Between 1550 and 1750, regular exchanges of letters encouraged the formation of virtual communities of people with shared interests in various kinds of knowledge which stretched across the globe. Classical scholars, philologists, antiquaries, patristic scholars, orientalists, theologians, astronomers, botanists, experimental natural philosophers, intelligencers, ‘free-thinkers’, and many more practitioners: all cultivated and sustained their professional, social, intellectual, and cultural lives in and through epistolary systems.
Building on the achievements and findings of the research Project Cultures of Knowledge: An Intellectual Geography of the Seventeenth-Century Republic of Letters (of which it is the concluding event), Communities of Knowledge: Epistolary Cultures in the Early Modern World is a three-day conference which brings together seventeen leading authorities to explore and celebrate the ways in which intellectual interests and activities of all kinds were pursued and propagated through the medium of correspondence during the long seventeenth century.
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