‘Chaos naturae et artis’: imitation, innovation, and improvisation in the library of Sir Hans Sloane. Part 2

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Abstract

This article explores the library practices of the physician, President of the Royal Society, and omnivorous collector Sir Hans Sloane (1660–1753). It situates his approach within the wider context of late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century English book collecting and library documentation, and draws attention to the importance of Gabriel Naudé's Advis pour dresser une bibliothèque for English library owners. Part 1 of this article addressed how Sloane and his peers engaged with Naudé's advice regarding the repurposing of bibliographic materials. Part 2 proceeds to consider how these same individuals responded to Naudé's more controversial views on the order of books and the purpose of libraries. It concludes that collectors refrained from comprehensively following Naudé's advice not only because of practical concerns, but also because they were primarily interested in making their collections easy to use and manage. However, it is this ethos, rather than any faithful obedience to Naudé's advice, which demonstrates how Naudé's reprioritisation of the library in terms of its use had permeated the English collector's outlook.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-69
Number of pages21
JournalLibrary & Information History
Volume37
Issue number1
Early online date1 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021

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