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date: 26 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Leibniz’s network is a major subject of study in its own right, exemplifying the centrality of the ‘republic of letters’ to the intellectual history of early modern Europe.  Yet the primary reason for discussing it here is that understanding Leibniz’s network is also indispensable for understanding his thought.  Leibniz’s thought is not a fixed product, immortalized in a small number of polished publications.  Its content and expression evolved constantly in a long series of fragmentary statements, many penned in dialogue with contemporaries.  To understand these fragments, we must understand the hundreds of people with whom Leibniz was interacting, and the networks and communities for which they spoke.  Grasping the complexity of these interactions surpasses the limitations of print technology.  Obtaining a synoptic understanding of Leibniz’s network therefore requires a new generation of digital infrastructure capable of assembling and exploring the relevant data in a highly collaborative and interactive fashion.

Keywords: Leibniz, republic of letters, correspondence, networks, digital infrastructure, prosopography, visualisation

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