Conclusion

There is no doubt about the fact that the library of the abbey of Clairvaux in 1472 represented a remarkable collection of an unequalled wealth.

The catalogue of 1472 was written during a crucial period of its history. The end of the Middle Ages marked the development of libraries connected to the University world and also the development of a constitution for marketing manuscript books. With well-known booksellers who employed copyists and illuminators, the monastery libraries which were so important during the XIIth century gradually fossilized and declined. The library of Clairvaux, in particular, avoided this pitfall because of its links with the university world and the beginnings of Humanism.

The appearance of printing techniques prodigiously increased and the production of books allowed very important collections to be built up in a few years.

If the catalogue of 1472 does not quote any printed books, they entered the collections of the library when the directory of Mathurin Cangey was written in 1520. It indicates that 2550 volumes (manuscripts and printed documents) were produced - and it does not cover the whole collection. It especially denotes that the library crossed the line into new technology and so overcame this hurdle.

We can admire this capacity to evolve. Finally, we must not forget that the center of the collection - manuscripts copied in the scriptorium of the abbey in the XIIth century - directly showed the importance of the thoughts and actions of Saint Bernard.