Wonder and Science

Wonder and Science

by Mary Baine Campbell


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Wonder and Science by Mary Baine Campbell

During the early modern period, western Europe was transformed by the proliferation of new worlds—geographic worlds found in the voyages of discovery and conceptual and celestial worlds opened by natural philosophy, or science. The response to incredible overseas encounters and to the profound technological, religious, economic, and intellectual changes occurring in Europe was one of nearly overwhelming wonder, expressed in a rich variety of texts. In the need to manage this wonder, to harness this imaginative overabundance, Mary Baine Campbell finds both the sensational beauty of early scientific works and the beginnings of the divergence of the sciences—particularly geography, astronomy, and anthropology—from the writing of fiction. Campbell's learned and brilliantly perceptive new book analyzes a cross section of texts in which worlds were made and unmade; these texts include cosmographies, colonial reports, works of natural philosophy and natural history, fantastic voyages, exotic fictions, and confessions. Among the authors she discusses are André Thevet, Thomas Hariot, Francis Bacon, Galileo, Margaret Cavendish, and Aphra Behn. Campbell's emphasis is on developments in England and France, but she considers works in languages other than English or French which were well known in the polyglot book culture of the time. With over thirty well-chosen illustrations, Wonder and Science enhances our understanding of the culture of early modern Europe, the history of science, and the development of literary forms, including the novel and ethnography.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801489181
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 03/15/2004
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Mary Baine Campbell is Professor of English at Brandeis University. She is the author of The Witness and the Other World: Exotic European Travel Writing, 400–1600, also from Cornell, in addition to two books of poetry.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
Part I Imagination and Discipline
2. Travel Writing and Ethnographic Pleasure: André Thevet and America, Part I
3. The Nature of Things and the Vexations of Art
Part II Alternative Worlds
4. On the Infinite Universe and the Innumerable Worlds
5. A World in the Moon: Celestial Fictions of Francis Godwin and Cyrano de Bergerac
6. Outside In: Hooke, Cavendish, and the Invisible Worlds
Part III
7. Anthropometamorphosis: Manners, Customs, Fashions, and Monsters
8. "My Travels to the Other World": Aphra Behn and Surinam
9: E Pluribus Unum: Lafita's Moeurs des sauvages amériquaians and Enlightenment Ethnology
Coda: The Wild Child

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