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Classics and National Cultures$
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Susan A. Stephens and Phiroze Vasunia

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199212989

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199212989.001.0001

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The New Alexandrian Library

The New Alexandrian Library

Chapter:
(p.267) 14 The New Alexandrian Library
Source:
Classics and National Cultures
Author(s):

Susan A. Stephens (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199212989.003.0015

The Alexandrian library has come to occupy a special place in the Western imagination as the first systematic attempt to collect and preserve human knowledge. That library disappeared or was destroyed over 1,500 years ago. In 2002 the Egyptian government erected the ‘Bibliotheca Alexandria’, intended to revive the legacy of the original library. This chapter explores the parallels between new and old libraries as political statements, how a Western foundation comes to be recast as Egyptian, and the roles that competing versions of the ancient library's destruction play in defining the new library.

Keywords:   Alexandrian library, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, house of life, Aswan declaration, Alexandria, building design, harbour excavations, Arab destruction of library, Christian destruction of library

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