Origins of Scientific Learning

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The papers in this volume contribute to the interdisciplinary study dramatic transformations in a wide array of human endeavors (political, artistic, literary, scientific and technological) in Early Modern Europe. All but one of the essays presented here are revised and extended versions of papers delivered at a conference sponsored by Binghamton University’s Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies in 2004 centered on the theme of “Science, Literature, and the Arts in the Medieval and Early Modern World”. This book contains five Black and White photographs and seven color photographs.


Preface by Jonathan Seitz
1 The Edges of Extension and the Limits of the Text: Leibniz, Materiality, and History - Daniel Selcer
2 The Holy Laws of Nature: Vallisneri, Antediluvian Men and the Flood - Michael Cunningham
3 Loathsome Beasts: Images of Reptiles and Amphibians in Art and Science - Kay Etheridge
4 Technocrat of Gunpowder and Cannon: Satan’s Mechanical Contrivances in Paradise Lost’s War in Heaven - Elizabeth Oldman
5 To Mine for Truth: The Metaphor of Mining in Francis Bacon’s The Great Instauration - Lauren Klein
6 Gender and Scientific Authority: Huarte de San Juan’s Examen de ingenios and Oliva Sabuco’s Nueva filosofia - Beatriz Cruz-Sotomayor
7 Building Gender into the Elizabethan Prodigy House - Sara L. French
8 ‘That Awful Throne:’ Donne, Behn, and the Culture of Dissection - Roberta Martin

Table of Contents

“The remarkable coverage of the essays in this volume is a testament to the broadening of Early Modern studies, and the productivity of interdisciplinary analyses of the period. The days of the history of science and medicine narrowly conceived as the internal history of ideas separated from the broader history of the period are, thankfully, past, and have been replaced by much richer conversations among historians, philosophers, literary scholars, art historians and other scholars. The increasing use of new histories of science and medicine by the broader Early Modernist community allows a fuller contextualization of art, literature and law, to take just a few of the topics presented in these pages. At the same time, new tools are brought to the analysis of scientific texts and ideas, recovering the role of women in medical debates, exposing the literary techniques of natural philosophers, and tracing the spread of “scientific” ideas and attitudes into the broader culture. . . . The authors here reveal the vibrancy of contemporary Early Modern studies, and the fruitfulness that methodological and disciplinary cross-fertilization yields. The essays serve as a reminder to expand one’s scholarly horizons beyond the sources, methods and topics of one’s own corner of history to embrace what can be learned about gender from architecture or technology from poetry.” - Jonathan Seitz, Instructor, History and Politics, Drexel University

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