Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Ribbon of DarknessInferencing from the Shadowy Arts and Sciences$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Barbara Maria Stafford

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226630489

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226630656.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 04 August 2021

Reconceiving the Warburg Library as a Working Museum of the Mind

Reconceiving the Warburg Library as a Working Museum of the Mind

(p.71) 4 Reconceiving the Warburg Library as a Working Museum of the Mind
Ribbon of Darkness

Barbara Maria Stafford

University of Chicago Press

In line with Aby Warburg’s conviction that the past should engage the present by expanding and refreshing it, the Warburg Institute Library’s rare and singular collections are both about the books and the shaping of the scholarly mind behind the ordering of its contents. Received opinion, however, held that it was more efficient to dissolve its unique holdings into the overarching library system of the University of London. This essay argues first that we should not be automatically persuaded by the unexamined rhetoric of efficiency. Second, while the unique presentation of the Library requires and, happily, has now retained its own premises, it needs to be reconceived in order to operate in the twenty-first century. What makes the Library vital to today’s networked epistemology is the insights it provides to the varieties of human ordering, organization, formatting, categorization —tellingly exhibited in the spatial arrangement of its holdings. In its refreshingly individualistic collections, it resembles another London scholarly institution, assembled by a brilliant architect and collector of artifacts, books, and drawings. Sir John Soane’s house museum at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, I propose, provides a workable model for an analogously useful and apposite museum of the mind.

Keywords:   Aby Warburg, Architecture, Collections, Efficiency, House Museum, Museum of the Mind, Order, Organization, Categorization, Sir John Soane

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.