This lecture series will explore seventeenth-century personal book ownership, looking not only at book acquisition patterns but also investigating motives and collecting cultures. A key theme will be the use of material evidence from books themselves to help to enhance our understanding of seventeenth-century values.
Book-collecting is the terminology most commonly associated with the formation of private libraries and we have a broadly understood set of ideas around the concept of collecting. How valid is that mindset in a seventeenth-century context? Did people value books, and think them worth owning and preserving, for the range of reasons we are familiar with today? The last lecture will consider manuscripts as well as printed books in this context, look at physical as well as documentary evidence, think about libraries alongside museums, and draw some conclusions about the use of the c-word.