Exotic Pleasures: Curious scientific and medical observations, Part 3

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Library of Renaissance Humanism, 1996 - Literary Collections - 219 pages
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This intriguing book is the definitive English translation of a mainstay of the Latin-based culture of the Renaissance.

Engelbert Kaempfer, referred to as "the Humboldt of the seventeenth century," was a German scholar and physician who devoted an entire decade to cultural and scientific explorations. Beginning in 1683 with his departure from Sweden, where he took a position as secretary to the Swedish Embassy, and ending with his arrival in Holland in 1693, Kaempfer traveled through Russia, Persia, Arabia, India, Java, Siam, and Japan. He published his master work, Amoenitates Exoticae, shortly before his death in 1716. This extensive work was divided into five fascicles: (1) the state of the Persian court; (2) historical and scientific reports and observations on various things; (3) curious scientific and medical observations; (4) botanical and historical reports concerning the cultivation of the date palm in Persia; and (5) Japanese plants.

Kaempfer, a researcher in both the humanities and the sciences, insisted on the primacy of reason and scientific methodology, both of which find solid confirmation in this book, the third fascicle of the five-fascicle work. His chapters include information on Persian mummy, the dracunculus worm on the coast of the Persian Gulf, snake dances of Eastern India, Chinese acupuncture, the history of Japanese tea, and the magic spells of the Makassars. As one of the major contributions of its time, Kaempfer’s detailed examinations, observations, and explanations offer insight and understanding into both cultural and historical contexts that would otherwise have been lost.

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The Scythian Lamb or the Borometz Fruit
The Torpedo of the Persian Gulf

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About the author (1996)

Robert W. Carrubba is provost and vice-chancellor at the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh and has published extensively on the poetry of Horace and on Kaempfer.

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