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Intellectual and Technological Change

| Discussion topics | Documents | Reading | Audio

Discussion topics and Essay Questions

· How difficult was it to change traditional perceptions of the shape and working of the physical world in this period?
· To what extent was intellectual change dependent on social and economic developments in the period?


**NOTE: Some eresources are accessible only on-campus or via off-campus proxies or the athens service**





·Andrea Vesalius, De Humani Corporis Fabrica (1543, 1555)
·Index of Prohibited Books from the Roman Office of the Inquisition, (1559)
·Nicholas Copernicus: Dedication of The Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies, (1543)
·Réne Descartes (1596-1650): Discourse on the Method (1637), extracts
·The Crime of Galileo: Indictment (1633)


Turning the Pages: A British Library online exhibition containing Leonardo's Notebook, Mercator's Atlas, Vesalius' Fabrica, Luttrell Psalter and the Sherbourne Missal.
Sir Isaac Newton: links to biographical and scientific information sources.

·Leonardo da Vinci, Multi Barrel Gun (1480-82)
·Leonardo da Vinci, Vitruvian Man
·Albrecht Durer, Astronomer (1500)
·Albrecht Durer, Draughtsman Drawing a Recumbent Woman (1525)
·Francis Bacon
·Hans Hoffman, A Hare (1528)
·Andrea Vesalius, De Humani Corporis Fabrica, Skeleton
·Andrea Vesalius, De Humani Corporis Fabrica, Title page: Anatomy Theatre
·Nicholas Copernicus, Heliocentric System


Survey Texts

  • P. Dear, Revolutionizing the Sciences : European Knowledge and Its Ambitions, 1500-1700 (2001).
  • J. Henry, The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science (2002).
  • T. Khun, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1970/1996).
  • S. Shapin, The Scientific Revolution (1996).
  • H. Butterfield. The Origins of Modern Science, 1300-1800 (1957).

Secondary Literature

  • A. Barrera-Osorio, Experiencing Nature : The Spanish American Empire and the Early Scientific Revolution (2006).
  • R. Briggs, The Scientific Revolution of the Seventeenth Century (1969).
  • H. J. Cook, Matters of Exchange : Commerce, Medicine, and Science in the Dutch Golden Age (2007).
  • L. Daston, and K. Park (eds),The Cambridge History of Science. Vol. 3 Early Modern Science. (2006).
  • L. Daston, and F. Vidal, The Moral Authority of Nature (2004).
  • P. Dear, 'Totius in Verba : Rhetoric and Authority in the Early Royal Society', ISIS 76 no. 2 (1985), pp. 144-161.
  • J. Delbourgo and N. Dew (eds), Science and Empire in the Atlantic World (2008).
  • R. Evans, and A. Marr (eds),Curiosity and Wonder from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. (2006).
  • J. Golinski, Making Natural Knowledge: Constructivism and the History of Science (2005).
  • A. Grafton, Defenders of the Text : The Traditions of Scholarship in an Age of Science, 1450-1800 (1991).
  • S. Greenblatt, Marvelous Possessions : The Wonder of the New World (1991).
  • M. B. Hall, The Scientific Renaissance, 1450-1630 (1962).
  • J. Henry, Knowledge Is Power : Francis Bacon and the Method of Science (2002).
  • L. Jardine, Ingenious Pursuits : Building the Scientific Revolution (1999).
  • H. F. Kearney, Science and Change : 1500-1700 (1971/1976).
  • D. C. Lindberg, and R. S. Westman (eds), Reappraisals of the Scientific Revolution (1990).
  • M. Lindemann, Medicine and Society in Early Modern Europe (1999/2010).
  • D. S. Lux, and H. J. Cook, 'Closed Circles or Open Networks?: Communicating at a Distance During the Scientific Revolution', History of Science 36 v. 112 (1998), pp. 179-211.
  • C. Merchant, '"The Violence of Impediments": Francis Bacon and the Origins of Experimentation', ISIS 99 no. 4 (2008), pp. 731-760.
  • B. T. Moran, Distilling Knowledge : Alchemy, Chemistry, and the Scientific Revolution (2005).
  • B. T. Moran (ed.),Patronage and Institutions : Science, Technology, and Medicine at the European Court, 1500-1750. (1991).
  • B. W. Ogilvie, The Science of Describing : Natural History in Renaissance Europe (2006).
  • M. Oster, Science in Europe, 1500-1800 : A Secondary Sources Reader (2001).
  • M. Oster, Science in Europe, 1500-1800 : A Primary Sources Reader (2002).
  • M. Poovey, A History of the Modern Fact: Problems of Knowledge in the Sciences of Wealth and Society (1998).
  • L. Schiebinger, and C. Swan (eds), Colonial Botany : Science, Commerce, and Politics in the Early Modern World (2007).
  • J. A. Secord, 'Knowledge in Transit', ISIS 95 no. 4 (2004), pp. 654-672.
  • P. H. Smith, and P. Findlen (eds.),Merchants & Marvels : Commerce, Science and Art in Early Modern Europe. (2002).
  • A. Wear, Knowledge and Practice in English Medicine, 1550-1680 (2000).
  • C. Ginzburg, “High and Low: The Theme of Forbidden Knowledge in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries,” Past and Present 73 (1976): 28-41. JSTOR
  • R. M. Bell, How to Do It: Guides to Good Living for Renaissance Italians (Chicago, 1999).
  • W. Eamon, "How to read a book of secrets", in Elaine Leong and Alisha Rankin (eds), Secrets and knowledge in medicine and science, 1500-1800 (Farnham, UK, 2011), pp. 23-46.
  • W. Eamon, Science and the Secrets of Nature. Books of Secrets in Medieval and Early Modern Culture (Princeton, NJ, 1994).
  • W. Eamon, The Professor of Secrets: Mystery, Medicine and Alchemy in Renaissance Italy (Washington D.C., 2010).
  • S. Kusukawa, "Illustrating Nature", in Marina Frasca-Spada and Nick Jardine (eds), Books and the Sciences in History (Cambridge, 2000), 90-113.
  • A. Kavey, Books of Secrets: Natural Philosophy in England. 1550-1600· (Urbana, IL, 2007).
  • E. Leong and S. Pennell, 'Recipe Collections and the Currency of Medical Knowledge in the Early Modem "Medical Marketplace''', in Mark S.R. Jenner and Patrick Wells (eds), Medicine and the Market in England and its Colonies, c. 1450--c. 1850, (London, 2007).
  • D. Gentilcore, Medical Charlatanism in Early Modern Italy (Oxford, 2006).
  • A. Johns, The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Making (Chicago, 1998).
  • B. Capp, Astrology and the Popular Press: English Almanacs, 1500-1800 (London, 2008).


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Primary Documents: Renaissance, Reformation and Early Modern Germany

The Galileo Project

Images of Copernicus

Descartes' Theory of Vision 1644

William Harvey 1578-1657