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Science and the Secrets of Nature: Books of Secrets in Medieval and Early Modern Culture / Edition 1
     

Science and the Secrets of Nature: Books of Secrets in Medieval and Early Modern Culture / Edition 1

by William Eamon
 

ISBN-10: 0691026025

ISBN-13: 9780691026022

Pub. Date: 05/13/1996

Publisher: Princeton University Press

By explaining how to sire multicolored horses, produce nuts without shells, and create an egg the size of a human head, Giambattista Della Porta's Natural Magic (1559) conveys a fascination with tricks and illusions that makes it a work difficult for historians of science to take seriously. Yet, according to William Eamon, it is in the "how-to" books written

Overview

By explaining how to sire multicolored horses, produce nuts without shells, and create an egg the size of a human head, Giambattista Della Porta's Natural Magic (1559) conveys a fascination with tricks and illusions that makes it a work difficult for historians of science to take seriously. Yet, according to William Eamon, it is in the "how-to" books written by medieval alchemists, magicians, and artisans that modern science has its roots. These compilations of recipes on everything from parlor tricks through medical remedies to wool-dyeing fascinated medieval intellectuals because they promised access to esoteric "secrets of nature." In closely examining this rich but little-known source of literature, Eamon reveals that printing technology and popular culture had as great, if not stronger, an impact on early modern science as did the traditional academic disciplines.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691026022
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
05/13/1996
Series:
Princeton Paperbacks Series
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
510
Product dimensions:
6.08(w) x 9.19(h) x 1.24(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations and Tables
Acknowledgments
Notes on Conventions and Usage
Introduction: Printing, Popular Culture, and the Scientific Revolution3
Pt. 1The Literature of Secrets13
1The Literature of Secrets in the Middle Ages15
2Knowledge and Power38
Pt. 2The Secrets of Nature in the Age of Printing91
3Arcana Disclosed93
4The Professors of Secrets and Their Books134
5Leonardo Fioravanti, Vendor of Secrets168
6Natural Magic and the Secrets of Nature194
7The Secrets of Nature in Popular Culture234
Pt. 3The "New Philosophy"267
8Science as a Venatio269
9The Virtuosi and the Secrets of Nature301
10From the Secrets of Nature to Public Knowledge319
Conclusion351
Appendix: Secreti Italiani: Italian Booklets of Secrets, ca. 1520-1643361
Abbreviations367
Notes369
Bibliography431
Index481

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