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Reading the World
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Reading the World: Encyclopedic Writing in the Scholastic Age

Mary Franklin-Brown


The thirteenth century saw such a proliferation of new encyclopedic texts that more than one scholar has called it the “century of the encyclopedias.” Variously referred to as a speculum, thesaurus, or imago mundi—the term encyclopedia was not commonly applied to such books until the eighteenth century—these texts were organized in such a way that a reader could easily locate a collection of authoritative statements on any given topic. Because they reproduced, rather than simply summarized, parts of prior texts, these compilations became libraries in miniature. This study examines writings in ... More

Keywords: thirteenth century, encyclopedic texts, encyclopedias, speculum, thesaurus, imago mundi, Vincent of Beauvais, speculum maius, Ramon Llull, libre de meravelles

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780226260686
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226260709.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Mary Franklin-Brown, author