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Literature and Encyclopedism in Enlightenment Britain: The Pursuit of Complete Knowledge (Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and the Cultures of Print)

Rudy, Seth

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ISBN 10: 1137411538 / ISBN 13: 9781137411532
Published by Palgrave Macmillan, U.S.A., 2014
Used Condition: Very Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Literature and Encyclopedism in ...

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2014

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: No Jacket

About this title


At a moment when Google seeks "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful," this book tells the story of long-term aspirations, first in ancient epic and then in a wide range of literary and non-literary works from the early modern era and British Enlightenment, to comprehend, record, and disseminate complete knowledge of the world. It is also a story of the persistent failure of these aspirations, their collapse in the late eighteenth century, and the subsequent redefinition of completeness in modern literary and disciplinary terms. The book argues that the pursuit of complete knowledge advanced the separation of epic from encyclopedia, literature from "Literature," and the sciences from the humanities; it demonstrates that the distinctions between "high" and "low," ephemeral and eternal, useful and useless that persist today all stem from the concepts of completeness that emerged during and as a result of the Enlightenment.

About the Author:

Seth Rudy is an Associate Professor of English Literature at Rhodes College, USA. Though devoted primarily to British poetry and prose of the eighteenth century, he has also published and presented work in the fields of Dickens studies, data visualization, ludology, and the modern history of print and digital encyclopedias.

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