Restoring Britain: Courtesy and Collaboration in Camden's Britannia
This chapter focuses on what was perhaps the pre-eminent early modern antiquarian book: William Camden's Britannia (1586). It suggests that Camden's work was the first English antiquarian text to find a means of organization adequate for its encyclopedic scope. Revisiting Camden's networks of correspondents and friends, and drawing on extensive archival research, it argues that the key to Camden's success as an antiquary was collaboration. The Britannia should be seen not as the product of one brilliant mind, but as a public collaborative project, which united scholars and schoolmasters — both Continental and provincial — with Camden himself at the heart of this nexus, collating the great mass of antiquarian material. Collaboration therefore needs to be understood as an important antiquarian method.
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