Urban Achievement in Early Modern Europe: Golden Ages in Antwerp, Amsterdam and London

Overview

This innovative work in comparative urban history explores why outstanding achievements in material and intellectual culture in early modern Europe tended to cluster in certain maritime cities. Patrick O'Brien, his coeditors and eighteen distinguished historians from Belgium, the Netherlands, Britain, and North America, have collaborated to compare economic, architectural, artistic, publishing and scientific achievements in three European cities during their golden ages: Antwerp (c. 1492-1585), Amsterdam (c. ...

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Overview

This innovative work in comparative urban history explores why outstanding achievements in material and intellectual culture in early modern Europe tended to cluster in certain maritime cities. Patrick O'Brien, his coeditors and eighteen distinguished historians from Belgium, the Netherlands, Britain, and North America, have collaborated to compare economic, architectural, artistic, publishing and scientific achievements in three European cities during their golden ages: Antwerp (c. 1492-1585), Amsterdam (c. 1585-1659) and London (c. 1660-1730). This study offers fascinating insights to scholars and students of economic, social and cultural history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...[an] useful and interesting book of essays that are, in their own right, uniformly knowledgeable, clearly written and eminently readable. There is a great deal here to admire and savor..." Bryn Mawr Review of Comparative Literature

"All of the essays are...useful to general audiences, as well as to specialists in the sub-field of early modern urban history." Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"...a superb overview of current work on early modern cultural history." Christopher P. Heuer, Historians of Netherlandish Art

"This is a good book where the individual chapters all manifest high quality scholarship and the overall realization is successful." American Historical Review

"This collection of essays presents some of the best current scholarship on each of the three cities during the early modern period, and is crucial reading for both specialists and for those interested in a comparative urban history in a more general sense." Sixteenth Century Journal

"...well thought-out and finely executed volume...this is an unusually rich and thought-provoking collection of essays, and will doubtless prove of interest to an exceptionally wide range of readers." Renaissance Quarterly

"This highly informative, well prepared, and coherent collection is recommended to all students of early modern business history. May it open up a new field of comparative golden-age studies." Business History Review

"[O'Brien] poses basic questions with refreshing openness, advances ideas but does not proscribe answers. His introduction is noteworthy for setting context and spinning ideas instead of merely summarizing papers...The authors of the fifteen essays are all experts who deliver important chapters." Journal of Modern History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521088879
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/30/2008
  • Pages: 376
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

PATRICK O'BRIEN is Centennial Professor of Economic History at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Convenor of the Programme in Global History at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London.

MARJOLEIN 'T HART is Lecturer in Social and Economic History at the University of Amsterdam.

DEREK KEENE is Director of the Centre for Metropolitan History at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London. He has published extensively on cities, metropolises and their hinterlands between the seventh and nineteenth centuries.

BARON HERMAN VAN DER WEE is Emeritus Professor of Social and Economic History at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium.

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Table of Contents

Part 1. Introduction: 1. Reflexions and mediations on three cities as sources and sites for achievement Patrick O'Brien; Part II. Economic Growth and Demographic Change: 2. Economies of Agglomeration and the Golden Age of Antwerp Michael Limberger; 3. Clusters of achievement: the economy of Amsterdam in its Golden Age Clé Lesger; 4. The economy of London, 1660–1730 Peter Earle; Part III. Architecture and Urban Space: 5. One of the largest cities in the low countries; One of the best fortified in Europe Piet Lombaerde; 6. The glorious city: monumentalism and public space in seventeenth century Amsterdam Marjeolin 't Hart; 7. Architecture and urban space in London Judy Loach; Part IV. Fine and Decorative Arts: 8. The fine and decorative arts in Antwerp's Golden Age Hans Vlieghe; 9. The rise of Amsterdam as a cultural centre: the market for paintings, 1580–1680 Marten Jan Bok; 10. Cultural production and import substitution: the fine and decorative arts in London, 1660–1730 David Ormrod; Part V. Books and Publishing: 11. Antwerp: books, publishing and cultural production before 1585 Werner Waterschoot; 12. Metropolis of print: the Amsterdam book trade in the seventeenth century Paul Hoftijzer; 13. Printing, publishing and reading in London, 1660–1720 Adrian Johns; Part VI. Scientific and Useful Knowledge: 14. Science for sale: the metropolitan stimulus for scientific achievements in sixteenth century Antwerp Geert Vanpaemel; 15. Amsterdam as a centre of Dutch learning in the Dutch Golden Age Karel Davids; 16. Philosophers in the counting-houses: commerce, coffee-houses and experiment in early modern London Larry Stewart.

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