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Home > Catalog > Humanism, Machinery, and Renaissance Literature
Humanism, Machinery, and Renaissance Literature
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  • Page extent: 318 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.64 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 820.9/384
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: PR428.H8 W65 2004
  • LC Subject headings:
    • English literature--Early modern, 10-1700--History and criticism
    • England--Intellectual life--16th century
    • Humanism in literature
    • Machinery in literature
    • Mechanics in literature

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521831871 | ISBN-10: 0521831873)

  • Also available in Paperback
  • Published May 2004

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$103.00 (C)

Before the emergence of the modern concept of technology, sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century writers recognized the applicability of mechanical practices and objects to some of their most urgent moral, aesthetic, and political questions. This book explores how machinery and the practice of mechanics participated in the intellectual culture of Renaissance humanism. Harnessing the discipline of mechanics to their literary and philosophical concerns, writers (including Francis Bacon and Edmund Spenser) turned to machinery to consider instrumental means in a diverse range that spans rhetoric and pedagogy to diplomacy and courtly dissimulation.


Acknowledgements; Introduction: subtle devices: renaissance humanism and its machinery; 1. Automatopoesis: machinery and courtliness in renaissance Urbino; 2. Artificial motions: machinery, courtliness, and discipline in renaissance England; 3. Inanimate ambassadors: the mechanics and politics of mediation; 4. The polymechany of Gabriel Harvey; 5. Homer in a nutshell: Chapman and the mechanics of perspicuity; 6. Inhumanism: Spenser's iron man; Conclusion.

Prize Winner

CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title


"[T]his supple, subtle, wide-ranging study...merits the highest praise. [T]his is a very learned book, rich in uncommon lore from Italian and Latin sources but remarkably accessible nonetheless." E.D. Hill, Mount Holyoke College, Choice

"This engaging and thought-provoking book is an important contribution to our understanding of this concept in the Renaissance." Renaissance Quarterly

"This study is really very good. It is useful not simply to understand Gabriel Harvey and Edmund Spenser but also George Chapman, Sir Philip Sidney, Sir Francis Bacon and many more leading thinkers of the time..." - Chronique

"This book repays its reader at every turn." - Modern Philology

"Individual scholars interested in the idea of mechanism or the mechanical in the Renaissance, or more generally in history of our understanding of machines, will find it an extremely useful place to start or continue their studies …"
Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching

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