Bohemikální alba Amicorum ve fondech British Library
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BOHEMICAL ALBA AMICORUM IN THE BRITISH LIBRARY
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The early modern book of friends, album amicorum, or Stammbuch in German, arose at the onset of the Reformation as a form of communication at German universities associated with Luther and Melanchthon. In time, it reached the Calvinist and Catholic worlds, and even merchants, craftsmen, or members of magnate and royal courts. Yet the album's natural home remained at universities and other centers of higher education well into the seventeenth century. The essay on the Bohemical alba amicorum group at the London British Library has three chapters. Chapter One introduces the album amicorum and the existing research devoted to it. After sketching out the basic traits of the first and most popular Reformist model, the author explains its key concept: amicitia - friendship. In the second part, Chapter One introduces the British Library's extensive collection of alba amicorum that holds approximately five hundred artefacts. Chapter Two, Alba amicorum as a Bohemical Resource in the British Library Collection, forms the core of the essay. An extrapolation on Bohemical attributes is followed by comprehensive information on the British Library collection of 32 manuscripts that posses these attributes. The opening part of Chapter Two scans albums whose owners had ties to the Bohemian world; people involved in the Bohemian state politics, residents of Bohemia or Moravia, or other Czech nationals. The second part discusses albums whose owners did not come from Bohemian Lands but the albums themselves were written (in part) on Bohemian or Moravian soil. The Bohemian capital of Prague was popular with foreign visitors, particularly as the seat of Roman Emperor Rudolph II (1583-1611). The third section of Chapter Two accounts for the last group of Bohemical albums. Though their owners did not come from Bohemian Lands and the albums themselves were not written on Bohemian or Moravian soil, they had ties to the Bohemian world. Most originated at German or Western European academies or universities and are signed by the owners' Bohemian or Moravian fellow students. The essay's conclusions are briefly summed up in the third, and final, chapter. The study has four appendixes the first of those presents detailed information on all 32 manuscripts that served as a steppingstone for the essay.
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