British Weather and the Climate of Enlightenment

British Weather and the Climate of Enlightenment

by Jan Golinski
Pub. Date:
University of Chicago Press


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British Weather and the Climate of Enlightenment

Enlightenment inquiries into the weather sought to impose order on a force that had the power to alter human life and social conditions. British Weather and the Climate of Enlightenment reveals how a new sense of the national climate emerged in the eighteenth century from the systematic recording of the weather, and how it was deployed in discussions of the health and welfare of the population. Enlightened intellectuals hailed climate’s role in the development of civilization but acknowledged that human existence depended on natural forces that would never submit to rational control.

Reading the Enlightenment through the ideas, beliefs, and practices concerning the weather, Jan Golinski aims to reshape our understanding of the movement and its legacy for modern environmental thinking. With its combination of cultural history and the history of science, British Weather and the Climate of Enlightenment counters the claim that Enlightenment progress set humans against nature, instead revealing that intellectuals of the age drew characteristically modern conclusions about the inextricability of nature and culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226302058
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 07/01/2007
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Jan Golinski is professor of history and humanities at the University of New Hampshire and the author of Making Natural Knowledge, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations     ix
Preface     xi
Introduction: Weather and Enlightenment     1
Experiencing the Weather in 1703: Observation and Feelings     13
The "Exquisite Atmography" and Its Author
The Atmosphere and the Earth
Clouds in the Head
Public Weather and the Culture of Enlightenment     41
The Great Storm in Public Debate
Providence and the British Climate
Conversation and Weather Lore
Recording and Forecasting     77
The Discipline of the Diary
The Calendar and the Seasons
Forecasting by the Heavens
Barometers of Enlightenment     108
The Genealogy of Weather Instruments
The Instrument Trade and Consumers
Interpreting the "Oraculous Glasses "
Sensibility and Climatic Pathology     137
The Hippocratic Revival
Aerial Sensitivity and Social Change
The Politics of Atmospheric Reform
Climate and Civilization     170
The Enlightenment Debate on Climate
Medicine and the Colonial Situation
America: Climate and Destiny
Conclusion: The Science of Weather     203
Notes     217
Bibliography     241
Index     269

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