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Plenary, Wolfenbüttel Symposium
Plenary, Wolfenbüttel Symposium, ‘Dynastic Networks as Vehicles for Cultural Transfer’ 15-18 July 2014
‘Exhibiting the Mind: material culture versus intellectual networks?’ - Clarissa Campbell Orr
The lecture will be in two parts. The first, ‘Princesses, Books, Libraries’ follows some examples of princesses of the Holy Roman Empire between 1700 and 1815 who were linked to the Brunswick or Hohenzollern Dynasty, as they criss-crossed Germany and even further afield to marry their designated spouses. They were also patrons of and participants in the 18th century Republic of Letters, and there will be mention of some of the most significant culture-clashes within this ‘virtual’ republic’ between their courts and their protégés. The second part will consider some of the challenges faced by historians in understanding and interpreting these events. How, when where and why did these princesses acquire books and build their libraries? What did they make of their reading? How do we do equal justice to the dual nature of books as physical objects and conveyors of thoughts, sentiments and ideas? Can we picture the mind, literally and metaphorically? These questions will be posed in relation to Queen Charlotte’s library at Windsor, and I hope I will have some answers to offer to them.