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Curating the collector: exploring representations of early modern German women book collectors (1650-1780)

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Title: Curating the collector: exploring representations of early modern German women book collectors (1650-1780)
Author(s): Smith, Kathleen
Director of Research: Wade, Mara R.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Wade, Mara R.
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Hilger, Stephanie; Johnson, Laurie; Niekerk, Carl; Kilton, Tom D.
Department / Program: Germanic Languages & Lit
Discipline: German
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): book collecting gender studies early modern women collectors German
Abstract: This dissertation examines representations of book collecting by German women in the early modern period in order to explore the role of gender in this activity. Portrayals of book collectors in the modern and early modern eras offer examples of how this identity is constructed, particularly in the underlying assumptions and expectations that determine who is defined as a book collector and what criteria are used to shape that decision. In the case of four early modern women--Elisabeth Sophie Marie of Braunschweig-Lüneburg (1683-1767); Elisabeth Ernestine Antonie of Sachsen-Meiningen (1681-1766); Caroline of Ansbach (1683-1737); and Wilhelmine of Bayreuth (1709-1758)--the act of collecting is depicted as essential to their social status and an integral part of their lives. Finally, in an in-depth case study of an early modern German woman who was a book collector, Sophie of Hanover (1630-1714), this study analyzes how she represented her collecting activities and textual interaction as well as how she is represented in other texts. The way in which these early modern German women were represented and represented themselves as collectors reveals a great deal about the position of women within wider networks concerning the exchange of texts and information. The study of collecting, particularly the gendered ways in which this act is interpreted, is important for an understanding of the literary context in the early modern period, particularly the contribution of women to learning and discourses of knowledge during this time. This study seeks to understand the meaning of the act of collecting, the ways in which this act was framed, and the representation of that act by the collector, and, in doing so, to redefine the position of women in textual transmission in the early modern German context.
Issue Date: 2012-06-27
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/31914
Rights Information: Copyright 2012 Kathleen Smith
Date Available in IDEALS: 2012-06-27
Date Deposited: 2012-05
 

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