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Seventeenth-Century Libraries: Problems & Perspectives

A library shelf

This symposium brings together a group of UK-based academics and librarians, as well as key Continental scholars, in an attempt to consolidate current research, for the first time, on seventeenth-century libraries and book collecting. Much research has been done, but it remains scattered across disciplinary divides. Until separate findings have been amalgamated, we will not be able to establish the patterns of book acquisition and library formation for this important period.

Seventeenth-Century Libraries: Problems & Perspectives addresses questions of topography and typology, networks of library activity, administration, visual identity, dispersal, owners and content, and definitions of public and private. The project will also confront current topics of cultural and intellectual history – especially heritage and antiquarianism, the circulation and management of knowledge, and the rise of consumerism and the culture of collecting, as presented in such books as Arthur MacGregor’s Curiosity and Enlightenment (2007), Ann Blair’s Too Much to Know (2010), and Linda Levy Peck’s Consuming Splendor (2005).

The initial symposium was held at UCL on 6–8 June, 2019. You can download the conference programme here. CELL's work on this topic is continuing under the direction of Dr Robyn Adams and Dr Jacqueline Glomski.