Ascoli Library Collection
Located in the Sorbonne and attached to the Department of French and Comparative Literature, the Georges-Ascoli Library has collections in this field from the Middle Ages to the present day. It is named after Georges Ascoli, an eminent historian of French literature who taught at the Sorbonne in the interwar period.
In 1938, Rose Julie Marie Mathilde Valentine Estienne, Louis-Eugène Lambert's second wife, donated Lambert's correspondence to the University of Paris, which deposited it in the library of the Institute of French Language and Literature, whose collections were added to the Ascoli Library in 1971.
Louis-Eugène Lambert was a close friend of the writer George Sand. He was the set designer for her plays before becoming a successful animal painter. Their correspondence, including 151 letters written by Sand, digitised by the Sorbonne University Library (BSU), bears witness to this friendship.
Lambert, born in Paris on 25 September 1825, had been a friend of the writer’s son, Maurice Sand, studying at the studio of the painter Eugène Delacroix. He came to Nohant to visit George Sand for a month in June 1844 and stayed there for twelve years, treated as a member of the family.
He was a valuable member of George Sand's theatre company in Nohant. He played comic roles, but above all he assisted Maurice Sand and Alexandre Manceau in developing the shows and painting the sets of the “Grand Théâtre de Nohant”. George Sand's letters to him show the strong bond they shared. Georges Lubin has integrated these letters into the general correspondence of Sand that he has compiled (George Sand, Correspondance, edited by Georges Lubin, Classiques Garnier, 1964-1981).
Paul Hazard Collection
The Ascoli Library, also known as the George Ascoli and Paul Hazard Library, was partly formed from the personal library of Paul Hazard, a specialist in French and comparative literature. It is also the depository of the Paul and Alice Hazard archive, known as the “Paul Hazard” collection, digitised by BSU.
Paul Hazard was born on 30 August 1878 into a family from the Nord department. He was a student at the École Normale Supérieure and was awarded the agrégation de lettres, a higher education teaching diploma, in 1903. He spent two years in Italy as a scholarship student. This stay influenced his studies and research, and Paul Hazard became a Doctor of Letters in 1910, defending his thesis La Révolution française et les lettres italiennes (1789-1815) [The French Revolution and Italian Literature] at the Faculty of Letters in Lyon - a faculty at which he became a lecturer in 1911. In 1913, Hazard became a professor at the Faculty of Letters in Paris until 1925, when he joined the Collège de France where he was appointed to the Chair of Comparative Literature of Southern Europe and Latin America.
In 1921 he founded the Revue de littérature comparée [Comparative Literature] with his colleague at the Sorbonne, Fernand Baldensperger. Paul Hazard also stands out for his internationalism. He was very open-minded towards foreign countries, especially the Americas, Hungary and Slovenia. He travelled and lectured extensively in universities around the world, considered by some as an “ambassador of French thought and literature”.
His links with Italy remained strong throughout his career, leading him to write about Italy in the interwar period and the rise of fascism under Mussolini - whom he met in 1922 at the offices of his newspaper Il Popolo d'Italia, a few days before the March on Rome. He was also in contact with the Futurist movement, born in Italy and closely associated with the Mussolini-era Fascist movement. In 1940, Paul Hazard was elected to the Académie française. He died on 12 April 1944.
There is no record of the Hazard collection entering the archives of the Ascoli Library or the Institute of French and Comparative Literature. It is possible that these archives were donated to the Institute, along with, or even at the same time as, his library which was bequeathed to it by his wife.
The majority of the Hazard collection contains notes and manuscripts by Hazard, as well as his private and professional correspondence. Within this framework, we find a sub-collection consisting of letters written by Hazard and received by Philippe Bertault (1879-1970), Doctor of Letters. The collection also includes manifestos, newspapers and leaflets produced and distributed by the Futurist movement. In addition to his activities as a professor and historian, his activity as founder and editor of the Revue de littérature comparée is documented in this collection.