Memories of Libraries

Jennifer Summit

in Memory's Library

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780226781716
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226781723 | DOI:
Memories of Libraries

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)


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The message of this book is not that the past repeats itself but that ideas about libraries always bear an especially rich and complex relationship with the past, which consists—today no less than in the Reformation—of one part preservation, one part invention, and one part disavowal. Literary scholars, for this reason, have a particularly strong stake in libraries and their history; not only are libraries repositories of written narratives, but they are also narrative-producing institutions. Furthermore, as places of reading and writing, libraries symbolize the complex “place” of reading and writing in relation to a culture's other institutions. Libraries are central to who we are because they are central to who we were, organizing the individual and collective memories that make up the stories of our lives as individuals, peoples, and nations.

Keywords: libraries; history; reading; writing; memories

Chapter.  2584 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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