Understanding the real bestsellers of the 18th century


Call for papers
Private libraries and private library inventories, 1665 – 1830:
Locating, studying and understanding sources, in Europe and beyond

17-18 January, 2019
Radboud University, Nijmegen (The Netherlands)

Book historians have long acknowledged the importance of private book lists and library inventories as a source to study book ownership and print culture before the advent of public libraries and mechanized book production in the nineteenth century. Private libraries often fulfilled essential functions within reading communities, through family and professional networks, and through other networks of informal, interpersonal book lending. In some cases, private libraries laid the foundations for later, public institutions providing access to books.

Despite the bourgeoning of case studies focusing on multiple aspects of private book ownership, and on specific collectors and their libraries, scholarship is still hampered by the lack of overviews of the source material: private library inventories. These include a broad range of materials, from printed library sales catalogues to probate inventories and manuscript inventories for domestic use. Even for the most well-documented of these sources, auction catalogues, it is however impossible to provide plausible estimates of the extant numbers today. Private inventories can be found in archives, libraries, and other institutions in Europe and beyond. Many of these are located well beyond their original place of production, making it essential to approach any overview from a transnational perspective. The available resources are sometimes fragmentary, dispersed or difficult to access, for both material, historical (the massive destruction of archives after WW II in central Europe) and linguistic reasons (south-eastern Europe, with its Ottoman legacy).

As part of the ERC-funded MEDIATE project (Middlebrow Enlightenment: Disseminating Ideas, Authors, and Texts in Europe, 1665 – 1830, ), an international team of book historians is currently putting together an Open Access database, BIBLIO (Bibliography of Individually-owned Book and Library Inventories Online, 1665 – 1830) that will provide basic bibliographic records for all extant Dutch, French and British private library (sales) catalogues in this period, including catalogues preserved in libraries in other parts of the world.

As a first step toward the creation of the BIBLIO database, that will be available online in 2019-2020, we are soliciting proposals for an international conference to lay the groundwork for a more systematic survey of available sources, resources and interpretative approaches to private book inventories, in Europe and beyond. A selection of the papers presented during the conference will be published as a peer-reviewed volume tentatively titled Private book inventories, 1665 – 1830: A Guide to sources, in Europe and beyond. Contributors are invited to address the following questions:

- what kinds of private book inventories (e.g. auction catalogues, domestic inventories) were produced during the period 1665 to 1830, and is a general typology possible?
- what were the various functions of private library catalogues and inventories (e.g. commercial, rhetorical, aspirational, civic) between 1665 and 1830 and how are these displayed in the inventories themselves?
- what were the uses to which private libraries were put (e.g. as instruments of self-improvement, informal lending networks, or part of consumer culture) and how do these affect interpretations of library inventories as a historical source?
- what patterns can be identified in practices of recording private book ownership in specific regions or contexts (e.g. practices of book auctions, preferences for certain kinds of reading material, particular kinds of inventories)?
- what scholarship on private book inventories between 1665 and 1830 exists already in specific linguistic or geographical regions? What is the focus of this scholarship, and what is missing?
- what are the most important libraries, archives and other collections containing private book inventories, what kinds of holdings do they have, and how were these collections constituted?

Authors are encouraged to move beyond the level of the individual case study to propose a more general reflection on private library inventories as source material, their uses and specific challenges they pose to researchers. The final publication will include a substantial bibliographical overview of publications available and a guide to resources per linguistic or geographic region, to which all authors will be asked to contribute.

Please send your 300-word proposal, together with a short bio-bibliographical statement listing your current affiliation by April 1st, 2018, to both conference organizers:
Alicia Montoya, and Rindert Jagersma,

Speakers will be notified by June 1st, 2018 of their paper’s acceptance, and will be provided with further conference details then. The MEDIATE project will cover hotel and conference costs; speakers will be expected to cover their own travel expenses.
Posted on 01 Feb 2018 by rindert
Counter-Revolution and the Making of Conservatism(s)
Transnationalism and the circulation of conservative ideas from the mid-seventeenth century until the First World War
14 and 15 June 2018
Soeterbeeck conference centre, Ravenstein, Netherlands

Matthijs Lok (Universiteit van Amsterdam), Alicia Montoya (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen), Juliette Reboul (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen)

With the rise to prominence of conservative ideologies across the Western world, the study of the genesis and diversity of conservative and ‘anti-modern’ European traditions has gained new urgency. This conference has two aims - the first is to discuss the long-term transformation of conservative ideas and rhetoric through the lense of global and transnational connections. Early conservative movements are often studied in national contexts, and the foreign roots of political imagination hidden and buried away by cohesive and structural discourses.

