Books, pamphlets, pictures and music.
Printed books, pamphlets, pictures and music.
Printed books, pamphlets, pictures and music in libraries. The birth of libraries confronted its owners, in the 16th century in Europe, with new challenges: how and where to put them on a shelf, how to avoid buying the same book, pamphlets, pictures and music twice, how to make good use of their content? Hernando Columbus (1488–1539) was one of the first (or the first?) to give an answer to these challenges. He solved it with four books and an umbrella process (“root system”). Four books:
Every year a small bookstore will send worth five “ducados” from printed material (books, pamphlets, pictures and music) from Rome, Venice, Nuremberg, Antwerp, Paris and Lyon to Hernando’s universal library (“Hernandina”) in Seville, Spain. The bookstore will start first with buy as much “ephemeral” or “dunghill” pamphlets as possible and only then moving to larger printed books. They will collect, "all books, in all languages and on all subjects, which can be found both within Christendom and without" (page 316).
Every sixth year an agent from the Hernandina will sweep through a smaller series of cities to seek out titles that had been missed based on the catalogues of the Hernandina.
Hernado wanted his library to become a universal library, where the thoughts of the world were stored, all of the possible fields of knowledge covered and making all terrains one. This library needed to be guarded, ordered, arranged and tended like a garden. The universal library was an engine for extracting the writing of all mankind. To order things in such a way that all new things are sought out and gathered forever. Not bounded by language, subject or religion. A place of pleasure, magic and astonishment (page 84, 240 and 314-317).
Hernando’s father – Christopher Columbus – navigated to and discovered new, unknown physical lands on planet Earth. A navigator of oceans. Hernando wanted with his universal library a place in history equal to his father’s. A navigator of print.
In the book The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books. Young Columbus and the Quest for a Universal Library (London 2018) all the tiny little elements of a personal live that preceded his universal library is worked out with great detail by Edward Wilson-Lee. Lovely! Perfect read!
P.S. Did 'The Book of Authors' consist of one or two lists? (1) list from A to Z from Author with title(s) and year of publication; (2) list from A to Z from Title with its author(s) and year of publication? Did list 2 exist too?
P.P.S. I don't comprehend the relation between 'The Book of Authors' and 'The Book of Sciences' and 'The Table of Authors and Sciences'. Is the table based on the two books? How to order infinitely with physical catalogue or index cards? Catalogue or index cards bearing (hieroglyphic) symbols?
P.P.P.S. The universal library never got the name Hernando wished 'Hernandina' but was and is named 'Biblioteca Colombina'. Today housed in 'Institución Colombina' together with other libraries under one roof.
P.P.P.P.S. I get the impression the process of the universal library never started. The book doesn't tell if it did or not.