Wonder and Science: Imagining Worlds in Early Modern Europe

Front Cover
Cornell University Press, 1999 - History - 366 pages
0 Reviews
During the early modern period, western Europe was transformed by the proliferation of new worlds -- geographic worlds found in the voyages of discovery and conceptual and celestial worlds opened by natural philosophy, or science. The response to incredible overseas encounters and to the profound technological, religious, economic, and intellectual changes occurring in Europe was one of nearly overwhelming wonder, expressed in a rich variety of texts. In the need to manage this wonder, to harness this imaginative overabundance, Mary Baine Campbell finds both the sensational beauty of early scientific works and the beginnings of the divergence of the sciences -- particularly geography, astronomy, and anthropology -- from the writing of fiction.

Campbell's learned and brilliantly perceptive new book analyzes a cross section of texts in which worlds were made and unmade; these texts include cosmographies, colonial reports, works of natural philosophy and natural history, fantastic voyages, exotic fictions, and confessions. Among the authors she discusses are Andre Thevet, Thomas Hariot, Francis Bacon, Galileo, Margaret Cavendish, and Aphra Behn. Campbell's emphasis is on developments in England and France, but she considers works in languages other than English or French which were well known in the polyglot book culture of the time.

With over thirty well-chosen illustrations, Wonder and Science enhances our understanding of the culture of early modern Europe, the history of science, and the development of literary forms, including the novel and ethnography.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Introduction
1
IMAGINATION AND DISCIPLINE
16
Pleasure
26
The Isles of André Thevet
44
The Nature of Things and the Vexations of Art
69
ALTERNATIVE WORLDS
111
Imaginary Gardens Real Toads
155
Cyrano de Bergerac s Other World
171
Exposed Excised Experienced
272
Fiction Science and Agency
278
Lafitau s Moeura d4 auvagu
285
La Religion influoit en tout
293
Torture
299
Psalmanazar Formosa and the Other Self 510
310
The Wild Child 519
319
Works Cited
325

1Iooke Cavendish and the Invisible Worlds
181
THE ARTS OF ANTHROPOLOGY
221
Antbrapanwtamorpboazi r
250
Index 555
353
Copyright

About the author (1999)

Mary Baine Campbell is Associate Professor of English at Brandeis University.

Bibliographic information