‘The traffic of books’: libraries, friends and conversation

Justin Champion

in Republican Learning

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780719057144
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700259 | DOI:
‘The traffic of books’: libraries, friends and conversation

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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Toland's working library had about one hundred and fifty volumes, including a number of foreign-language works. Many of his books, by a variety of continental scholars, formed the basis for intellectual projects undertaken by him. This chapter suggests that the provision, reception and circulation of books, manuscripts and ideas amongst this community brought Toland enormous cultural credibility and status. And in his literary and oral conversations, Toland formed the relationships that meant his ideas had a theatre of influence which unfolded across Europe. The books he wrote, and used, were given cultural value by a combination of the sociabilities necessary to produce them, and he used them not only as bearers of arguments but as means for brokering political and social transactions.

Keywords: John Toland; libraries; conversations; books; foreign-language works; cultural credibility; Europe; sociabilities

Chapter.  9521 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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