Notebooks, English Virtuosi, And Early Modern Science

Hardcover | March 1, 2014

byRichard Yeo

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In Notebooks, English Virtuosi, and Early Modern Science, Richard Yeo interprets a relatively unexplored set of primary archival sources: the notes and notebooks of some of the leading figures of the Scientific Revolution. Notebooks were important to several key members of the Royal Society of London, including Robert Boyle, John Evelyn, Robert Hooke, John Locke, and others, who drew on Renaissance humanist techniques of excerpting from texts to build storehouses of proverbs, maxims, quotations, and other material in personal notebooks, or commonplace books. Yeo shows that these men appreciated the value of their own notes both as powerful tools for personal recollection, and, following Francis Bacon, as a system of precise record keeping from which they could retrieve large quantities of detailed information for collaboration.
           
The virtuosi of the seventeenth century were also able to reach beyond Bacon and the humanists, drawing inspiration from the ancient Hippocratic medical tradition and its emphasis on the gradual accumulation of information over time. By reflecting on the interaction of memory, notebooks, and other records, Yeo argues, the English virtuosi shaped an ethos of long-term empirical scientific inquiry.

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In Notebooks, English Virtuosi, and Early Modern Science, Richard Yeo interprets a relatively unexplored set of primary archival sources: the notes and notebooks of some of the leading figures of the Scientific Revolution. Notebooks were important to several key members of the Royal Society of London, including Robert Boyle, John Evely...

Richard Yeo is adjunct professor in the School of Humanities, Griffith University, Australia, and a fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Defining Science and Encyclopaedic Visions. He lives in Brisbane, Australia.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:384 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.3 inPublished:March 1, 2014Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022610656X

ISBN - 13:9780226106564

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Editorial Notes

Preface

1. Introduction

2. Capacious Memory and Copious Notebooks

3. Information and Empirical Sensibility

4. Taking Notes in Samuel Hartlib’s Circle

5. Rival Memories: John Beale and Robert Boyleon Empirical Information

6. Robert Boyle’s Loose Notes

7. John Locke, Master Note-taker

8. Collective Note-taking and Robert Hooke’s Dynamic Archive

9. Conclusion

Acknowledgments

Notes

Manuscript Sources

Bibliography

Index

Editorial Reviews

“Yeo has written a learned, lively, and provocative book. He shows us that the English virtuosi of the seventeenth century—long famed as the creators of a new method for studying the natural world—learned their ways of capturing, storing, and accessing observations of nature from erudite humanists, who had devised them for making excerpts from books. Two hundred years and more into the age of print, a cultivated memory and a carefully cultivated set of notebooks remained as central to the practices of many innovative natural philosophers as they had been to those of scholars like Petrarch and Erasmus. Yet, as Yeo also makes clear, these virtuosi compiled and understood their records in novel ways. In building their sets of data, Robert Hooke and others came to see the study of nature as a long-term enterprise, necessarily disciplined and collaborative—and to envision notebooks not only as an aid to memory and reflection, but also as part of a formal archive that would grow and change and serve the creation of new theories for generations to come.”