Before research universities and disciplinary colloquia, scholars depended largely on correspondence networks for the dissemination and exchange of ideas. These informal communities, collectively known as the Republic of Letters, pose considerable challenges to the modern historian, as their contours blur and shift over time. With the help of advanced visualization techniques, this project is literally “mapping” the Republic of Letters, by plotting the geographic data for the senders and receivers of correspondences. These maps will allow researchers to perceive the larger patterns of intellectual exchange in the early-modern world and raise new questions about the importance of places, nations, and cities, in the circulation of knowledge.
To visit the Republic of Letters, click on the map above or follow this link: