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Senate House Library

Foskett Uzanne Collection

116 volumes on fashion, bibliography and literature by or connected with Octave Uzanne (1852-1931)

The Collection

Subject: French literature

116 volumes based around the work of the Parisian writer and bibliophile Octave Uzanne (1852-1931). Books date mainly 1870-1973, with the bulk being from the twentieth century. The collection is mainly in French, with a few English translations. It is consciously representative of Uzanne’s prolific output rather than comprehensive. Uzanne’s monographs and edited works in the collection date from roughly the last quarter of the nineteenth century (1870 onwards) and the early twentieth century. They deal especially with female French fashion, and with book collecting. Those on fashion testify to Uzanne’s interest in French fin de siècle book design, with illustrations by Paul Avril, Albert Lynch and others redolent of those on chocolate boxes.

The majority of works in the collection are not by, or edited by, Uzanne. These are predominantly twentieth-century editions of eighteenth-century French literary texts by authors whose work Uzanne edited for other publishers. Authors include Claude-Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon, La Morlière and Réstif de la Bretonne. Some books are illustrated. Several have an erotic bias. There are several books from the series ‘Le coffret du bibliophile’ and several published by the Club français du livre. The oldest item in the collection is an edition of Rousseau’s La Nouvelle Héloïse from ca. 1785. Two editions of Uzanne’s Parisiennes de ce temps are presentation copies.

The books were collected by Douglas John Foskett (1918-2004), Librarian of the University of London 1978-1983, who had several bound uniformly. Letters and postcards in several books reveal their source of acquisition. Foskett bequeathed the collection in 2004.


For an overview of the collection, do a mixed classmark search on [Uzanne]. The collection is held off-site and material requires 48 hours (excluding weekends) to be fetched.

Further reading

Attar, K. E., ‘Douglas Foskett’s Uzanne Collection’Private Library (Autumn 2005), 111-126.