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Investigación bibliotecológica

versión On-line ISSN 2448-8321versión impresa ISSN 0187-358X


DIAS, Débora. The enduring “Republic of Letters” and the century of the intellectuals: notes for a history of libraries in the West. Investig. bibl [online]. 2019, vol.33, n.81, pp.157-178.  Epub 21-Abr-2020. ISSN 2448-8321.

This article aims to trace the connections between the metamorphosis of the library in the West with the cos mopolitan dream of a “Republic of Letters” and the emergence of the figure of the intellectual. As such, it seeks to understand how and which transformations in the realm of knowledge will impact libraries and their more idealized conceptions. By way of an ample bibliographical review and a comparison with printed sources, reflections are made about the emergence of the concept of a “Republic of Letters” in the field of “intellectuals”, and the connections of this to the study of libraries is examined. The encyclopedic ideal of knowledge became consolidated during the so-called Age of Enlightenment, in parallel with cosmopolitanism and the fight for freedom of conscience as well as the freedom to criticize. This main idea became associated with the renewal of European universities and their library infrastructures, the expansion of public readership, greater permission to take books home, and a more intense proliferation of private and specialized libraries. The library further materialized its totalizing vein, even while becoming more specialized, since the “democratization” brought about by the press has made it even more imperative to gather together, if not everything, at least the changing totality of what is relevant.

Palabras llave : History of Book; Libraries; Republic of Letters; Intellectuals.

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