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Books and Readings in Florence in the 15th Century: “Ricordanze” and the Reconstruction of Private Libraries

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Chapter Summary

As Christian Bec reminds one in his work on Florentine reading, until a short time ago Italian study of books oscillated between two opposing tendencies: that of considering the book to be exclusively an individual work of art, and thus examining it in its internal and proper characteristics (typically the tendency of literary study); and that of considering the book mostly on its external characteristics in a bibliological way or as a "bibliophile". A merit of scholars like Bec is in having underlined the importance of the book as an instrument of cultural circulation, as an instrument for knowing the mental and intellectual milieu of a society, and of having tried to establish, even for Italy, and particularly for Florence, the methodological instruments that would permit undertaking a study of the "circulation of the book" based on quantitative information.

Keywords: bibliophile; Christian Bec; Cicero; Florence; Italy; literary study; Virgil



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