On September 10, Dirk van Miert will kick off a new series of the Utrecht Seminar for Cultural History, with a lecture on ‘The Republic of Letters: a long history (1417-2008)’. You will find his abstract below. The seminar will be held at Drift 25, room 002 from 15:15 – 16:30.
Historians tend to agree that the Republic of Letters, an actors’ category since the fifteenth century, disintegrated around 1800. The reasons for this demise have never seriously been studied. I will give some suggestions, inspired by seminars organized by the Utrecht Strategic Theme “Institutions”. It is only after assessing these reasons that we can move on to evaluate the use of the term “Republic of Letters” in the modern age. I will focus on internationalist tendencies in the Interwar period and on open-access ideals in the present time.