Between the ancient model and its Humanistic revival: the notion of bibliotheca publica in the Middle Ages

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The paper addresses the question of the meaning of the term "bibliotheca publica" as it was used by Gervase of Canterbury in his Chronica (late 12th century). In the prologue, the chronicler says that he is writing for his own community, that is the brethren of the cathedral priory of Christ Church, Canterbury, and not for a public library. Basing on the uses of "bibliotheca publica" and related phrases by the authors prior to Gervase and potentially known to him, the paper argues that a repository sanctioned by a public (royal) authority was the kind of destination that Gervase did not longed for. If that interpretation holds, Gervase's understanding, which was shaped by Classical, Patristic, and Carolingian texts, would have been different from that of a publicly accessible book collection, which appears as the current denotation of "bibliotheca publica", when the term came in vogue with the rise of Humanism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTotius mundi philohistor : Studia Georgio Strzelczyk octuagenario oblata
EditorsMałgorzata Delimata-Proch, Adam Krawiec, Jakub Kujawinski
Place of PublicationPoznań
PublisherWydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)978-83-66355-74-3
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

Fields of Science

  • 615 History and Archaeology

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