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Narcissus Marsh

Narcissus Marsh

Hannington (Wiltshire) 1638 - Dublin 1713

Clergyman and scholar, Marsh studied at Oxford and was ordained in 1662. He became provost of Trinity College, Dublin in 1679 and Bishop of Ferns and Leighlin in 1683, but after the accession to the throne of James II he fled to England (1689). He returned to Ireland two years later, and was consecrated Archbishop of Cashel (1691), then Archbishop of Dublin (1694) and Archbishop of Armagh (1703), as well as being many times a Lord Justice of Ireland. He founded Marsh’s Library (1701), encouraged the study of the Irish language and helped found the Dublin Philosophical Society. His oriental manuscripts are kept at the Bodleian Library of Oxford.

Main works: Institutiones logicae (Dublin 1681); Introductory Essay to the Doctrine of Sounds (Oxford 1684).

Bibliography: N.J.D. White, Four good Men: Luke Challoner, Jeremy Taylor, Narcissus Marsh, Elias Bouhéreau, Dublin, Hodget Figgis & Co. 1927; M. Mc Carthy, Introduction, in Judaeo-Christian Intellectual Culture in the Seventeenth Century. A Celebration of the Library of Narcissus Marsh (1638-1713), A.P. Coudert, S. Hutton, R.H. Popkin, G.M. Weiner (eds.), Dordrecht, Kluver 1999, pp. VII-XX; Scholar Bishop: the Recollections and Diary of Narcissus Marsh, 1638-1696, ed. by R. Gillespie, Cork, Cork University Press 2003; L. Simonutti, Biblioteche anglicane del Sei-Settecento e filosofia d’Oltremanica, in Biblioteche filosofiche private in età moderna e contemporanea, Atti del Convegno di Cagliari, 21-23 aprile 2009, a cura di F.M. Crasta, Firenze, Le Lettere 2011, pp. 109-124.

Catalogus Librorum quos vir admodum Reverendus Narcissus Marsh, S.T.P. … Bibliothecæ publicæ, ipsius beneficentia ad Sanctum Sepulchrum Dublinii erecta Testamento legavit

Marsh’s Library, the first public library in Ireland (and one of Ireland’s oldest libraries), retains its original interior fittings. The four main collections (for a total of 25,000 volumes) include texts from the 16th, 17th and early 18th centuries; the largest of these is the Edward Stillingfleet collection (nearly 10,000 volumes), along with those of John Stearne (1660-1745), Bishop of Clogher, who left his books to Marsh’s Library in 1745, of Elias Bouhéreau, and of Marsh himself.
The library holds books in various languages, including Hebrew, Arabic, Turkish and Russian, and of many different fields and subjects, as well as about 300 manuscripts. Books and periodicals about the history of Ireland, printed in the last 100 years, are held in a separate section of the library.

The collection is divided into 14 thematic sections (A.3-O.3) and in subsections based on collocation (tabulae) and format. Within each tabula, volumes of varying formats are often listed one after another, and in many cases there are additions, anticipations, supplements and internal cross-references among the various sections.

Studies on the library: N.J.D. White, An Account of Archbishop Marsh’s Library, Dublin, Dublin, Hodges Figgis & Co. 1926; M. McCarthy, Marsh’s Library: All Graduates and Gentlemen, Dublin, The O’Brien Press 1980; The Making of Marsh’s Library: Learning, Politics and Religion in Ireland, 1650-1750, ed. by M. McCarthy and A. Simmons, Dublin, Four Courts Press 2004; M.M. Foot, The Decorated Bindings in Marsh’s Library, Dublin, Aldershot, Ashgate 2004.

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last modify: 2011-05-09 15:32:09