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The Jewel House - Harkness, Deborah E - Yale University Press
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The Jewel House

Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution

  • Deborah E. Harkness
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Out of Print.


Co-winner of the 2008 Pacific Coast Conference on British Studies Book Prize. 

Winner of the 2008 John Ben Snow Foundation Prize for the best book published in any discipline of British Studies covering the period from 1400-1800.

Winner of the Pfizer Prize for Best Book in the History of Science from 2005-2007, presented by the History of Science Society.

Highly commended for the 2008 Longman/History Today Book of the Year Award.

http://deborahharkness.com

Bestselling author Deborah Harkness (A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night) explores the streets, shops, back alleys, and gardens of Elizabethan London, where a boisterous and diverse group of men and women shared a keen interest in the study of nature. These assorted merchants, gardeners, barber-surgeons, midwives, instrument makers, mathematics teachers, engineers, alchemists, and other experimenters, she contends, formed a patchwork scientific community whose practices set the stage for the Scientific Revolution. While Francis Bacon has been widely regarded as the father of modern science, scores of his London contemporaries also deserve a share in this distinction. It was their collaborative, yet often contentious, ethos that helped to develop the ideals of modern scientific research.

 

The book examines six particularly fascinating episodes of scientific inquiry and dispute in sixteenth-century London, bringing to life the individuals involved and the challenges they faced. These men and women experimented and invented, argued and competed, waged wars in the press, and struggled to understand the complexities of the natural world. Together their stories illuminate the blind alleys and surprising twists and turns taken as medieval philosophy gave way to the empirical, experimental culture that became a hallmark of the Scientific Revolution.

 

Deborah E. Harkness is professor of history, University of Southern California. She is the author of John Dee’s Conversations with Angels: Cabala, Alchemy, and the End of Nature and of the New York Times bestseller A Discovery of Witches.

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