 123–41, http://www.jstor.org/stable/24322296.

European History

Rollins, Charles. Histoire Ancienne Des Egyptiens, Des Carthaginois, Des Assyriens, Des Babyloniens, Des Medes et Des Perses, Des Macedoniens, Des Grecs. Chez Les Freres: Paris, 1775.

 

 

Origins: It is unclear from which library the set came from.

 

 

 

Material: This series is a narrative history of a period of Ancient History, reaching back from the Egyptians to the Greeks. The author, a 18th century Frenchman named Charles Rollins, would have been a part of the Enlightenment and would have been trying to make sense of the ancient past from the Roman and Greek texts made available to him. As a result, while this may be a history of Ancient times, expect 18th century views on civilizations and the achievements of the Greeks to influence the narrative. This book would be useful to any student interested in Ancient history.

 

 

Call Number: D 57 .R7 1775 V.3- V.14

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