Elizabeth Baigent (University of Oxford)
At the Intersection of the Mind and the Military: Travelling Knowledges, Statecraft, and Cartography in Sweden’s Geometriska Jordebökerna during her Age of Greatness

Gustav II Adolf (Gustavus Adolphus, reg. 1611–32) instituted a remarkable era of large-scale mapping in Sweden’s home and imperial territories, with the main phase of surveying and mapping being carried out from 1633 to 1655 under Axel Oxenstierna, his adviser, who was also regent after his death. This cartographic initiative was unprecedented at home or abroad and produced a legacy not only of striking ‘geometrical’ (cadastral) maps, but also of Europe’s first state mapping agency whose work continues today. It came about at the intersection of the demands of war (Gustav Adolf’s reign was characterised by almost incessant warfare, notably The Thirty Years’ War) and of the intellectual flowering of Sweden in its Stormaktstid or Age of Greatness. It depended on ‘travelling knowledges’, a cross fertilisation of European technologies and ideologies, a vision of statecraft which transcended political boundaries, and a culture of innovation in the service of the state.

This paper explores the circulation of cartographic knowledges in Europe during the Thirty Years’ War, embodied in cartographic and military personnel and their practices, and made concrete in manuscript and printed maps. It explores impetuses and barriers to mapping and how much mapping owed to the intellectual fecundity of individual agents and how much to the establishment of institutions with a prescribed mission. It examines how the geometriska jordebökerna project intersected with pre-existing intellectual geographies and how much it changed them. In particular it looks at the project as embodying the circulation of ideas between the periphery (Sweden) and the centre (central European lands embroiled in the Thirty Years’ War) and challenging the intellectual geography of the day.

« Back to Schedule

Philip Beeley (University of Oxford)
A World Apart: On the Scientific Correspondence between the Academia naturae curiosorum and the Royal Society

When Leibniz wrote his introductory letter to the secretary of the Royal Society, Henry Oldenburg, in July 1670, he contrasted the position of experimental philosophy in England and Germany. ‘Remarkable experiments are not wanting among us,’ he writes, but such is the state of politics in Germany now [ . . . ] that there can be no uniting into societies’. He was at the time possibly unaware of the existence of the Academia naturae curiosorum, which had been founded in Schweinfurt in 1652 by a group of medical physicians but which lacked many of the advantages of the Royal Society. There was little or no central organization, no meeting place where members could gather and watch experiments, and therefore no forum where new discoveries could be discussed on a regular basis. Communication among members was exclusively by letter and depended upon unreliable postal routes across territorial boundaries and over difficult terrain. Despite such difficulties members of the Academia naturae curiosorum, located in different parts of the Empire, maintained a remarkable correspondence amongst themselves and with other scientific institutions elsewhere in Europe. Letters exchanged with the Royal Society touched on a variety of topics ranging from natural curiosities to (real and false) phosphor. The paper will consider these exchanges as a means to throwing light on a scientific institution whose very existence in early years exemplifies vital aspects of scientific communication and intellectual geography in the early modern period.

« Back to Schedule

Mark Brayshay (University of Plymouth)
Tudor and Stuart Provincial Posting and the Development of England’s Exchequer-Funded Postal Network

Although the central focus of the paper is the development of England’s Exchequer-funded postal network in the period c.1500 and c.1700, the gradual establishment of the system is considered within the wider context of other means by which communications were made. By the end of my period, a state letter delivery service had been created, but common carriers continously guarded their long-held right to be allowed to carry letters. Moreover, some correspondence was always carried by relatives, neighbours, friends, or acquaintances, travelling either to, or through, the locality where the recipient resided. The services of ostlers, or facilities for hiring post-horses, and the availability of accommodation at stages along the realm’s principal highways made personal travel possible over considerable distances. Servants of the wealthier sort acted as letter-bearers for their employers, travelling either on horseback, or on foot. Civic authorities sent and received correspondence by similar means. Messengers or couriers—always privileged by the lower horse-hire charges secured under royal purveyance—similarly served the Court and Privy Council throughout the period. But the arrangements made for a regular letter-bearing service adopted by the London Company of Merchant Strangers in 1496 and the various commercial and state systems devised elsewhere in Europe led, in the reign of Henry VIII, to the commencement of England’s Exchequer-funded relay of posting services for the carriage of letters and travel on royal service. Previously, relays of couriers had only been laid for very short periods in special circumstances. On certain thoroughfares, permanent postrooms were now engaged and the network was steadily extended and improved until, in the time of Charles I, the service was opened for public letter carrying. In describing these changes, the paper emphasises the importance of travel and letter carrying in widening and deepening of England’s early modern cultures of knowledge.

