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Miscellaneous OrderManuscript Culture and the Early Modern Organization of Knowledge$
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Angus Vine

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198809708

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198809708.001.0001

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The Early Modern Omnigatherum

The Early Modern Omnigatherum

(p.63) 2 The Early Modern Omnigatherum
Miscellaneous Order

Angus Vine

Oxford University Press

This chapter turns to explicitly miscellaneous volumes and, in particular, to manuscripts which sought to encompass ‘everything’ within encyclopaedic collections. Placing these volumes within the larger context of early modern encyclopaedism, the chapter reveals a vibrant, but previously unheralded, encyclopaedic manuscript tradition. While scholarship on the encyclopaedia has tended to focus on print projects, this chapter uncovers a series of volumes which remind us that the manuscript tradition was similarly significant. Furthermore, these manuscripts constitute an essential link between the lists of words and commonplaces, which were produced in the sixteenth century, and the histories of knowledge that started to emerge in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Compilers discussed here include Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc, William Rawley, and Henry Oxinden. Appropriating a term used by the sixteenth-century compiler, John Fitzjames, the chapter classifies such manuscripts as examples of the ‘early modern omnigatherum’.

Keywords:   encyclopaedism, compilation, collection, polymathy, circle of learning, commonplacing, humanism, thesaurus, taxonomy

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