Every culture develops some kind of art as surely as it develops language
Susanne K. Langer, The Cultural Importance of the Arts, Journal of Aesthetic Education
The European Art and Culture collections of Senate House Library provide scholarly insight into the immensely diverse European cultural heritage and show it in its academic interactivity with the library collections as a whole.
The scope of the collections is naturally wide ranging and broadly covers European literature as well as art, cultural memory and music.
The largest of the Western European Languages and Literature collections is the Romance language collection which covers the fields of linguistics, literature and literary criticism. The material is interdisciplinary in nature, but focusses on the literatures and culture of areas that speak a Romance language. They include the study of Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese. Additional languages include Catalan, Galician, Occitan and Romanian among others. Preference is given to primary and secondary texts which are interdisciplinary in their outlook, but construct cultural literary Europeanness in transnational literary projects.
They are a central resource for Romance Studies in the University of London and form the centre piece of Senate House Library’s foreign language and literature holdings.
Romance language material from the French, Spanish, and Portuguese speaking countries of Latin America and the Caribbean are located in the Latin American Collections.
The smaller holdings include Catalan, Galician, Occitan and Provençal. Catalan is by far the most significant of the smaller Romance collections and it was augmented by the acquisition of the Gili Catalan archive which make Senate House Library’s Catalan holdings among the strongest in the UK.
The Germanic languages and Literature collection covers Germanic languages and literature and literary criticism but focusses on German literature.
It has strong holdings in the Scandinavian languages as well as Dutch, Flemish and other Germanic languages. It is supported by the collection of the former Germanic Studies Library which collected predominantly primary material in German. Together they provide a very broad coverage of Germanic studies.
Senate House Library’s art collection is characterized by its divergence, its collection strengths include European art, aesthetics, ceramics, graphic art and the history of photography.
Together with the film and media collections these are intrinsically embedded in the art and cultural memory studies which support cultural identity and alterity.
In addition, our music collection is an assemblage of books on music, scores, periodicals and e-resources that support a wide range of music studies.