Description : Secrets played a central role in transformations in medical and scientific knowledge in early modern Europe. As a new fascination with novelty began to take hold from the late fifteenth century, Europeans thirsted for previously unknown details about the natural world: new plants, animals, and other objects from nature, new recipes for medical and alchemical procedures, new knowledge about the human body, and new facts about the way nature worked. These 'secrets' became popular items of commerce and trade, as the quest for new and exclusive bits of information met the vibrant early modern marketplace. Whether disclosed widely in print or kept more circumspect in manuscripts, secrets helped drive an expanding interest in acquiring knowledge throughout early modern Europe. Bringing together international scholars, this volume provides a pan-European and interdisciplinary overview on the topic. Each essay offers significant new interpretations of the role played by secrets in their area of specialization. Chapters address key themes in early modern history and the history of medicine, science and technology including: the possession, circulation and exchange of secret knowledge across Europe; alchemical secrets and laboratory processes; patronage and the upper-class market for secrets; medical secrets and the emerging market for proprietary medicines; secrets and cosmetics; secrets and the body and finally gender and secrets.
Description : Across early modern Europe, men and women from all ranks gathered medical, culinary, and food preservation recipes from family and friends, experts and practitioners, and a wide array of printed materials. Recipes were tested, assessed, and modified by teams of householders, including masters and servants, husbands and wives, mothers and daughters, and fathers and sons. This much-sought know-how was written into notebooks of various shapes and sizes forming “treasuries for health,” each personalized to suit the whims and needs of individual communities. In Recipes and Everyday Knowledge, Elaine Leong situates recipe knowledge and practices among larger questions of gender and cultural history, the history of the printed word, and the history of science, medicine, and technology. The production of recipes and recipe books, she argues, were at the heart of quotidian investigations of the natural world or “household science”. She shows how English homes acted as vibrant spaces for knowledge making and transmission, and explores how recipe trials allowed householders to gain deeper understandings of sickness and health, of the human body, and of natural and human-built processes. By recovering this story, Leong extends the parameters of natural inquiry and productively widens the cast of historical characters participating in and contributing to early modern science.
Description : Though Bartolomeo Scappi's Opera (1570), the first illustrated cookbook, is well known to historians of food, up to now there has been no study of its illustrations, unique in printed books through the early seventeenth century. In Food and Knowledge in Renaissance Italy, Krohn both treats the illustrations in Scappi's cookbook as visual evidence for a lost material reality; and through the illustrations, including several newly-discovered hand-colored examples, connects Scappi's Opera with other types of late Renaissance illustrated books. What emerges from both of these approaches is a new way of thinking about the place of cookbooks in the history of knowledge. Krohn argues that with the increasing professionalization of many skills and trades, Scappi was at the vanguard of a new way of looking not just at the kitchen-as workshop or laboratory-but at the ways in which artisanal knowledge was visualized and disseminated by a range of craftsmen, from engineers to architects. The recipes in Scappi's Opera belong on the one hand to a genre of cookery books, household manuals, and courtesy books that was well established by the middle of the sixteenth century, but the illustrations suggest connections to an entirely different and emergent world of knowledge. It is through study of the illustrations that these connections are discerned, explained, and interpreted. As one of the most important cookbooks for early modern Europe, the time is ripe for a focused study of Scappi's Opera in the various contexts in which Krohn frames it: book history, antiquarianism, and visual studies.
Description : Panaceia’s Daughters provides the first book-length study of noblewomen’s healing activities in early modern Europe. Drawing on rich archival sources, Alisha Rankin demonstrates that numerous German noblewomen were deeply involved in making medicines and recommending them to patients, and many gained widespread fame for their remedies. Turning a common historical argument on its head, Rankin maintains that noblewomen’s pharmacy came to prominence not in spite of their gender but because of it. Rankin demonstrates the ways in which noblewomen’s pharmacy was bound up in notions of charity, class, religion, and household roles, as well as in expanding networks of knowledge and early forms of scientific experimentation. The opening chapters place noblewomen’s healing within the context of cultural exchange, experiential knowledge, and the widespread search for medicinal recipes in early modern Europe. Case studies of renowned healers Dorothea of Mansfeld and Anna of Saxony then demonstrate the value their pharmacy held in their respective roles as elderly widow and royal consort, while a study of the long-suffering Duchess Elisabeth of Rochlitz emphasizes the importance of experiential knowledge and medicinal remedies to the patient’s experience of illness.
Description : Penury into Plenty: Dearth and the Making of Knowledge in Early Modern England is an original examination of cultural meanings of dearth and famine in England at the turn of the sixteenth century. It focuses on the socio-economic and ecological crises of the 1590s, investigating the effects of widespread fears of famine on mundane activities and knowledge making by analyzing the remedial measures undertaken by the early modern English to illustrate their commitment to resource management. The activities, theories, and publications of the prolific ‘dearth scientist’ Sir Hugh Platt are considered alongside other forms of literature such as sermons, plays, poetry and prose fiction to explain not only what dearth or famine meant in the period, but how contemporaries understood sustainable resource management. By drawing upon environmental, economic, scientific, and literary history and theory, Penury into Plenty allows modern readers to see that sustainability is not a wholly modern concept and the investigation of cultural forms of ecological consciousness and social consequences of past environmental change is vital for understanding contemporary concerns.
Description : This volume is a collection of essays that examines the practices and aims of science in the early modern Spanish and Portuguese empires (ca. 1500-1800), situating them in their historical, cultural, social, and political context.
Description : The period from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment constitutes a vital phase in the history of European medicine. This volume contains a selection of classical writing and up-to-date research in the field, and extracts from contemporary sources.
Description : With this sweeping reinterpretation of early cultural encounters between the English and American natives, Joyce E. Chaplin thoroughly alters our historical view of the origins of English presumptions of racial superiority, and of the role science and technology played in shaping these notions. By placing the history of science and medicine at the very center of the story of early English colonization, Chaplin shows how contemporary European theories of nature and science dramatically influenced relations between the English and Indians within the formation of the British Empire. In Chaplin's account of the earliest contacts, we find the English--impressed by the Indians' way with food, tools, and iron--inclined to consider Indians as partners in the conquest and control of nature. Only when it came to the Indians' bodies, so susceptible to disease, were the English confident in their superiority. Chaplin traces the way in which this tentative notion of racial inferiority hardened and expanded to include the Indians' once admirable mental and technical capacities. Here we see how the English, beginning from a sense of bodily superiority, moved little by little toward the idea of their mastery over nature, America, and the Indians--and how this progression is inextricably linked to the impetus and rationale for empire.
Description : The Gentleman, the Virtuoso, the Inquirer. Vincencio Juan de Lastanosa and the Art of Collecting in Early Modern Spain explores the history of the Aragonese Vincencio Juan de Lastanosa (1607-1682) as scientific collector: his cabinet of curiosities, the garden created in the enviroment of his palace, his chemical laboratory, and the books, manuscripts, maps and other curiosities collected in his library.At once a patron, courtier, and 'curioso', Lastanosa was deeply inmersed in the culture of 'virtuosity' and its fascination with the wonders and secrets of nature.Lastanosa was, perhaps, not a novator, and certainly no Baconian, but, like many others collectors of his day, in his own way he furthered the ideal of factuality that was of cardinal importance in the early stages of the Scientific Revolution.