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New Worlds, Ancient Texts: The Power of Tradition and the Shock of Discovery

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Overview


Describing an era of exploration during the Renaissance that went far beyond geographic bounds, this book shows how the evidence of the New World shook the foundations of the old, upsetting the authority of the ancient texts that had guided Europeans so far afield. What Grafton recounts is a war of ideas fought by mariners, scientists, publishers, and rulers over a period of 150 years. In colorful vignettes, published debates, and copious illustrations, we see these men and their contemporaries trying to make sense of their discoveries as they sometimes confirm, sometimes contest, and finally displace traditional notions of the world beyond Europe.
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Editorial Reviews

Arion

Grafton is massively erudite and scrupulous as a scholar; at the same time he has command of a relaxed narrative style: his book about the reconfiguration of knowledge in Renaissance Europe is aimed at the general reader and no doubt finds its mark.
— Mary Baine Campbell

London Review of Books

Beautifully presented and delightful to read. Grafton's prose has a rare combination of qualities, smooth-flowing and hard-hitting...The concentrated power, the broad erudition, the impeccable aim which characterize Grafton's vignettes are enviable.
— Felipe Fernández-Armesto

New York Times Book Review

Grafton's book is about the identity of the Americas—an identity hewn out of intellectual conflict, just as much as military or political conflict.
— David McKitterick

Los Angeles Times Book Review

In his eloquent disquisition...Grafton demonstrates his mastery of the world of the Renaissance text and his skills as a historian of scholarship, scholarly processes, and intellectual debates.
— Larry Ceplair

New York Times Book Review - David McKitterick
Grafton's book is about the identity of the Americas--an identity hewn out of intellectual conflict, just as much as military or political conflict.
Los Angeles Times Book Review - Larry Ceplair
In his eloquent disquisition...Grafton demonstrates his mastery of the world of the Renaissance text and his skills as a historian of scholarship, scholarly processes, and intellectual debates.
London Review of Books - Felipe Fernández-Armesto
Beautifully presented and delightful to read. Grafton's prose has a rare combination of qualities, smooth-flowing and hard-hitting...The concentrated power, the broad erudition, the impeccable aim which characterize Grafton's vignettes are enviable.
Arion - Mary Baine Campbell
Grafton is massively erudite and scrupulous as a scholar; at the same time he has command of a relaxed narrative style: his book about the reconfiguration of knowledge in Renaissance Europe is aimed at the general reader and no doubt finds its mark.
New York Times Book Review
Grafton's book is about the identity of the Americas--an identity hewn out of intellectual conflict, just as much as military or political conflict.
— David McKitterick
Los Angeles Times Book Review
In his eloquent disquisition...Grafton demonstrates his mastery of the world of the Renaissance text and his skills as a historian of scholarship, scholarly processes, and intellectual debates.
— Larry Ceplair
London Review of Books
Beautifully presented and delightful to read. Grafton's prose has a rare combination of qualities, smooth-flowing and hard-hitting...The concentrated power, the broad erudition, the impeccable aim which characterize Grafton's vignettes are enviable.
— Felipe Fernández-Armesto
Arion
Grafton is massively erudite and scrupulous as a scholar; at the same time he has command of a relaxed narrative style: his book about the reconfiguration of knowledge in Renaissance Europe is aimed at the general reader and no doubt finds its mark.
— Mary Baine Campbell
Booknews
As part of its commemoration of the quincentenary of Columbus' voyage, the New York Public Library invited Grafton (history, Princeton) to explore its extensive archives on 16th- and 17th-century European thought, and to organize an exhibition and write a book tracing the transforming effects of the voyages of exploration upon European scholarship, learning, and culture from 1450 to 1700. Elegantly produced in an 8.25 x 9.5" format, with wide margins and black & white reproductions of book illustrations. Indexed by name only, which seems a deficiency. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674618763
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1995
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 296
  • Sales rank: 848,523
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Anthony Grafton is Henry Putnam University Professor of History at Princeton University.

April Shelford is a graduate student in history at Princeton University.

Nancy Siraisi is Distinguished Professor of History at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Timothy Healy

Introduction

1. A Bound World: The Scholar's Cosmos

2. Navigators and Conquerors: The Universe of the Practical Man

3. All Coherence Gone

4. Drugs and Diseases: New World Biology and Old World Learning

5. A New World of Learning

Epilogue

Notes

Bibliography

Illustration Sources

Acknowledgments

Index

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