Secularization and the libraries of Europe

Conference, 22-24 March 2012, Bodleian Library and St Anne's College, Oxford

Convenors: Richard Sharpe (Oxford); Cristina Dondi (Oxford); Dorit Raines (Venice)


The closure of religious houses, in varying circumstances, affected all of Europe at some point between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. At different times and in different countries the consequences for monastic libraries were widely varied, in some cases preserving medieval and early modern collections intact, in others abandoning books to their fate, or transferring them piecemeal into new ownership to serve different cultural purposes.

What impact did these historic changes have on the shape of libraries, access to libraries, and in particular on the preservation or otherwise of books from the past ---the intellectual heritage of Europe?

The conference was supported by funding from the British Academy, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the John Fell OUP Research Fund, and the Bodleian Libraries Centre for the Study of the Book

Abstracts of papers at the conference.

Related projects and resources:
Medieval Libraries of Great Britain
Material Evidence in Incunabula
Paul Needham, Index Possessorum Incunabulorum
RICI, Ricerca sull'Inchiesta della Congregazione dell'Indice dei libri proibiti
Meg Ford's 'Early Book Owners in Britain'
Marina Venier, Monastic Libraries now in Rome, National Central Library

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