24,000 Books Posted – Celebrating with Lamartine’s “Cours Familier de Littérature”

Having had very busy post-processors in October, the celebration day for the 24,000th book snuck up on us quite suddenly. It turned out that we’d reach that point before October was over! I couldn’t assemble the information for today’s post any sooner, so sorry for being a week late.

It’s a long-standing tradition that we pick one book for the round number, and this time the honour went to volume 14 of the 28-volume “Cours Familier de Littérature” by Lamartine. Volume 14 was the last volume to be posted of all the volumes of this series that were in progress at Distributed Proofreaders.

Since I don’t speak French and know nothing of this series, I asked Mireille, who’s been managing all the Lamartine projects since starting on the series in 2007, for some information. Here’s what she has to say:

The name of Lamartine (1790-1869), one of the greatest French poets, is well known. He wrote “Les Méditations” (1820), “Le dernier chant du pèlerinage d’Harold” (1825), “Jocelyn” (1836),  and “La Chute d’un ange” (1838).

But the “Cours Familier de Littérature”, written for his living during 13 years, from 1856 until his death, is not so well known, and most probably is totally ignored by many people, French or not. That is why I have chosen and started, in 2007, to produce the 20 volumes of the series available on Gallica with Distributed Proofreaders.

The “Cours familier de Littérature” is quite unique in literature. It is more than a series of lessons about literature, it is the live illustration of Lamartine’s personal and profound feelings about events which occurred at that time and also in the past and in the entire world.

It is now difficult to find and buy the complete series of the 28 volumes written by Lamartine.

Volumes 18 and 23-28 are still missing in the Gallica collection, volume 2 was not prepared because of the very bad quality of the Gallica PDF format. Thanks to everybody who can help to find them.

Warm thanks to Lostpaces, the PPer of the 20 e-books published by Project Gutenberg.

Thanks, Mireille, for taking on and completing such an ambitious project! And thanks to all the volunteers who worked on those books over the years.

As soon as this information, including the missing volumes, was posted to the DP forums, offers for help poured in. It turns out that what was true back then isn’t necessarily true now. Thanks to the big scanning projects that digitize whole libraries, the missing volumes are available now with high quality scans. So the celebration of the last volume of this series on DP spawned a few new projects – the missing volumes will be run as well, so the series will be available with all its volumes on Project Gutenberg in the future.

2 Responses to 24,000 Books Posted – Celebrating with Lamartine’s “Cours Familier de Littérature”

  1. Sue says:

    Wow! what great news, that the missing volumes can be filled in! thanks to Mireille and lostpaces for sticking with this huge project. What a great way to celebrate our 24,000th volume.


  2. […] 24000 French literature provided the 24,000th book, on October 31, 2012, Cours familier de littérature (Familiar Literature Courses, vol. 14, 1862), by M.A. de Lamartine. Alphonse Marie Louis de Prat de Lamartine, Chevalier de Pratz, was a French writer, poet, and politician who was instrumental in the foundation of the French Second Republic. He ended his life in poverty, publishing monthly installments of the Cours familier de littérature to support himself. You can find the celebratory blog post for this milestone here. […]

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