What is it about?

In the early Middle Ages, borrowed manuscripts were exchanged through networks that linked monasteries, schools, and private libraries. By analyzing the letters of abbot Servatus Lupus, also called Lupus of Ferrières, I suggest that the practice of lending was a social process primarily based on trust, reputation, and mutual obligation between scholars.

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I hope this article makes people approach the history of libraries and book-borrowing in the West with more interest. By understanding the social mechanisms involved in book-exchange in the earlier centuries of the Middle Ages, we may shed some light on the study of contemporary libraries.

Andrea Reed-Leal
University of Chicago

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This page is a summary of: Book-borrowing in the early Middle Ages: a case study of Servatus Lupus (c. 805–862), Library & Information History, December 2020, Edinburgh University Press,
DOI: 10.3366/lih.2020.0032.
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