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Author, Publisher, Patron, World: A Case Study of Old Books and Global Consciousness

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This essay focuses on the big books on distant parts of the world compiled by Olfert Dapper of Amsterdam between 1668 and 1688. It shows that in addition to his own efforts his publisher, Jacob van Meurs, and his patron, Nicolaes Witsen, made vital contributions to these works. It makes a case for the vital contribution to European knowledge of a wider world, and to the impact of that knowledge on broader cultural trends, of one who was not an eyewitness of distant shores but a diligent and sophisticated stay-at-home compiler. It urges scholars of these distant areas to pay attention to these books and others like them, and teachers to think about the benefits of discussing them with their students.

Affiliations: 1: Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California


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