« Back to Schedule

Simon Burrows (University of Leeds)
Mapping the Intellectual and Business Networks of the Société de Neuchâtel

This paper discusses how and with what results the Leeds University based ‘French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe’ project team has set about mapping the book trade in late eighteenth-century Europe via a complex relational database, using the archives of the celebrated Société typographique de Neuchâtel. It will offer a brief overview of the project, the representative value of the sources used, and the resources it has created; address the problems, given the realities of the ancien régime, of representing in a database both time and geographic space in a relational database, and discuss the solutions we have adopted. Finally, it will suggest some of the ways that the evidence from the database is helping to enrich and revise our knowledge of the business and intellectual landscape of the Enlightenment. This will set the scene for the highly revisionist evaluation of the book trade in Mark Curran’s paper.

« Back to Schedule

Giovanna Ceserani (Stanford University)
Mapping the Republic of Letters: Visualizing Early Modern Networks

We know from the volumes of surviving letters that scholars in the early modern period had extensive correspondence networks; these networks formed an important part of what was called the Republic of Letters. What has been missing is the big picture of what these networks actually looked like. How geographically extensive were they in reality? Did these networks connect or overlap? Was there any evolution in the configuration of scholarly networks over time, from the beginnings of the Republic of Letters in the Renaissance to its flourishing in the Enlightenment?

Mapping the Republic of Letters is a collaborative research project based at the Stanford Humanities Center, bringing together humanities scholars with computer scientists and design researchers, to develop visual tools for humanistic modes of inquiry—not quantitative, but relational and contextual. In the various case-studies that constitute the Mapping the Republic of Letters project, we use visualization not as an end in itself, but to give researchers a means of exploring large corpora beyond the standard text search form. Our visualizations aim to uncover the spatial, temporal, and relational patterns in correspondence networks, along with those pertaining to the concomitant movement of people, ideas, books, or instruments that early modern correspondences supported or generated.

The data are, by and large, incomplete: for example, we do not have geographical or chronological metadata for the vast majority of the letters in these correspondences, and yet with location graphs we can identify immediately the major highways of communication. Similarly, a geographic visualization might direct the researcher’s eye to more peripheral letters, those sent to distant, exotic places (e.g., Voltaire’s letter to Kazakhstan), or to less commonly frequented countries (e.g., in Eastern or Northern Europe). Visualization, in this regard, can serve a heuristic purpose, leading the user toward less-known corners of the dataset, or even prompting new research questions (e.g., how did one send a letter to Kazakhstan in the eighteenth century?).

« Back to Schedule

Michal Choptiany (Jagiellonian Univeristy)
Socinian Education in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth: Intellectual Geography at Work

The aim of this paper is to present the Socinian educational system in a manner slightly different from the historical accounts which have been created to date. What is surprising for one who reads works of such scholars in the history of the Polish Socinian movement as Jan Kot, Łukasz Kurdybacha, or Janusz Tazbir is the fact that they hardly ever presented schools established by the Socinians (i.e. gymnasia in Raków, Pińczów, Lewartów, Śmigiel) as a network or a system. Instead, they used to focus their attention on one of them, in majority of cases—on the Racovian Gymnasium Bonarum Artium, or the gymnasium in Lewartów—and made observations on the exchange of scholars between those educational centres, but did not make an attempt to connect them into a geographical and intellectual system or to track the ways in which schools were linked with each other.

This paper is designed therefore as an attempt to present the Socinian schools that existed on the territory of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth at the turn of the seventeenth century not as a set of separate educational ‘islands’ but as both a geographical and an intellectual system. Based on the preserved archival materials of the Polish Brethren (correspondence, school documents, albums, published and manuscript literary works), I will present results of a preliminary examination of the intensity and type of relations between the above-mentioned schools. I will explore the importance of geographical contexts (distance between them, distance from the intellectual centres of the Commonwealth and Europe, the dialectic of centre and periphery combined with the dialectic of orthodoxy and heterodoxy), indicate possible differences between them, before finally showing by what material means the circulation of ideas and exchange of scholars between peripheral schools was possible. Although the number of sources is limited, there is still a room for a historical narrative that would combine these scholarly communities into a single network, which should in turn be incorporated into a broader context of educational reform in East Central Europe.

