Thursday, December 20, 2007

Galileo's Glassworks

Elly brought home Galileo’s Glassworks by Eileen Reeves this evening, a gift to me from John Haymon, the book buyer at the Nelson-Atkins Museum Store. John has a rare skill for selecting wonderful books, which is evident after perusing the book selection at the store for only a few moments. I was pleased and charmed by his gesture.

Eileen Reeves is Professor of Comparative Literature at Princeton University. Her book concerns the period between the invention of the telescope, in the Hague in 1608, and Galileo’s acquaintance with the instrument ten months later. Reeves “explores how and why information about the telescope was transmitted, suppressed, or misconstrued...and, more generally, shows how documents typically outside the scope [pun intended?] of early modern natural philosophy — medieval romances, travel literature, and idle speculations — relate to two crucial events in the history of science.” Sounds like fun!

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