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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.Read more
- A subtle rethinking of the relationship between humanistic and scientific culture during the Renaissance
- Sheds light on these issues through a genuinely interdisciplinary approach, the book uses literary history, intellectual history, history of science, and history of art
- This book will be of interest to literary, cultural and scientific historians alike
Reviews & endorsements
"[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, ChoiceSee more reviews
"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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- Date Published: May 2004
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9780521831871
- length: 318 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 22 mm
- weight: 0.64kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
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
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