This essay illuminates an unexplored intersection between recent work on early modern networks, book history, and the history of libraries. It focuses on a letter book, a continuous record of the French Protestant Church of London's correspondence from 1643 to 1650. The church officials who kept this unusual record found themselves imagining their library and its books as working parts in a vibrant information hub for the Huguenot churches in England. Using methods from microhistory (i.e., plausible inference) and literary criticism to uncover an alternative reading of the letters copied into the letter book, as distinct from the original letters, the article traces the beginnings of a lending library in the church officials’ thinking. In illuminating the letter book's impact, the essay places Huguenots, long treated as a marginalized minority, in the spotlight of a global history, which traces the movements of people, ideas, and goods across newly imagined spaces.
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Research Article| May 01 2022
The Copy Room: Imagining a Huguenot Library in Early Modern London
Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (2022) 52 (2): 361–385.
Kathryn A. Gucer; The Copy Room: Imagining a Huguenot Library in Early Modern London. Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 1 May 2022; 52 (2): 361–385. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10829636-9687928
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