Speaking of Lilliput? Recollections on the Warburg Institute in the early 1970s

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This essay, part of a special issue on the Warburg Institute and Library, offers personal recollections of scholars whom the author encountered there as a student in the early 1970s, including E. H. Gombrich, Otto Kurz, Michael Baxandall, Frances Yates, D. P. Walker, A. I. Sabra, Michael Podro, Michael Screech, Arnaldo Momigliano, and Nikolaus Pevsner. The author's focus is on differences between the milieu of the Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg, as it had been in Hamburg, and the ethos of the Warburg Institute in London. The key document for establishing this contrast is an anonymous review - by Edgar Wind - attacking Gombrich's biography of Aby Warburg, which was published in 1970. Wind found the new Warburg circle "Lilliputian" in comparison with the old Hamburg circle, to which he had belonged. This essay disputes Wind's finding, based on its author's own experience, as well as on his sympathy with the reasoned empirical approach of Gombrich, Baxandall, and others at the London Warburg to issues that Aby Warburg had raised when the Library was in Germany.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-173
Number of pages14
JournalCommon Knowledge
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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