Marie-Françoise Quignard, Honorary Curator of the Réserve des Livres Rares

Marie-Françoise Quignard is Honorary Curator of the Réserve des Livres Rares (Rare Book Reserve) at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (National Library of France), where she worked from 1983 to 2010. Since 2001 she managed the part of the journal of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France on eroticism and pornography and in 2006 she was asked to be co-curator of the exhibition "L'Enfer de la Bibliothèque: Eros au secret".


The Enfer Collection

In these four videos, Marie-Françoise explains everything from why the collection is called "Enfer" and how it became part of the Rare Book Reserve, to providing a deep dive into some of the fascinating texts found within it, how they ended up in the collection, and why it was so difficult to publish such sexually explicit works in the past. She also offers fascinating comments on how the collection (and attitudes towards it) have evolved over time.  Marie-Françoise finishes with powerful commentary on why this collection is of such interest and value to researchers in the fields of Gender and Sexuality Studies and beyond.

You can watch the videos in any order and request a free trial of L’Enfer de la Bibliothèque nationale de France using the form below.

The videos are in French with English subtitles; French subtitles can be selected using the tools in the video player.

Please note: these videos contain sexual content that may be offensive to some viewers. The decision to watch is at your own discretion.

Introducing Marie-Françoise Quignard and the Enfer collection

In this video, Marie-Françoise Quignard introduces herself and her involvement with the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and Rare Book Reserve before moving on to explain why the collection is called "Enfer," and why Enfer is part of the Rare Book Reserve.

The Material in Enfer

Here Marie-Françoise Quignard explores some of the fascinating content that can be found in the Enfer collection, including some of her own favourite texts. She then goes on to discuss how difficult and dangerous it could be to publish such sexually explicit works.

The Curation and History of the Enfer Collection

In this video, Marie-Françoise Quignard discusses how many of these books came to be in the Enfer collection in the first place, who decides which titles should be in the collection, and how the collection has altered and evolved over time, including how attitudes towards the collection have changed.

The Value of Enfer to Researchers

Lastly Marie-Françoise explains the value of the collection to researchers worldwide, including topics and texts that will be of interest to researchers, what makes the digitised collection so exceptional and some of the benefits of having Enfer in a digital format. The video also includes references to where and how this massive digitisation project took place.

Complete the form below to request a free trial of L’Enfer de la Bibliothèque nationale de France, or contact your local representative to receive more information about this exciting new archive.

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