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Linn Holmberg

College positions:
Visiting Fellow
History of Science and Ideas
Stockholm University

Dr Linn Holmberg

Linn Holmberg is an Associate Professor in History of Ideas at the Department of Culture and Aesthetics at Stockholm University.

She is also a Pro Futura Scientia XIV Fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS). Her research interests encompass book history, history of learning, and history of encyclopedism in early modern Europe. She currently writes a book on the eighteenth-century ‘dictionary craze’ and the debates it raised about learning and knowledge.

Holmberg earned her PhD in History of Science and Ideas from Umeå University, Sweden, in 2014. After completing her postdoctoral projects at Uppsala University and Stockholm University, she was appointed to the Pro Futura Scientia Programme in 2019, an international cutting-edge research programme for promising early-career scholars in the humanities and social sciences.

Holmberg’s interest in the history of encyclopedism took from during her PhD studies, when she examined the history of an unrealized encyclopedic enterprise in eighteenth-century Paris, which turned out to be an unknown rival of the famous Encyclopédie of Diderot and D’Alembert. In her postdoctoral projects, she explored encyclopedic endeavors in eighteenth-century Sweden, while showing how unfinished, failed, or somehow “stranded” texts can provide new and important insights to the history of learning and literature.

In her current research project, titled “Dictionary Craze: Transforming Knowledge across Early Modern Europe”, Holmberg studies the transnational process when the alphabetically organized reference work got its “big break” on European book markets, and the intellectual and practical consequences that followed in its wake. By analyzing reviews and letters in learned journals – published in five countries over 120 years (c. 1665–1789) – she charts out the intellectual debates that were provoked by the genre’s explosive rise in popularity, and above all, the fears and hopes that it raised about knowledge and learning.

Select publications

  • L. Holmberg, “Right and Wrong Ways of Knowing: The Dictionary Craze and Conflicts of Learning in Eighteenth-Century Europe”, 1700: Nordic Yearbook for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 20 (forthcoming, 2023).
  • L. Holmberg, ”Why Study Stranded Encyclopedias?”, in Stranded Encyclopedias, 1700–2000, ed. by L. Holmberg & Maria Simonsen (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021), 3–34.
  • L. Holmberg, “Stranded Encyclopedias in Eighteenth-century Sweden: Exploring the Rise of Alphabetical Encyclopedism’, in Stranded Encyclopedias, ed. by Holmberg & Simonsen, 99–135.
  • L. Holmberg & Staffan Bergwik, “Standing on Whose Shoulders? A Critical Comment on the History of Knowledge”, in Forms of Knowledge: Developing the History of Knowledge, ed. by Johan Östling et al (Nordic Academic Press, 2020), 283–299.
  • L. Holmberg, The Maurists’ Unfinished Encyclopedia, Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment (Voltaire Foundation, 2017).
  • L. Holmberg, The Forgotten Encyclopedia: the Maurists’ Unfinished Dictionary of Arts, Crafts, and Sciences, the Unrealized Rival of the Encyclopédie of Diderot and D’Alembert, diss. (Umeå University Press, 2014).

Select Awards

  • Pro Futura Scientia XIV Fellowship, 2020–2025.
  • Johan Nordström’s and Sten Lindroth’s prize for scholarly excellence in 2016
  • The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities’ award for prize-worthy dissertations in 2015

Further links