Mediating Information, 1450–1800

Ann Blair and Peter Stallybrass

in This Is Enlightenment

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780226761473
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226761466 | DOI:
Mediating Information, 1450–1800

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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This chapter argues that the Enlightenment involved not so much a radical break with, but an inheritance of, established technologies for storing, organizing, and retrieving information. In the long history of information management, the first early modern period (ca. 1450–1650) was especially significant in the development of new techniques and the refinement of existing ones to manage an explosion of printed matter and manuscript record keeping. In portraying their work as a radical break from the Renaissance, Enlightenment authors often obscured the indebtedness of their works to preexisting methods of compiling.

Keywords: Enlightenment; print; record keeping; information management; Renaissance

Chapter.  9744 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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