The Relation between the Local and the International Context. Reading Behaviour of Men of Letters in 18th-century Tallinn

Mari Tarvas


A study of readers is one way to examine the relationship between the local and broader literary contexts. In this respect, the lists of private library collections from the 18th century (that have survived in the catalogues of probate inventories) serve as a good source for analyzing the reading behaviour of the owners of the books during this period. Even if the conclusions drawn from the analysis may not give a fully truthful picture – books were also read in public libraries, reading societies and were exchanged between individuals – these lists still offer us some insight into the intertextuality of the period. The number of texts related to the region or the Estonian language was relatively small in the 18th century libraries of Tallinn. This paper will analyse these texts in the context of world literature.


library catalogue; private libraries; reading behaviour; book ownership; cultural contact; Tallinn; 18th century

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ISSN 1406-0701 (print)
ISSN 2228-4729 (online)