Featuring Octave Uzanne

The Foskett Uzanne Collection contains some of the most visually striking material in Senate House Library’s special collections, both through the lavish ‘chocolate box’ use of gilt on some of the covers and internal design. Octave Uzanne (1852-1931) was a fin-de-siècle French writer and bibliophile who was concerned with the look of a book, and his works on the fan, the sunshade and others make this clear as words fit around images. He looked both backwards (several items in the collection are by eighteenth-century writers whose works he edited) and forwards, predicting at the beginning of the twentieth century the death of the book as a victim to gramophone records.Octave Uzanne, Caprices d’un bibliophile (1878).
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Uzanne is scarcely a household name in England, but his collection is coming into its own at the Institute of English Studies conference ‘Aestheticism and Decadence in the Age of Modernism: 1895 to 1945’ (17-18 April 2015), with a display in Senate House (Senate Room ante-room, first floor), curated by Dr Lise Jaillant of the University of East Anglia:

Octave Uzanne, L’ombrelle, le gant, le manchon (1883)
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