domingo, 6 de março de 2016

Noël Golvers sobre Clavis Bibliothecarum

«But now we are at the end of this 5-year old project, and the results are not only materialized in a huge book volume of more than 900 pages, but its main contribution is, (first) to reveal for the learned public in and outside Portugal a ‘lost’ world, that of Portugal’s ecclesiastical library treasures – of which more than 400, small and large ones are ‘described’ here for the very first time on the basis of ca. 1,000 catalogues and inventories – and (second) to offer a ‘key’ to unlock this enormous and submerged universe and reconstruct by this a major part of Portuguese cultural heritage, so far overlooked or purposely minimalized.» [...]

«the entire sum must amount to several 100,000s of volumes, together constituting an enormous cultural heritage, but at the same time a ‘Trümmerfeld’ or ruinous cemetery, due to mainly two factors: I mean (1) the (intentional) destruction of particular collections in the almost one century of ‘secularization’, starting with the suppression of the Jesuit scholarly and educational institutes, with their libraries; (2) the great dispersion of the holdings of other libraries throughout the country, by which these books lost the organic relation with their original ‘context’. In all these cases, it are only the extant archival inventories and catalogues, together with other related materials which preserve a reminiscence of the original, destroyed library units; the collection and critical presentation of these inventories was, by consequence, the only way to ‘reconstruct’ this entire galaxy of libraries and book collections, and the intellectual life in Portugal from which they were the instrument and the expression. » [...]

«Let me conclude this all too quick overview by expressing – carefully but firmly – my conviction that after the publication of these materials, which by this edition receive a maximal accessibility, many aspects of the cultural history of Portugal in the Early Modern period should be re-visited and re-written, as it brings the religious institutes (again) in the center of the perspective, where their historical position was, and one should look from now on to history of reading and science, and the Ideeengeschichte in Portugal through the prism of these libraries’ holdings. This is the highest thinkable legitimation of the investment of energy and money behind this project, and at the same time is the best possible argument for the decision to continue and for the further intensifying of this project, as part of an international, European ‘renouveau’ of the study of national book heritage. This is my most sincere wish for this enterprise, to which I should add nothing else anymore, I think. »

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