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Polished Cornerstones of the Temple: Queenly Libraries of the Enlightenment (British Library - Panizzi Lectures)

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Based on the Panizzi Lectures given in the British Library in November 2004, The Polished Cornerstones of the Temple examines the impact of women's educational projects on female reading and book collecting in the royal courts of the eighteenth century.

Because monarchs are international figures who also provide a behaviour-model for their national subjects; they make excellent case-studies for observing particular national patterns within the wider context of European written culture. The main part of the study is devoted to exploring the libraries of two queens: Caroline of Ansbach (1638-1727), wife of George II, and Elizabeth Farnese (1692-1766), wife of Philip V. By comparing and contrasting their two great collections, author Maria Luisa Lopez-Vidriero moves beyond Protestant-Catholic intellectual and religious differences and begins to define a European eighteenth-century female literary canon.

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