The ‘Rare and Curious’ Library of Sir Julius Caesar: Marvel, Miniaturization, and Antiquarian Librarianship on Display
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This thesis treats a book-bound miniature library presented (probably in 1619) as a luxury gift to the English politician and courtier Sir Julius Caesar. Though it contains forty-four tiny books, the collection was not meant as a working reference library as much as it was intended as a marvel and a piece of social currency. The sections of the thesis trace the aesthetic and intellectual interests that shape the form and content of the miniature library, and then examine the object in its various contexts. Knowledge of the social and political worlds of the giver and recipient enables an understanding of the object as an expression of alliance, mutual obligation and self-fashioning. Perhaps the most important of these circles was the London-based Society of Antiquaries, the bibliophilic members of which shared interests in history, erudition, the baroque culture of wonder and the nascent field of antiquarian librarianship.