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The Market for Books in Early Modern Norway: The Case of Juridical Literature

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Chapter Summary

This chapter demonstrates one particular application of book lists, namely, the reconstruction of intellectual history through book titles listed in one distinct type of historical record, an eighteenth-century auction catalogue. This undertaking is particularly useful in the early modern Norwegian cultural context, as few testimonies for this relatively scattered learned culture have survived. In the absence of physical book collections, lists of books provide one means of accessing intellectual life. The significance of these lists in Norway is enhanced by their political context. In a Norwegian setting, such lists are highly important testimonies of the knowledge of earlier times, as few physical book collections from the early modern period have been preserved. Evidence of the book trade itself is also scarce, although a cluster of sources documenting intellectual life is available for the eighteenth century, when more books by Norwegians were published.

Keywords: book collections; book trade; intellectual history; Norway



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