« Back to Schedule

Paolo Ciuccarelli (Politecnico di Milano – DensityDesign Lab), Nicole Coleman (Stanford University), Johanna Drucker (UCLA), Charles van den Heuvel (Huygens Institute)
Visualizing Uncertainty and Complexity: Humanistic Methods for Mapping the Intellectual Geography of the Early Modern World

As large-scale digitization projects move forward, capturing vast amounts of information about the movement of people, ideas, books, letters, and instruments in the early modern period, data and information visualization plays a critical role in helping us to explore this terrain and to understand its shape and topography. And yet we are faced with the challenge of how to convey appropriately the incompleteness, uncertainty, ambiguity, and inaccuracy of the historical data. More often than not, visualizations of humanities-research material deliberately or unconsciously distort evidence through data manipulation or implicit design decisions made to enhance effect or to suit the technology rather than prioritizing humanistic methods in creating instruments for research.

The innovative techniques for visualizing complex data sets have been modeled on the sense-making methods of information science and knowledge management, presenting a density of information and making it available for interaction and interpretation, often with the explicitly stated goal of improving efficiency and effective decision-making. And while we can look to the work that has already been done in the infovis community on assessing the effectiveness of visualizations, the evaluation is based on goals that are different from, if not in direct opposition to, the goals of humanistic research. Within the humanities, where critical discussion of visualization techniques appears, it tends to be limited to GIS applications and most often shows a willingness to reduce uncertainty, adopting a tacit endorsement of ideals pertaining to knowledge production from the natural sciences.

In this paper we will bring together perspectives of visual theory in the humanities and the field of communication design, around the analysis of challenges arising in the design of temporal and spatial representations of data from two projects dealing with correspondence networks in the early modern period: Mapping the Republic of Letters and the Circulation of Knowledge and Learned Practices in the Seventeenth-Century Dutch Republic.

« Back to Schedule

Cory Cotter (University of Virginia)
Going Dutch: The Intellectual Geography of the Restoration Diaspora

Exploring ‘The Intellectual Geography of the Restoration Diaspora’, this paper examines the intellectual cross-fertilization between the universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Harvard, Leiden, Oxford, Paris, Padua, and Trinity College, Dublin, during the seventeenth century. After presenting a prosopographical portrait of a community of British dissenters in Dutch exile, this paper will focus on the intellectual geography of Dr Henry Sampson (1632-1700), who at the Restoration had been ejected from his rectorship in Suffolk and fellowship at Cambridge. Turning to medicine, Sampson entered the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy at the University of Padua in 1666 but then transferred to Leiden, where he graduated M.D. on 12 July 1668. Following his movements across time and space, this paper surveys Sampson’s intellectual networks, at Leiden—and beyond—during the 1660s. Of particular interest is the exchange of ideas between Sampson and Dr Johann Jakob Wepfer, town physician of Schaffhausen, a small city on the bank of the river Rhine about 50 miles north of Zurich, with whom he had collaborated during the course of his travels across Europe.

« Back to Schedule

Mark Curran (University of Leeds)
The Geography and Structure of the Late Eighteenth-Century Book Trade

The process of mapping the distribution of the near half-million books traded by the Société typographique de Neuchâtel (STN) between 1769 and 1794 represents a perfect test-bed for the ‘intellectual geography’ approach. Previous scholars, most notably Robert Darnton, have taken the STN papers as representative – suitable for studying what books reached readers everywhere in France. Because eighteenth-century editions were widely swapped amongst publishers, the story goes, wholesalers (like the STN) located throughout Europe quickly ended up with more or less the same stock. Rejecting this hypothesis, this paper begins to rewrite our understanding of the geographical structure of the eighteenth-century book trade on bicentric and polycentric lines. The Neuchâtelois, despite their extensive correspondence and trade networks, never found a satisfactory way to market their books in Paris or Amsterdam. The consequences of this new understanding may be profound, but cannot be fully explored from the STN evidence alone. As such, this paper concludes by outlining one potential pathway towards a focused and collaborative bibliometric digital humanities effort to better understanding the eighteenth-century European book trade and Enlightenment.

