03 Mar 15

Using examples from encyclopedic scholars Reich and Oviedo to underscore his argument that Renaissance encyclopedism “oscillates between a conservative, retrospective memorious pole and a more heuristic, progressive inventive pole,” Christopher D. Johnson stresses that these shifts in encyclopedism in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries helped to cultivate the modern encyclopedic impulse, evidenced by the role encyclopedism has played in the history of the novel (accompanying on occasion satire, comedy and even dystopia) as well as the work of Francis Bacon and the Encyclopédie. He points to how the development of Wikipedia and other digital open-access encyclopediae has become synonymous with the encyclopaedic impulse, reinventing and reanimating both the idealism and the pathos of Renaissance encyclopedism.