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The Meaning of the Library: A Cultural History

From Greek and Roman instances to the electronic period, the library has remained principal to wisdom, scholarship, and the mind's eye. Generously illustrated, The that means of the Library examines this key establishment of Western tradition. Tracing what the library has intended in view that its starting, analyzing how its value has shifted, and considering its value within the twenty-first century, major contributors--including the librarian of the Congress and the previous govt director of the HathiTrust--present a cultural background of the library.

Whether relishing an account of the Alexandrian Library or a glance on the fashionable railway libraries of nineteenth-century England, readers will discover a glowing survey of the library via time. the following, too, are the imagined libraries of fiction, poetry, and movie, from Scheherazade's tales to The identify of the Rose and past. In an informative advent, Alice Crawford units out the book's function and scope, and a global array of students, librarians, writers, and critics supply bright views concerning the library via their selected fields. members to this assortment contain David Allan, James Billington, Robert Crawford, Robert Darnton, Stephen Enniss, Richard Gameson, Edith corridor, Laura Marcus, Andrew Pettegree, John Sutherland, Marina Warner, and John Wilkin.

A landmark assortment, The that means of the Library addresses the importance of the library--both actual and virtual--in the previous and current, and should entice readers, librarians, and all who're attracted to this important institution's history and ongoing legacy.

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Climb Uruk’s wall and stroll backward and forward! Survey its foundations, learn the brickwork! have been its bricks no longer fired in an oven? Did the seven Sages no longer lay its foundations? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [See] the tablet-box of cedar, [release] its clasp of bronze! [Lift] the lid of its mystery, [pick up] the pill of lapis lazuli and skim out The travails of Gilgamesh, all that he went via. five The e-book as artifact, taking part in a component in its personal plot as something charged with strength, leaps out of those traces: the key that Gilgamesh realized via his ordeals turns into the key that we're promised to unencumber by means of examining the publication in our palms.

The purpose might sound unnecessary—were it now not for the condition that this can be accurately how a few of them were deployed in definite glossy discussions. because the purposes for the visible obstacles are a number of and their implications diversified, they're worthy spelling out. the obvious elements are stylistic conventions: the illuminations from Saint-Wandrille (plate 6) and Monte Cassino have been most likely by way of priests who had firsthand acquaintance with the libraries they have been portraying; but the nonrealist creative idioms in their day imposed strict limits at the volume to which their traces may perhaps embrace their wisdom.

Reiquam, ed. , harmony and Poland, intro. James H. Billington, (Washington, DC: Wilson middle Press, 1988), three. 6. See the area electronic Library web site at http://www. wdl. org/en/ and the reminiscence of the area venture site at http://www. unesco. org/new/en/communication-and-information/flagship-project-activities/memory-of-the-world/homepage/. 7. Editor’s be aware: in bankruptcy 1, “Adventures in old Greek and Roman Libraries,” Edith corridor discusses the fake etymology that hyperlinks the Latin noun lĭber (“tree-bark,” and therefore finally, “book” made up of paper derived from bark) with the thoroughly otherwise origined adjective līber (“free”), and explains why the hyperlink is a mistake (page XXX).

Haynes, A. Diaconescu and A. Schafer, “Apulum: Romania,” present global Archaeology 10 (2005). Illustrated precis to be had on-line at http://www. world-archaeology. com/features/apulum-romania/. 24. the web Library of Liberty, to be had at http://oll. libertyfund. org/. 25. in this long-standing scholarly conundrum, see the commonly divergent perspectives expressed within the hugely readable research by way of Luciano Canfora, The Vanished Library: A ask yourself of the traditional international, trans. Martin Ryle (Berkeley: collage of California Press, 1990); and in Bojana Mojsov, Alexandria misplaced: From the appearance of Christianity to the Arab Conquest (London: Duckworth, 2010).

2. Jacob Agus, smooth Philosophies of Judaism (New York: Behrman’s Jewish e-book apartment, 1941), 191. three. Ronald Gordon Cant, The collage of St. Andrews: a quick background (Edinburgh: Scottish educational Press, 1970), 70. four. James H. Billington, fireplace within the Minds of fellows (New York: simple Books, 1980), 405–14. five. I wrote in February 1987, “It isn't really demanding to visualize … that during the twenty first century … even within the Soviet Union historians will glance again on unity as an anticipation if no longer a prototype of hobbies that … constructed to remodel their very own societies in methods substantially diverse from the violent, secular innovative activities of the previous.

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