« Back to Schedule

Katherine East (Royal Holloway, University of London)
The Uniting Power of Freethought? Analysing the Intellectual Exchange between John Toland, Eugene of Savoy, and the Baron von Hohendorff

When performing diplomatic duties in Holland between 1708 and 1710, the prominent radical philosopher John Toland was able to ingratiate himself among the circles of Freethinkers which featured prominently in that country. A particularly significant relationship was forged during this time: that between Toland and Prince Eugene of Savoy, who was at the height of his career as a military commander in the service of Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor, and Eugene’s close associate the Baron von Hohendorff. The purpose of this relationship had the appearance of being a literary correspondence intended to enhance the contents of Eugene’s famed library: Toland advised Eugene on contemporary works and sought out books for him. Toland also looked to Eugene as a source of potential patronage: in 1712 Toland produced a proposal for a new complete edition of Cicero’s works, which he not only dedicated to Eugene, but which sought financial support for the project.

What makes this relationship all the more fascinating is the exchange of clandestine and subversive scribal works which it made possible. Toland certainly presented Eugene with a collection of manuscripts, entitled Dissertations Diverse, which encompassed a series of Freethinking works, including an early draft of Toland’s Nazarenus. Strong arguments have also been made (J. Champion, Nazarenus, Voltaire Foundation, 1999) that it was Toland who circulated the Traitè des imposteurs to Eugene. Eugene’s own library in turn provided Toland with access to vast resources of Freethinking literature.

In spite of the vast discrepancies in the public roles of these two men, their political affiliations and their geographical locations, each played a strong role in encouraging Freethought, and that intellectual connection allowed them to forge a relationship. By examining their correspondence, and the exchange of manuscripts that took place, I intend to determine the nature of the intellectual tradition that served to bridge the very real social, political, and geographical divides between these two men, and how that process was able to take place.

« Back to Schedule

Vittoria Feola (Medical University of Vienna)
The Viennese Imperial Library in the Republic of Letters, particularly in the period 1630-80

In the first volume of his Commentaries to the Imperial Library (1663) the newly-appointed Imperial Librarian, the antiquary Peter Lambeck, remarked that without the Republic of Letters there would have been no Imperial Library at all. He argued that since the sixteenth century Imperial Librarians had been able to build an outstanding collection of both books and manuscripts, as well as complementing material objects—such as lens for telescopes, chemical apparatus, dried herbs, stuffed animals, ancient gems and coins—thanks to their exchanges with other European scholars. Lambeck saw himself as the heir and continuator of such a century-long tradition, and set out to keep the Imperial Library an active player in the Republic of Letters. Thus, he implicitly recognised the importance of stepping into pre-existing networks of scholars in order to be part of the Respublica literaria.

My paper will explore the evidence for Lambeck’s claim, and will focus particularly on the librairianships of Sebastian Tengnagel and Lambeck himself (1630-80). It will show that, contrary to current perceptions, the Imperial Library was indeed an important actor of the Republic of Letters throughout the seventeenth century. Secondly, that the Imperial Librarians were key men for the acquisition not only of books but also of other ‘scientific’ items of the Habsburg collections. This means that the Imperial Library is a good place for a case study of the relation of antiquarianism to science in seventeenth-century Vienna. Thirdly, this paper will show that the stormy political relationships between Vienna and Paris impacted negatively on the exchanges between Imperial and King’s librarians. I will suggest that this may have been a factor in the historiographical relegation of Vienna at the periphery of the Republic of Letters.