We posit that the transfer of conservative ideas via travel, counter-revolutionary migration or through the international book trade, helped shape seemingly homegrown conservative ideologies. It was only three years ago that global intellectual historian David Armitage pointed out ‘there is still no synoptic account of the late eighteenth century as the age of global anti-democratic counter-revolution’. So far cosmopolitanism has been regarded as mainly a progressive phenomenon, while forms of conservative or even reactionary trans- and internationalism have been ignored on the whole.

The second aim of this conference is to promote the systematic study of Euro-pean Conservatisms and possibly sketch a varied typology of modern conserva-tive thinking based on the notions of dialogue and circulation - between Enligh-tenment philosophy and conservative thinkers, between Revolution and Coun-ter-Revolution, between high-, middle- and low-brow conservative actors, as well as between European intellectual centres and their peripheries. There is still much conceptual and empirical confusion regarding the interrelation of notions such as ‘conservatism’, ‘counter revolution’ and ‘counter-Enlightenment’ in the period from the late eighteenth century until the rise of fascism in the 1920s and 1930s.

This inter-disciplinary event will particularly welcome early career researchers and scholars who have studied or shown an interest in the early stages of mod-ern conservatism in any European context or beyond.
Themes may include (but not exclusively):

- Actors: Ideologues and popularisers of conservative thought
- Conservative Cosmopolitanism?
- Counter-Revolution and the transnational influence of exiles
- The Conservative and Counter-Revolutionary Book Trade
- Counter-Revolution, Religion and Nationalism
- Acceptance and rejection of European Conservatism beyond Europe

To participate, please send a 400-word abstract and a short CV including current institutional affiliation and relevant publication to before 15 January 2018.

This conference is facilitated by the generosity of the University of Amsterdam and Radboud University Nijmegen. It will take place in the former Augustinian women’s convent of Soeterbeeck, in Ravenstein near Nijmegen. More informa-tion on the organisation of the workshop and accommodation will be provided to participants in due course.
Posted on 23 Oct 2017 by rindert
The second annual symposium on Digitizing Enlightenment – the first was held at Western Sydney University in July 2016 – will be held in Nijmegen on June 15 and 16, 2017. It will provide an opportunity for scholars of the Enlightenment currently using DH instruments to study this period to enter into a dialogue with each other and the wider academic community about the ways in which their projects have transformed, and will continue to transform research practice, pedagogy and academic understandings in eighteenth-century studies and beyond. The symposium will include presentations by PIs and early stage researchers in some of the most innovative digital humanities projects in the field. These include both established and internationally recognized projects such as Electronic Enlightenment; the French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe (FBTEE); and the ARTFL Encyclopédie project; as well as newer initiatives such as the Reassembling the Republic of Letters COST Action; and the ERC projects SKILLNET and Middlebrow Enlightenment: Disseminating Ideas, Authors and Texts in Europe 1665 - 1820 (MEDIATE).

Draft programme

Venue: Radboud University Faculty Club, Geert Grooteplein Noord 9, Nijmegen

Thursday, June 15

9.00 – 9.30 Olivier Hekster (director HLCS Research Institute), Welcome and introduction

9.30 – 11.00 Session 1: The circulation of goods and ideas (chair: Helleke van den Braber)

Charles van den Heuvel (Huygens Institute – ING)
Golden Agents: Creative Industries and Knowledge Commodities

Victoria Thompson (Arizona State University)
Digitizing Affective Objects in a Global Framework

Simon Burrows (Western Sydney University)
Exploring the Common Reading Culture of Eighteenth-Century Europe: New Digital Methods of Understanding Enlightenment Cosmopolitanism

11.00 – 11.30 coffee / tea

11.30 – 13.00 Session 2: Intellectual networks (chair: Floris Meens)

Katherine McDonough (Western Sydney University)
Mapping the Encyclopédie to Make an Early Modern Gazetteer

Dirk van Miert (Utrecht University)
Reconceptualizing the Enlightenment Republic of Letters

