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Knowledge, Power and Nature 1500-1700 - Term 1 Week 4

Seminar Readings

Daston, Lorraine, Park, Katharine, Wonder and the Order of Nature (New York, 1998), Chapter 8: The Passion of Inquiry

Harrison, Peter, ‘Curiosity, Forbidden Knowledge and the Reformation of Natural Philosophy in Early Modern England’, @e-publications. Bond 2000. (online:

Smith, Pamela H., ‘Curing the Body Politic’: Chemistry and Commerce at Court, 1664-70’, in Patronage and Institutions: Science, Technology, and Medicine at the European Court 1500-1750, ed. by Bruce Moran (Rochester, 1991), pp. 195-209.

Seminar/Essay Questions:

  • ‘The history of modern knowledge is a history of replacing wonder with curiosity’. Discuss.

  • ‘To understand the history of the science we have to take economic considerations into account’. Discuss.

Further Reading

Benedict, Barbara, Curiosity: A Cultural History of Early Modern Inquiry (Chicago, 2001).

Daston, Lorraine, ‘Curiosity in Early Modern Science,’ Word and Image, 1995, 11:391-404 (electronic resources online).

Debus, Allen G., Man and Nature in the Renaissance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978), Chapter: The Chemical Key, pp. 33.

Evans, R.W and Marr, Alexander (eds.), Curiosity and Wonder from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment (Aldershot, 2006).

Henry, John, Knowledge & Power: How Magic, the Government and an Apocalyptic Vision Inspired Francis Bacon to Create Modern Science (Cambridge, 2002).

Gaukroger, Stephen, Francis Bacon and the Transformation of Early-Modern Philosophy. (Cambridge University Press, 2001).

Jardine, Lisa, Steward, Allan, Hostage to Fortune: the Troubled Life of Francis Bacon (1999).

Morgan, John, Godly Learnings: Puritan Attitudes towards Reason, Learning and Education, 1560-1640 (Cambridge, 1986).

Ravetz. J.R. ‘Francis Bacon and the Reform of Natural Philosophy’, in Science, Medicine, and Society in the Renaissance: Essays in Honour of Walter Pagel, 2 vols. ed. by Allen G. Debus (New York: History Publications, 1972), pp. 97-119.

Wormland, B. H.G., Francis Bacon: History, Politics, and Science, 1561-1626 (Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1994).