Libraries and Enlightenment: Eighteenth-Century Norway and the Outer World by Gina Dahl is her history of the rise in popularity and availability of books about travel and discovery and their impact on society, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Aarhus University Press in Denmark.
This is an accessibly-written academic book about books, specifically the impact that the greater availability of books about things outside of early modern Norway had on the people of Norway, who were able to do “virtual travel” to other worlds by means of armchair-discovering the foreign places and cultures described in said books. While this does concentrate mainly on the availability of and impact of such books in Norway specifically, some of it also appears to cover the greater trend for such travelogue and discovery-type books in the wider world of the Enlightenment, also examining the attitudes expressed by the authors of particular well-known titles and their apparent reception by the popular audience.
Offered DRM-free worldwide through the month of February, directly from the publisher.
Free for a limited time through February as their Engish-language Free Book of the Month selection directly @ the university’s special promo page (DRM-free PDF available worldwide, approximately 49 mb), and you can read more about the title on its regular catalogue page
The free e-book of the month is Libraries and Enlightenment by Gina Dahl
Books are written to entertain and to inform, and during the Enlightenment, accounts of other worlds became popular as trade routes, scientific and leisure travel to faraway places made the world seem smaller. Books on ‘outer worlds’, classified in libraries as historia, were very important in conveying distinct perceptions of peoples, places and cultures to readers. These encounters fed into a general eighteenth-century interest in individualization, progress and tolerance.
Libraries and Enlightenment. Eighteenth-Century Norway and the Outer World explores how the broader world was presented to a Norwegian audience by means of both statistical analysis of books on ‘the other’ in Enlightenment libraries, and a consideration of how peoples were portrayed in the works. Book distribution was very uneven, and the views promoted particularly by bestsellers were as multifaceted as the Enlightenment itself as the texts expressed both prejudice and admiration.