The Lost Library of Anne Conway


Type
Article
Change log
Abstract

The philosopher Anne Conway (1631-1679) owned a large library, and her reading and book ownership shaped her intellectual life in distinctive ways. Until now, however, almost nothing has been known about the details of her reading or her book collection. Current scholarship assumes that her library, like that of her husband, the third Viscount Conway (c. 1623–1683), was lost or dispersed after her death. This article presents previously unrecognised evidence of Conway’s book ownership, and identifies, for the first time, the only books currently known to survive from her personal library. It traces their path to their current location in the Old Library of Jesus College, Cambridge, through the library of the soldier, book collector, and Cambridge Fellow Francis Sterling (c. 1652-1692). The article demonstrates that the newly identified books reveal previously unknown patterns of intellectual exchange amongst Conway’s family, and argues that they have significant implications for our understanding of her early intellectual development.

Description
Keywords
Anne Conway (1631-1679), early modern philosophy, female philosophers, libraries, book ownership
Journal Title
Seventeenth Century
Conference Name
Journal ISSN
0268-117X
2050-4616
Volume Title
36
Publisher
Informa UK Limited
Rights
All rights reserved