Blog of a three-year research project "Calendars and chronology in the intellectual culture of Central Europe, 1400-1700". Project funded by the Polish National Science Centre within the FUGA programme for postdoctoral fellows and carried out at the Faculty of "Artes Liberales" of the University of Warsaw
As I mentioned some time ago, part of my scholarly soul still belongs to Ramism. Although I have moved into a slightly different field, I wouldn’t be here without my research on the reception of Ramism in Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth – it was then when I started to study Broscius’s marginalia and realized that he was involved in the calendrical debates and these two facts made me to think about carrying out a larger project that could embrace not only Broscius but also a number of other fascinating early modern figuers who got involved into these debates. After I completed my PhD I had to take a kind of intellectual leave from all these logical distinctions, branching schemes, anti-Aristotelian polemics and rather dry textbooks and the Ramist virus remained dormant for a while. It was thanks to my faculty colleague, Simon Burton, that we started to think about organizing a seminar on broadly understood theories of knowledge and arts in late medieval and early modern, mostly Central, Europe which allowed us to join our forces.
The seminar, scheduled to take place in less than four weeks, on the 28th and 29th of May, was actually one of the reasons I visited Gdańsk Library of the Polish Academy of Sciences two weeks ago. I wish I had more time to study Peter Crüger’s microscopic, erudite and highly critical marginalia related to chronology (although, in the long run, this might lead to a serious deterioration of my sight), the agenda of my visit was twofold and I spent at least half of my time in Gdańsk consulting manuscripts and books that have very little to do with chronology but will help me to shape the first version of my argument on the reception of Ramism in early modern Gdańsk/Danzig. This does not necessarily mean that I have to abandon Crüger – as a disciple of Danzig omnivorous logician and encyclopaedic polymath, Bartholomaeus Keckermann, he remains on the horizon as one of the elements of the picture I would like to include in my May paper, yet this time not as an active reader, but as an author of texts. (As an annotator, he will reappear in mid-June, at another exciting conference organized by Warsaw historians and dedicated to the manucript and handwriting cultures.)
Back in 2010, when I started to work as a secretary of the board of the Autoportretquarterly, a Kraków-based magazine dedicated to anthropology of space, it turned out that we shared some interest in the relationship between space, architecture and production of knowledge. It took some time before this idea ripened and could serve as a basis for the journal’s thematic issue and find its place in the editorial plan. But it finally happened and I am pleased to inform you that the issue of Autoportret on the spaces of knowledge has come of the press.
This information is addressed mostly to the Polish speaking readers of Chronologia Universalis, but I believe I owe the readers of this blog a brief overview of the issue as some of the articles may be of interest to them, even despite the language barrier. We are starting with the 2009 lecture on Google Books which was given by Robert Darnton at the Frankfurt Book Fair and published in his The Case for Books. Darnton’s essay is complemented by an impression on virtual graveyard written by the AESD collective, originally published at their website. I took the occasion to settle the score with issue which got my attention while I was working on my doctorate, i.e. the spatial metaphors of knowledge in early modern treatises which dovetails with an literary and visual essay prepared by Jakub Woynarowski, a Kraków artists and designer. There are two essays on cartography, one on the role of maps in building the identity in the Renaissance Poland-Lithuania, written by Jakub Niedźwiedź, and the other by Tomasz Kamusella, on the ideological role of historical atlases. The idea of the library is the strongest point of reference for the whole issue of the journal (cf. editorial questionnaire, interview with Dariusz Śmiechowski and photographic essay by Nicholas Grospierre) but there is also an article on the design of the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris by Katarzyna Mrugała. Finally, through essays by Matteo Trincas and Davide Pisu (Osmosis) as well as by Rossano Baronciani and Krzysztof Korżyk we are having a look at the problem of evolution (or devolution) of knowledge in the digital world.
It was a great pleasure for me to get back to the editorial work I left behind in Kraków and to stay in touch with this wonderful group of authors. I wish to thank the editors of the journal for their trust and support and I hope the future will bring us further opportunities to collaborate.
Below you will find the cover of this issue of Autoportret, designed by Anna Zabdyrska, and here you will find some further information in Polish.