« Back to Schedule

Kat Hill (University of Oxford)
The Contours of Non-Conformity in Lutheran Central Germany, 1550-1600

Hans Thun, a shepherd from the village of Niederdorla near Mühlhausen in Thuringia, was arrested in 1564 and again in 1583 for his unconventional religious opinions. He expressed some strange and worrying views, arguing that all that was earthly and tangible was created by the Devil and that only invisible, spiritual things were created by God, ideas which horrified his Lutheran interrogators. It is easy to dismiss Thun as a marginal figure, an example of the dying throes of the Anabaptist movement in central Germany which no longer had social or intellectual force. However, this paper aims to chart the development of unorthodox dissidents like Thun in Saxony and Thuringia in the latter half of the sixteenth century to explain their importance in the intellectual landscape of Lutheran culture. By locating non-conformists within their ideological networks, and by demonstrating the surprisingly broad environment which formed their ideas, we can also explain why their impact on the intellectual map of Lutheran Germany was more substantial than previously assumed. Thun was clearly not an isolated loner but part of his local community, and it was this background which provided the context for his spiritual development. Furthermore, Thun’s answers under interrogation show a close engagement with Lutheran theology in several key areas and, on the evidence of the biblical passages to which he referred, he had clearly listened to his Lutheran preachers. This paper will suggest that Thun’s individualised and original engagement with Lutheran thinking is the clue to understanding why his case and others like it are integral to understanding why non-conformity of this vein was a continued and important pastoral concern and a fundamental part of the intellectual makeup of Lutheran culture. Concerns like those which Thun expressed were connected to some of the largest debates in Lutheran culture in the later sixteenth century, such as the Flaccian controversy, and left Lutheran pastors determined to respond to these concerns with a variety of methods.

« Back to Schedule

Howard Hotson (University of Oxford)
Small is Beautiful: Territorial Fragmentation and Intellectual Activity in the Holy Roman Empire, c.1550-1700

Although intellectual historians have grown adept at relating the abstract ideas of individuals to concrete, local circumstances of time and place, we have not yet fully grasped how the organisation of intellectual activity across broader expanses of space has affected the development of intellectual traditions over longer periods of time. The most general aim of this paper is to initiate our exploration of the potential fertility of rooting intellectual history more fully, not merely in ephemeral historical events, but in enduring geographical conditions as well.

In the paper, this objective will be pursued by focusing attention on the Holy Roman Empire, where the consolidation of political and confessional authority on a territorial rather than a national basis powerfully shaped intellectual activity throughout the post-Reformation period. Challenging the long-standing assumption that the political and confessional fragmentation of the Empire rendered it intellectually backward, this paper will argue that this process also multiplied intellectual centres and cultural options, thereby lending unique vitality to some areas of intellectual and cultural life and pushing German intellectual traditions in some of their most distinctive directions.

Since intellectual activity is most firmly rooted in institutions of higher education, the point of departure for this analysis will be the distinctive pedagogical and intellectual traditions rooted in territorially based systems of higher education in central Europe. From there the paper will expand in conclusion to consider other areas of intellectual and cultural activity stimulated by the proliferation of centres competing on a relatively level playing field. If time permits, some attention will be given in conclusion to the impact of physical geography on central European intellectual life as well.

« Back to Schedule

Vera Keller (University of Oregon)
Situating Thermometers: The Instrumentum Drebilianum, Invention Claims, and Intellectual Geography

As historians of scientific instruments and sociologists of science alike have pointed out, metric instruments have played a powerful role in the spread and persuasiveness of science. Universal measurements allow science to be deployed across cultures, and therefore appear to offer a view from nowhere. Historians and sociologists of science have been interested in re-entangling precision instruments with their local contexts in order to trace the process through which science came to appear universal.

The thermometer presents a particularly rich case of the intersections between the local, the national, and the international in the making of a universal instrument. On the one hand, objects similar to thermometers appeared to be widely available in the early seventeenth century. On the other hand, the invention of the thermometer came to be attached to a particular set of names: Cornelis Drebbel, Robert Fludd, Galileo Galilei, and Sanctorius Sanctorii. Arguments for one inventor over the other quickly accreted nationalist overtones. Historians of invention, attempting to determine whether the world owed this crucial instrument to Italy, England, or the Netherlands, often returned time and again to the same few and partial sources.

Rather than asking ‘Who invented the thermometer?’ this paper asks ‘Where, how, and why were claims to invention made?’. Tracing the claims to Drebbel’s inventions of the thermometer reveals an international network of related Reformed artisans, philosophers, intelligencers, and merchants stretching across Central Europe, the Netherlands, England, and the New World. Objects and information travelled through this network, as did the thermometer and accounts of its origins, and they came into conflict with other networks and their claims. Pursuing such networks leads us in surprising directions towards new sources about the early thermometer, and a better understanding of its early functions and meanings.

