New Article – Antiquarianism: A Reassessment

I’m very pleased to write that a paper I’ve been working on for quite some time now, “Antiquarianism: A Reassessment”, will be forthcoming in the first 2017 issue of Erudition and the Republic of Letters.  ERL is a relatively new journal – the brainchild of the immensely learned and collegial Mordechai Feingold – and well worth a look if you haven’t come across it already.

The article itself is my attempt to summarise and reassess what we know about antiquarianism as a scholarly discipline in early modern Europe.  You can get a sense of its (over-)ambition from the abstract:

Antiquarianism, the early modern study of the past, occupies a central role in modern studies of humanist and post-humanist scholarship. Its relationship to modern disciplines such as archaeology is widely acknowledged, and at least some antiquaries–such as John Aubrey, William Camden, and William Dugdale–are well-known to Anglophone historians. But what was antiquarianism and how can twenty-first century scholars begin to make sense of it? To answer these questions, the article begins with a survey of recent scholarship, outlining how our understanding of antiquarianism has developed since the ground-breaking work of Arnaldo Momigliano in the mid-twentieth century. It then explores the definition and scope of antiquarian practice through close attention to contemporaneous accounts and actors’ categories before turning to three case-studies of antiquaries in Denmark, Scotland, and England. By way of conclusion, it develops a series of propositions for reassessing our understanding of antiquarianism. It reaffirms antiquarianism’s central role in the learned culture of the early modern world; and offers suggestions for avenues which might be taken in future research on the discipline.

Ole Worm (1588-1654), Danish physician and antiquary, one of the case studies I’ve used in the forthcoming article.

Copyright © 2016 Kelsey Jackson Williams

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