Tag Archives: Mapping the Republic of Letters

Mapping the Republic of Letters

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The purpose of this website is to foster conversation centered about case studies that vary in geographical range and time period while also considering the depth and opinion of said intellectuals. The Mapping of the Letters primarily focuses on the intersectionality of opinion and conversation. These case studies are categorized into three varying focuses, Correspondence, Publication and Travel respectively.


When I first entered the “Mapping the Republic of Letters” site I was overwhelmed by the image on the home page, as it allowed for the visualization of the “Republic of Letters.”  It is furthermore a narrative panorama that emphasizes the years of correspondence and it represents the various intellectuals involved in this particular community.

This particular resource tells us a few things about literature particularly in the context of technology. The site places emphasis on the fact that these individuals shared and received hand-written letters which is mostly due to technological constraints and distance. In order for this “Republic of Letters” to grow it was vital to expand correspondence to ensure that individuals nation-wide were informed of ideology. This site also pinpoints correspondence as the most important avenue to provide literature and information to individuals. To this end, the site indicates that letter writing serves as the basic structure in the development of literature. This allows me to raise two particular questions: What role does the digital era play in interrupting the age of letter writing? What is the advantage of writing a letter as opposed to sending a typed letter or email in this day and age?

It is difficult to determine the answers to the previously stated questions, however it is important to understand the variation in the intellectual community from the late 17 and 18 centuries in Europe and America to its present day representation.  I would definitely argue that a major distinction between the time periods is the emphasis on conversation as opposed to literature when sharing ideology. This resource serves to eradicate the notion that one cannot visualize the “Republic of Letters” while it also highlights the importance of literature in this particular time period as it created an environment of awareness and growth. To this end, I find it rather interesting in approach and I appreciate the knowledge it supplies.