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The Value of Books:: The York Minster Library as a social arena for commodity exchange
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of History.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

To the present-day reader texts are widely available. However, to the early modern reader this access was limited. While book ownership increased in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it was not universal – even libraries were both limited in their collections and exclusive to the communities they served. Libraries were to be found all over Early Modern England, from city libraries to town subscription libraries. One could gain access to books but these collections were often rather limited in the variety and number of books they offered. Undoubtedly many libraries purchased books for their collections, but frequently books were also given to them by benefactors. One fine example of a community library which reflects its readers and members is the library of St Peter’s Cathedral, York Minster. York Minister library owes its existence to traceable benefactors and donations. One could study the collection to give an insight into reading practices and interests of the Early Modern Period. But in doing so we fall foul of becoming static and failing to develop the historiography of Book History. Instead, we can re-evaluate this collection by drawing from the old focus of genres but shifting this focus and approach the collection from a different path: a material path. These books resonate value. Not solely due to their genres and subject matter, but their value is also generated in how the books became accessible, through generosity and donation. As donations from benefactors these books should not be considered solely as works of literature, but as gifts from one agent to another. Gifts given with both intention and purpose.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 141
Keywords [en]
Early Modern History, Gift Theory, Gift Culture, Gift Exchange, Commodity, York, Library, Book Culture, Book History, Religious History, Social History
National Category
History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-341086OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-341086DiVA, id: diva2:1180652
Presentation
(English)
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Examiners
Available from: 2018-02-06 Created: 2018-02-06 Last updated: 2018-02-06Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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