Galileo's Idol: Gianfrancesco Sagredo and the Politics of Knowledge

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University of Chicago Press, Nov 27, 2014 - Biography & Autobiography - 200 pages
Galileo’s Idol offers a vivid depiction of Galileo’s friend, student, and patron, Gianfrancesco Sagredo (1571–1620). Sagredo’s life, which has never before been studied in depth, brings to light the inextricable relationship between the production, distribution, and reception of political information and scientific knowledge.

Nick Wilding uses as wide a variety of sources as possible—paintings, ornamental woodcuts, epistolary hoaxes, intercepted letters, murder case files, and others—to challenge the picture of early modern science as pious, serious, and ecumenical. Through his analysis of the figure of Sagredo, Wilding offers a fresh perspective on Galileo as well as new questions and techniques for the study of science. The result is a book that turns our attention from actors as individuals to shifting collective subjects, often operating under false identities; from a world made of sturdy print to one of frail instruments and mistranscribed manuscripts; from a complacent Europe to an emerging system of complex geopolitics and globalizing information systems; and from an epistemology based on the stolid problem of eternal truths to one generated through and in the service of playful, politically engaged, and cunning schemes.
 

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User Review  - JBD1 - LibraryThing

A nicely-handled microhistory, looking at the publication of Galileo's Sidereus Nuncius with what Wilding calls "raking light," placing the book into interesting and unexpected contexts. A slim book, but one which rewards slow, careful reading. Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
1 The Generation and Dissolution of Images
6
2 Becoming a Great Magneticall Man
20
3 Drawing Weapons
38
4 Interceptions
50
5 Interconnections
72
6 Transalpine Messengers
89
7 Masks
117
Science Intercepted
136
Acknowledgments
139
List of Abbreviations
143
Notes
145
Bibliography
179
Index
193
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About the author (2014)

Nick Wilding is assistant professor in the Department of History at Georgia State University.

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