The Idea of the Library in the Ancient World

The Idea of the Library in the Ancient World

By Yun Lee Too
Oxford University Press, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-19-957780-4

In The Idea of the Library in the Ancient World Yun Lee Too argues that the ancient library was much more than its incarnation at Alexandria, which has been the focus for students of the subject up till now. In fact, the library is a complex institution with many different forms. It can be a building with books, but it can also be individual people, or the individual books themselves. In antiquity, the library’s functions are numerous: as an instrument of power, of memory, of which it has various modes; as an articulation of a political ideal, an art gallery, a place for sociality. Too indirectly raises important conceptual questions about the contemporary library, bringing to these the insights that a study of antiquity can offer.

Table of Contents
1: The Birth of A Library
2: Library Catalogues: From Literary Description to Literary Self-Description
3: The Breathing Library: Performing Cultural Memories
4: The Library (as) Book: The Fantasy of the Total Text
5: The Library of Universal History: Diodorus Siculus and Literary Cosmopolitanism
6: Inside and Outside of the Library: The Memory of Canon
7: Picture Libraries: Statues among the Books
8: The Sociality of the Ancient Library

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