RDS Library & Archives

Willinsky, John, 1950-

The intellectual properties of learning : a prehistory from Saint Jerome to John Locke / John Willinsky. - xiv, 368 pages ; 24 cm

Includes bibliographical references (pages 325-360) and index.

The commonwealth of learning -- Monastery and school -- The medieval monastic paradox -- Learning in the early middle ages -- The patronage of medieval learning -- The learned turn of the high middle ages -- University and academy -- The translation movements of Islamic learning -- The medieval universities of Oxford and Paris -- Humanist revival -- Learned academies and societies -- Early modern Oxford and Cambridge -- Locke and property -- A theory of property -- An act for the encouragement of learning.

Providing a sweeping millennium-plus history of the learned book in the West, John Willinsky puts current debates over intellectual property into context, asking what it is about learning that helped to create the concept even as it gave the products of knowledge a different legal and economic standing than other sorts of property. Willinsky begins with Saint Jerome in the fifth century, then traces the evolution of reading, writing, and editing practices in monasteries, schools, universities, and among independent scholars through the medieval period and into the Renaissance. He delves into the influx of Islamic learning and the rediscovery of classical texts, the dissolution of the monasteries, and the founding of the Bodleian Library before finally arriving at John Locke, whose influential lobbying helped bring about the first copyright law, the Statute of Anne of 1710. Willinsky's bravura tour through this history shows that learning gave rise to our idea of intellectual property while remaining distinct from, if not wholly uncompromised by, the commercial economy that this concept inspired, making it clear that today's push for marketable intellectual property threatens the very nature of the quest for learning on which it rests. Copac



Locke, John, 1632-1704.
Jerome, Saint, -419 or 420.

University of Oxford--History.

Learning and scholarship--History.
Learned institutions and societies--History.
Universities and colleges--History.--Europe.


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