« Back to Schedule

Magdalena Komorowska (Jagiellonian University)
Peregrination of a Jesuit Sermon: Piotr Skargha’s Mounting for Battle before the Livonian Campaign of 1601

Piotr Skarga, court preacher of the Polish king Zygmunt III Waza, was one of the most influential Polish Jesuits. He was an organiser of colleges, the first dean of the academy in Vilna, and one of the main architects of the confessional union of Brest, which resulted in the founding of the Greek Catholic Church. Not to be overlooked are his writings, including three sermonic collections, widely used by the Polish clergy up to the nineteenth century, and The Lives of the Saints, read in Polish homes for the following three hundred years.

In 1601 in Vilna, Skarga delivered a sermon in front of king Zygmunt and his army, which was setting off for a campaign in Livonia. The talk, later entitled ‘Mounting for battle’ (‘Wsiadane na wojnę kazanie’), was tendentiously transcribed and translated into German in the city of Toruń, and then sent to Szczecin in the Duchy of Pomerania, where it was commented upon by a Lutheran minister Daniel Cramer. Cramer’s commentary and the transcript itself, depicting the Polish monarch’s preacher as a bloodthirsty and war-loving enemy of religious dissidents, were published in Leipzig. The reply, in the form of the original work armed with a textual inventory designed to defend Skarga as an author and, especially, to save the good name of the king, who borrowed a considerable sum for his campaign from the Pomeranian duke Barnim XII, appeared in Cracow and was followed by another response to Cramer’s pamphlet, written in German by Fryderyk Bartsch and containing another version of Skarga’s sermon. Bartsch’s book, officially acknowledged by the Jesuit Order, was printed in Brunsberga with a dedication to Barnim. The journey of Skarga’s sermon around East-Central Europe, its transformations, and its political as well as confessional context will be the subject of my paper.

« Back to Schedule

Per Landgren (University of Oxford)
From Imperial Free City to Baltic Empire: Political Humanism and its Ramifications in Sweden in the Era of the Thirty Years’ War

During the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, the geographical location of the city of Strasbourg opened it to intellectual influences from all directions. As well as confessional impulses arriving from Germany and the Swiss cities, strong pedagogical countercurrents passed up river from the lower Rhine (including Johann Sturm [1507-1589] and the gymnasium illustre and the political humanism of Justus Lipsius [1547-1606]). Moreover, Strasbourg’s position near the southwestern border of the Empire opened it to French influence as well, perhaps most notably to the mos gallicus, which brought humanist perspectives and philological techniques to bear on the interpretation of ancient legal codes. In early seventeenth-century Strasbourg, these interrelated strands of thought were woven together into a coherent tradition by figures such as Matthias Bernegger (1582-1640), a refugee from Habsburg Austria who became rector of the academy in 1617. Edmund Kelter regarded Bernegger as the founder of the philological-historical school of Strasbourg, and John E. Sandys called it a ‘flourishing school of Roman History’.

Partly in recognition of this long tradition of excellence, Strasbourg was the first imperial free city ever to be granted full university status for its gymnasium in 1621. For a decade and more, the new university thrived. Although never large by German Lutheran university standards, Strasbourg continued to develop the sophisticated high-humanist approach to pedagogy established a century earlier by Sturm; and as a consequence the new university was particularly well patronized by the nobility. However, over the longer term, the political and military chaos unleashed by the Thirty Years’ War cut short the honeymoon of Strasbourg’s new university; the failure of the Peace of Prague in 1635 brought France directly into the central European battlefield, and Strasbourg’s enrollment plummeted. Previously a meeting point of intellectual as well as commercial traffic from all directions, Strasbourg endured a decade and more of misery, occupied successively by Spanish, Swedish, and French troops. While the prestige of Bernegger and his colleagues remained undimmed, military events had made Strasbourg a much less attractive place for students, and its professors became vulnerable to offers of employment elsewhere.

