Herald of

Homo unius libri, or One Book Man: Evolution of a concept

Dushenko K.V.


Since the XVII century, in European culture exists the concept of «man of one book» (homo unius libri), as well as a number of sentences derived from it, first of all: «Beware of the man of one book!» It originally meant that true learning is achieved by reading a limited number of the most authoritative books, which must be studied thoroughly. Such a view was closely connected with the legacy of the scholastic system of education, and then with the aesthetics of classicism, which presupposed the adherence to a few, especially ancient examples. Subsequently, this attitude became more and more archaic. The concept of the «man of one book» was reinterpreted, acquiring a negative connotation: it is a limited man, with narrow views, or even a fanatic of one idea.


education; reading; erudition; Thomas Aquinas; Jeremy Taylor; Bento Pereira; John Wesley; I. Disraeli; Filippo Pananti.

DOI: 10.31249/hoc/2020.04.08

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