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Mapping the Republic of Letters

The Republic of Letters was a loose knit and dynamic long-distance intellectual network that blossomed in the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe and the United States. Through the use of hand written correspondence, some of the greatest thinkers of England, France, Germany, Italy, and the United States stayed informed about the ideas that were shaping their worlds. Mapping the Republic of Letters, a joint project between the Stanford Humanities Center and its international partners, seeks to visually represent these interconnected webs of correspondence through interactive visualization tools. The video introduction on the homepage, a nicely produced three-minute series of interviews with some of the founders of the project, is a great place to start. Readers may also explore the narrative panorama that visually tracks correspondences across time and continents. The Case Studies are another great feature of the site. Here, readers will find a number of influential thinkers, such as Voltaire, Franklin, Galileo, and Locke.
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