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Ancient Libraries and Renaissance Humanism

The De bibliothecis of Justus Lipsius

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Thomas Hendrickson

Winner of the 2018 Josef IJsewijn Prize for Best Book on a Neo-Latin Topic

Although many humanists, from Petrarch to Fulvio Orsini, had written briefly about library history, the De bibliothecis of Justus Lipsius was the first self-contained monograph on the topic. The De bibliothecis proved to be a seminal achievement, both in redefining the scope of library history and in articulating a vision of a public, secular, research institution for the humanities. It was repeatedly reprinted and translated, plagiarized and epitomized. Through the end of the nineteenth century, scholars turned to it as the ultimate foundation for any discussion of library history. In Ancient Libraries and Renaissance Humanism, Hendrickson presents a critical edition of Lipsius’s work with introductory studies, a Latin text, English translation, and a substantial historical commentary.