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Radical EnlightenmentPhilosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650-1750$
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Jonathan I. Israel

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206088

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206088.001.0001

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Libraries and Enlightenment

Libraries and Enlightenment

(p.119) 6 Libraries and Enlightenment
Radical Enlightenment

Jonathan I. Israel

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses how libraries served as the workshop of the early Enlightenment, both moderate and radical. It describes the contribution of the private ‘universal’ library to the progress of the early Enlightenment in Italy, where the impact of censorship, the unavailability of foreign books, and the decay of the great libraries all conspired to create a situation in which a few medium and large private libraries containing rare foreign works and ‘libri prohibiti’ provided the indispensable channel through which flowed the philosophical ferment of the late 17th century, and later. It also discusses how multivolume encyclopaedias, dictionnaires, and lexicons — the most striking manifestations of the intellectual revolution of the period — enhanced the comprehensiveness of Early Enlightenment libraries, especially those of smaller and medium sizes.

Keywords:   universal libraries, Early Enlightenment, Italy, encyclopaedias, dictionnaires, lexicons

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