Cultural Recycling and Ordering Knowledge in the French Library From the Seventeenth to the Nineteenth Century

By: Alix Mazuet  

This paper analyzes the process of ordering knowledge in the French library, from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century, within the discourse of cultural recycling. As Silvestra Mariniello explains, recycling consists in reestablishing the epistemological models of the order that are or have been threatened. "The discourse of recycling participates, among other functions, in reestablishing order.” Viewed from this standpoint, the manner in which the space of knowledge is delineated at a given time helps implement a specific ideology or mode of thought—be it new (French republican ideology after monarchism) or not (eruditio in face of eloquence françoise)—by making certain texts more readily available to readers than others. In this sense, the epistemological reordering of knowledge enables power structures in place in the library to shape, if only in part, the cultural heritage so that it can represent a specific system of values and beliefs.

Libraries Cataloguing
Books and Libraries
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Alix Mazuet

Lecturer, French and Francophone Studies, DLCL Language Center, Stanford University, United States
California, United States

Alix Mazuet specializes in French cultural history of the long nineteenth century, with a concentration on the history of the book, libraries and practices of reading. She has a second area of expertise in Sub-Saharan postcolonial literatures and cultures. Mazuet relocated in California and teaches at Stanford University after having taught French and Francophone Studies as Associate Professor in the Department of Modern Languages at University of Central Oklahoma. She published articles and reviews on cultural recycling practices, the history of the book and libraries, transformations of the space of knowledge, and film adaptations of French novels.