‘The traffic of books’
Libraries, friends and conversation
in Republican learning

Toland's working library had about one hundred and fifty volumes, including a number of foreign-language works. Many of his books, by a variety of continental scholars, formed the basis for intellectual projects undertaken by him. This chapter suggests that the provision, reception and circulation of books, manuscripts and ideas amongst this community brought Toland enormous cultural credibility and status. And in his literary and oral conversations, Toland formed the relationships that meant his ideas had a theatre of influence which unfolded across Europe. The books he wrote, and used, were given cultural value by a combination of the sociabilities necessary to produce them, and he used them not only as bearers of arguments but as means for brokering political and social transactions.

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Republican learning

John Toland and the crisis of Christian culture, 1696–1722

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