Howard Hotson (University of Oxford)
Beyond EMLO: Early Modern Linked Data

13.00 – 14.00 Lunch

14.00 – 15.30 Session 3: Book history and digital methods - projects (chair: Ivo Nieuwenhuis)

Marieke van Delft (Royal Library, The Hague)
The Short-Title Catalogue Netherlands: new sources for expansion

Raphaële Mouren (Warburg Institute) and Thomas Lebarbé (Université de Grenoble)
Conceiving a Platform for the Reconstruction of Dispersed Libraries: The Interdisciplinary Approach and its Consequences

Joshua Teplitsky (Stony Brook University)
Footprints: Jewish Books Through Time and Space

15.30 – 16.00 Coffee / tea break

16.00 – 17.30 Session 4: Book history and digital methods – sources and questions (chair: Roel Smeets)

Gary Kates (Pomona College)
The Popularization of Political Thought in Enlightenment Europe

Laure Philip (Western Sydney University)
The Illegal Book Trade Revisited – Overview, Methods, and First Findings

Lucas van der Deijl (University of Amsterdam)
Spinozist Discourse in Dutch Textual Culture (1660-1720): Limits and Opportunities of Digital Text Analysis for Enlightenment History

Friday, June 16

9.00 – 10.30 Session 5: Studying libraries and collections (chair: Johan Oosterman)

Helwi Blom, Rindert Jagersma, and Juliette Reboul (Radboud University)
MEDIATE: Digitizing Book Catalogues and (Private) Library Collections

Colin Wilder (University of South Carolina)
Studying Library Collections in Early Modern Germany with Computational Methods

Ann-Marie Hansen (Université Rennes 2)
The Universal Short Title Catalogue: Reconstructing Production from the First Age of Print

10.30 – 11.00 Coffee / tea break

11.00 - 12.00 Session 6: Digital editions and publishing (chair: Joanna Rozendaal)

Kristen Schuster (King’s College London)
Digital Editions of Antiquarian Texts: Collaboration, Innovation and Exploration

Glenn Roe (Australian National University) and Robert Morrissey (University of Chicago)
Digitizing Raynal

12.00 – 12.30 Plenary discussion: Planning a website companion to scholarly books, moderated by
Gregory Brown (University of Nevada / Oxford Studies in the Enlightenment)

12.30 – 13.30 Lunch

13.30 – 15.30 Session 7: Collaboration, audiences and sustainability (chair: Alicia Montoya)

Elizabeth Andrews Bond (The Ohio State University)
Linked Data and the Epistolary Enlightenment

Louise Seaward (University College London)
Enlightening the Crowd? Crowdsourcing Research with ‘Transcribe Bentham’

Lieke van Deinsen (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam)
In search of a lost sensation. Reconstructing literary heritage in a digital age: possibilities and challenges

Marian Lefferts (Consortium of European Research Libraries)
Collaborating in the Consortium of European Research Libraries

15.30 – 16.00 Coffee / tea break

16.00 – 17.00 Closing Round table: Creating a Sustainable Ecosystem of DH Projects
(moderator: Jason Ensor, Western Sydney University)

- What has been achieved, what is possible and what is not
- The challenges ahead: conceptual, technical, institutional
- Possibilities for collaboration
- Working toward sustainability

This conference has been made possible by generous financial support from the European Research Council and the Dutch-Belgian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.

Posted on 21 Apr 2017 by alicia

Last July, the MEDIATE project members visited Western Sydney University for the first Digitizing Enlightenment symposium, followed by the George Rudé seminar. During both the Digitizing Enlightenment symposium and the George Rudé seminar, the project leaders of the Western Sydney-based MPCE – FBTEE project and MEDIATE publicly announced their plans to build a fully collaborative database system, pooling the data from both projects and bringing in further book history sources. In follow-up meetings in Paris and Nijmegen, they drew up a knowledge exchange programme of visits for the coming years and further scoped out the mutual conceptual and digital development of the two projects.

The second Digitizing Enlightenment symposium is scheduled to take place in Nijmegen on June 15-16, 2017.

Please read a full report from our partners of the FBTEE project here: Report on Digitizing Enlightenment Symposium.

Posted on 03 Feb 2017 by wessel
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Past events

MEDIATE team members have presented the project at the following conferences: