French Language & Literature Collection

I. Collection Description


To support teaching and research in the Department of French through the doctoral level and beyond in the language, literature, and culture of the French-speaking peoples. The field is also of interest to faculty and students in the Comparative Literature Program, Western European, Africana, and Latin American Studies.

History of Collection:

The University of Illinois Library French collection can be traced to the organization of the Illinois Industrial University in March 1867. In fact, the First Annual Report of the Board of Trustees, published in 1868, includes the Catalogue of the Library in which 14 books are listed to support the needs of the French Department established in 1867. By 1940, the collection grew to 21,000 volumes exclusive of periodicals of which 275 volumes were Provencal literature. The following are substantial collections of French language and literature publications acquired by the Library by purchase or gift: Grober (1912), Fitzgerald (1950-51), Proust letters (1950), and the Martin collection (1956). These collections together contain over 10,000 volumes. Participation in the Farmington plan and the European Blanket Order program has greatly contributed to the collection growth.

Estimate of Holdings:

220,000 volumes.

State, Regional and National Importance:

The most important state and regional collection and one of the top five in the nation. The Proust collection is the most comprehensive in the world. The listing of all periodicals indexed in the Modern Language Association International Bibliography (1921-present) compiled by the Modern Languages and Linguistics Library Staff shows the University of Illinois Library having ca. 85% of them (although not always complete runs).

Unit Responsible for Collecting:

Modern Languages and Linguistics Library.

Location of Materials:

Reference works and a small core collection are held in the Modern Languages and Linguistics Library. The majority is in the Bookstacks. Many are also in the Reference Library, the Undergraduate Library, and the Rare Book and Special Collections Library.

Citations of Works Describing the Collection:

Downs, p. 76.

Major, pp. 56, 109.

Price, Larkin B. A Checklist of the Proust Holdings at the University of Illinois Library at Urbana-Champaign. Urbana, IL: The University of Illinois Library and the Graduate School of Library Science, 1975. (Robert B. Downs Publication Fund, no. 3).

II. General Collection Guidelines


French, Provencal, Neo-Latin, English and Western European languages. Also, any other language and regional variations of languages if the work is of significance.

Chronological Guidelines:

No restrictions.

Geographical Guidelines:

Primarily France, but also including those areas of Switzerland, Belgium, Canada, the Caribbean, the United States, Africa, and Southeast Asia in which French and its regional variations are spoken and literature in French is written.

Treatment of Subject:

Standard statement. In addition, juvenile literature is acquired very selectively and in most cases only when the author is an important literary figure. General, popular treatments of French culture are also acquired. Materials have subject focus on some aspect of the French and Provencal languages and literatures.

Types of Materials:

Standard statement.

Date of Publication:

Standard statement.

Place of Publication:

No restrictions.

III. Collection Responsibility by Subject Subdivisions with Qualifications, Levels of Collecting Intensity, and Assignments

Below is a table that lists specific subject subdivisions within the collection. Each row in the table lists a specific subject subdivision, followed by three columns noting: Collection Strength, Primary Assignments and Secondary Assignments. The Existing Collecting Strength column notes how well the existing collection covers that topic on a 1 to 5 scale with 5 being very strong. The Primary Assignments column lists departmental libraries that have the greatest collection intensity of subject materials, respectively. In the case of 2 or more libraries listed, the collection intensity is comparable. The Secondary Assignments column list departmental libraries where additional materials may be found.

French Language & Literature Collection
French 4 French
Provencal 4 French
Creole 4 French
Neo-Latin 4 French
French for business, science, technology, etc. 3 French
Secondary studies-history, criticism, genre studies 4 French
Original literary works: Old and Early French to 1400 4 French
Renaissance Period, 1400-1600 4 French
Classical Period, 1600-1715 4 French
18th Century, 1715-1789 4 French
Revolution to Present, 1789- 4 French
Haitian 3 French Latin America
Provencal, 900-1450 4 French
1450-present 4 French
French Dialect literature 4 French Africa/Latin American
Proust 5 French
Juvenile literature 3 French Instructional materials
into English 3 Undergraduate French
into other languages 3 French
Scholarly works 4 History French
Popular treatments 4 French Undergraduate
International Cinema: French 3 French Undergraduate

Version Date: November 2005