Reading like a nun: The composition of convent libraries in Renaissance Europe

by Sigmon, Rebecca A.

Abstract (Summary)
This paper examines the composition of convent libraries in Renaissance Europe, specifically Italy and Spain. While much research on monastic libraries has occurred, none has concerned convent libraries. They are unique because they include writing by and for women.

The author used previous historical research to form an overview of a convent library’s composition. Examining monastic and Tridentine rules regarding literature collected and produced in convents allows one to understand if legislation restricted convent literature. From there, examining scribal work performed in convents, a few known convent holdings, and the works written by nuns themselves can illustrate other manuscripts and books in a convent library. These methods lead to the conclusion that convent libraries contained collections rich in social history and women’s history because they contained some of the only literature by, for, and about women.

Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Dr. Jerry D. Saye

School:University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

School Location:USA - North Carolina

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:libraries history europe librarianship – italy spain monastic


Date of Publication:11/14/2005

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