Galileo's Idol: Gianfrancesco Sagredo And The Politics Of Knowledge

Hardcover | November 27, 2014

byNick Wilding

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Galileo’s Idol offers a vivid depiction of Galileo’s friend, student, and patron, Gianfrancesco Sagredo (1571–1620). Sagredo’s life, which has never before been studied in depth, brings to light the inextricable relationship between the production, distribution, and reception of political information and scientific knowledge.
           
Nick Wilding uses as wide a variety of sources as possible—paintings, ornamental woodcuts, epistolary hoaxes, intercepted letters, murder case files, and others—to challenge the picture of early modern science as pious, serious, and ecumenical. Through his analysis of the figure of Sagredo, Wilding offers a fresh perspective on Galileo as well as new questions and techniques for the study of science. The result is a book that turns our attention from actors as individuals to shifting collective subjects, often operating under false identities; from a world made of sturdy print to one of frail instruments and mistranscribed manuscripts; from a complacent Europe to an emerging system of complex geopolitics and globalizing information systems; and from an epistemology based on the stolid problem of eternal truths to one generated through and in the service of playful, politically engaged, and cunning schemes.

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From the Publisher

Galileo’s Idol offers a vivid depiction of Galileo’s friend, student, and patron, Gianfrancesco Sagredo (1571–1620). Sagredo’s life, which has never before been studied in depth, brings to light the inextricable relationship between the production, distribution, and reception of political information and scientific knowledge.        ...

Nick Wilding is assistant professor in the Department of History at Georgia State University.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:232 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:November 27, 2014Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022616697X

ISBN - 13:9780226166971

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Introduction

1 The Generation and Dissolution of Images
2 Becoming a “Great Magneticall Man”
3 Drawing Weapons
4 Interceptions
5 Interconnections
6 Transalpine Messengers
7 Masks

Conclusion: Science, Intercepted

Acknowledgments
List of Abbreviations
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

“In Wilding’s hands, Sagredo becomes a window onto two overlapping worlds: the culture of European baroque science and that of the Venetian patriciate. In both cases we are treated to new, powerful, and surprising insights, not to mention unexpected evidence that most historians thought unavailable. Through Sagredo, we see Galileo at an angle that no previous study or biography has been able to capture, and we also watch the Venetian patriciate from the ground up, through the mundane daily practices that made that culture so unique. The locus of Galileo’s Idol is remarkably local—a few small islands in a lagoon—but the picture we see is quite different: a small insular community that is what it is because of its vast networks—not only military and commercial, but also networks of oral and printed communication. Through an emphasis on technologies of communications, Wilding demonstrates how much the Venetian patriciate and Galileo’s career were a result of media—both the production and circulation of books, manuscripts, notes, and gossip and their skilled and often subversive readings. Galileo’s Idol is detective work at its best, building new complex tableaux from newly found or noticed traces and indexes scattered far and wide. A must read for anybody interested in Galileo, early modern science, Venetian history, and Mediterranean studies.”