Synopses & Reviews
From Greek and Roman times to the digital era, the library has remained central to knowledge, scholarship, and the imagination. Generously illustrated, The Meaning of the Library
examines this key institution of Western culture. Tracing what the library has meant since its beginning, examining how its significance has shifted, and pondering its importance in the twenty-first century, significant contributors--including the librarian of the Congress and the former executive director of the HathiTrust--present a cultural history of the library.
Whether relishing an account of the Alexandrian Library or a look at the stylish railway libraries of nineteenth-century England, readers will find a sparkling survey of the library through time. Here, too, are the imagined libraries of fiction, poetry, and film, from Scheherazade's stories to The Name of the Rose and beyond. In an informative introduction, Alice Crawford sets out the book's purpose and scope, and an international array of scholars, librarians, writers, and critics offer vivid perspectives about the library through their chosen fields. Contributors to this collection include David Allan, James Billington, Robert Crawford, Robert Darnton, Stephen Enniss, Richard Gameson, Edith Hall, Laura Marcus, Andrew Pettegree, John Sutherland, Marina Warner, and John Wilkin.
A landmark collection, The Meaning of the Library addresses the significance of the library--both physical and virtual--in the past and present, and will appeal to readers, librarians, and all who are interested in this vital institution's heritage and ongoing legacy.
International contributors to this book include researchers andscholars of history, digital humanities research, English literature, cultural history, rare books, and the Library ofCongress. They trace technological shifts and key figures in the development of libraries over the centuries and consider the heritageand legacy of the library in Western culture. They discuss not only the library through history, but also the library in the imaginationin fiction, poetry, and film, as well as emerging trends and the future. Topics examined include the subscription library in GeorgianBritain, libraries and the modern writer, and the modern library and global democracy. The book includes a section of color photos of medieval art.Annotation ©2016 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)
"The Meaning of the Library
covers the history of the library from antiquity to the present day. This is a very good collection of essays."--Colin Burrow, editor of Metaphysical Poetry
"The library as a topic is currently of increasing cultural interest. I enjoyed The Meaning of the Library and learned a lot from the books eclectic and interesting mix of essays."--Richard Ovenden, Bodleys Librarian, University of Oxford
"This wide-ranging survey of the long and tumultuous history of libraries contains at least a dozen tantalizing bits of information per page. I was fascinated and enriched. And because these essays began as lectures delivered in a library, they illustrate beautifully one of the library's most important roles--as a stage set for writers to share what they've learned about various subjects, including Roman bathhouses, Victorian fumigators, plunder, lust, and the eighteenth-century librarian upon whose death, it was said, 'The books are grievin, 'mang themselves.'"--Marilyn Johnson, author of This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All
"The Meaning of the Library covers the history of the library from antiquity to the present day. This is a very good collection of essays."--Colin Burrow, editor of Metaphysical Poetry
"The library as a topic is currently of increasing cultural interest. I enjoyed The Meaning of the Library and learned a lot from the book's eclectic and interesting mix of essays."--Richard Ovenden, Bodley's Librarian, University of Oxford
About the Author
Alice Crawford is digital humanities research librarian at the University of St. Andrews Library in Scotland. Her books include Paradise Pursued: The Novels of Rose Macaulay.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations ix
Introduction, Alice Crawford xiii
Part 1. The Library through Time
Chapter 1. Adventures in Ancient Greek and Roman Libraries, Edith Hall 1
Chapter 2. The Image of the Medieval Library, Richard Gameson 31
Chapter 3. The Renaissance Library and the Challenge of Print, Andrew Pettegree 72
Chapter 4. From Printing Shop to Bookshelves: How Books Began the Journey to Enlightenment Libraries, Robert Darnton 91
Chapter 5. "The Advantages of Literature": The Subscription Library in Georgian Britain, David Allan 103
Chapter 6. Literature and the Library in the Nineteenth Century, John Sutherland 124
Part 2. The Library in Imagination
Chapter 7. The Library in Fiction, Marina Warner 153
Chapter 8. The Library in Poetry, Robert Crawford 176
Chapter 9. The Library in Film: Order and Mystery, Laura Marcus 199
Part 3. The Library Now and in the Future
Chapter 10. "Casting and Gathering": Libraries, Archives, and the Modern Writer, Stephen Enniss 223
Chapter 11. Meanings of the Library Today, John P. Wilkin 236
Chapter 12. The Modern Library and Global Democracy, James H. Billington 254
Selected Bibliography 267