Journal of Jesuit Studies
The geographical and chronological spread of topics in this thematic issue of the Journal of Jesuit Studies is the result of a mandate to give coverage to both pre- and post-suppression research, around the globe, on Jesuit libraries and printing, in a total of six or seven articles. As this is no small task, a great deal of information is missing from the volume. I began with the premise that the subjects and regions which have received the most coverage over the previous two decades should be excluded: therefore, there is no article on Argentina, China, France, Hungary, Italy, Spain, or the United States. Within these geographical limitations, I hoped to highlight topics which are less familiar to the Anglophone world and which are rarely considered together: Ethiopian and Croatian colleges; Japanese printing and Canadian library science; Venezuelan missions and Lebanese scholarly journals; censorship in Ethiopia and expansion of access to information in Lebanon; dispersal of Japanese books and collection of Canadian books; the beginnings of literacy in the Orinoco delta and twentieth-century wars in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. The purpose of the collection is decidedly not to hold up such a diverse list of subjects and their possible relationships to each other as key to understanding Jesuit libraries and book production and use around the world from 1540 to the present. It is, instead, to open up a conversation, to honor the Jesuits’ historical commitment to globalism, and to advance the historical understanding of libraries, librarianship, book production, and book collection. What the authors of these articles and I hope to accomplish, in other words, is a broader understanding of the function of the printed word in Jesuit communities in different parts of the globe, and to gather together information on these diverse regions over time to begin understanding what might be called a Jesuit “way of proceeding” in collecting and using books.
Comerford, Kathleen M..
"Jesuits and Their Books: Libraries and Printing around the World."
Journal of Jesuit Studies, 2 (2): 179-188.