It may seem surprising that several of the most tempting of these offers should have come from an incomparably larger monarchy far to the north of the imperial free city. But during Sweden’s early Great Power Era there was an urgent need for higher education. The sole university, founded in Uppsala in 1476, had had a troubled existence, but was re-established by Gustavus Adolphus II in 1620. Uppsala was soon followed by a chain of gymnasia, and new academies. They were modeled on the German stratified gymnasium and on Ramist pedagogy. The Swedish State Authority, through nobility such as Oxenstierna and Skytte, used its power and influence to recruit the most talented and learned academics as diplomats, royal historiographers, or to Uppsala as professors. Sweden could offer a safe haven for scholars far away from the turbulence of war on the mainland Europe. There had been particularly good diplomatic relations between Sweden and the reformed city of Strasbourg ever since the Reformation and the University of Strasbourg became a strategic source for the identification of well-educated humanists and their transition to Uppsala in Sweden. Bernegger himself almost became Swedish royal historiographer, but the core of the Strasbourg-school in Sweden was the disciples of Bernegger Johan Freinshemius (1608-1660), Johan Boecler (1611-1672), and Johan Schefferus (1621-1679).

Initially, then, the Swedish Age of Greatness was to a considerable extent lacking in intellectual independence. It was marked by the import and reception by pedagogical and intellectual trends from academies in German free imperial cities and principalities, through the works and networks of influential humanists as Melanchthon, Ramus, Lipsius, and Comenius. My purpose is to delineate the significance from the Swedish point of view of, not only the reception, but the active transplantation and cultural transmission of this particular kind of political humanism and to assess the crucial importance of geographical factors in shaping and facilitating this rich process of intellectual transfer.

« Back to Schedule

Kim McLean-Fiander (University of Oxford)
Textual Geographies: The Literary and Social Networks of Aemilia Lanyer (1569-1645)

Intellectual geography is a multivalent and evocative term, inviting us to reflect upon the spaces occupied by both a writer’s words and worlds. A writer’s text typically inhabits physical space on the page of a book, but also dwells in a more abstract series of spaces—intellectual, imaginative, intertextual, and spiritual, for example. The paratext, comprised of such elements as title-pages, tables of contents, dedications, epilogues, and indexes which reside in the textual hinterlands of a book, is, according to French theorists Gérard Genette and Claude Duchet, a threshold where two sets of codes merge: the social code as it relates to publicizing the author and the work, and the regulatory code which controls how a text is produced or read. Literally framing the principal text of a book, paratext both beckons the reader into the intellectual world of the writer and reaches out to the social world beyond.

In this paper, I explore the textual geography of middle-class Englishwoman Aemilia Lanyer’s 1611 Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum in order to reconstruct her intellectual and social networks. A long poem on the passion of Christ, this text is striking because it was the first original poetry by a woman published in the seventeenth century; it included the first country-house poem printed in English; and, most significant for this paper, it was prefaced by eleven separate dedications to nine named noblewomen of the Jacobean court. These dedications, comprising a substantial portion of Salve Deus’s paratext, prove to be particularly rich terrain from which to investigate the encounters between Lanyer’s words and worlds. A useful tool by which to create a kind of piecework or bricolage of her social, literary, spiritual, and intellectual lives, they take us on a journey from the continental outposts of Marian exiles to the highest echelons of the English aristocracy via a network of aspiring middle-class court musicians and writers in early modern London.

« Back to Schedule

Nausicaa Milani (University of Parma)
The Empirical Interpretation of French Cartesianism: The Académie des Sciences, the Journal des Sçavans, and the Relationship with the Royal Society

The Système de philosophie (1691) by Pierre Sylvain Régis can be considered as the achievement both of the scientific liveliness of the Académie des Sciences in the seventeenth century and of its fruitful relationship with the Royal Society. Since it aims to shape the new conception of the universe in terms of a system, the Système represents one of the most mature achievements of Cartesian philosophy and it is characterized by an empirical interpretation of Descartes’s thought. The Système therefore reflects two important phenomena occurring in the Europe of the seventeenth century: the scientific revolution and the proliferation of Academies. In fact, this ambitious work could be undertaken with the support of the Académie des Sciences and the Journal des Sçavants.

My paper will analyse the French context by focusing to outline the role which the Académie de France had both in France, as the medium of dissemination of the new philosophy despite censorship, and abroad, in particular through the relationship with the Royal Society in England. I aim to analyse the role of the Journal des Sçavants as a means to share ideas other than by correspondence and as a trait d’union between ‘rationalist France’ and ’empiricist England’. I intend to question whether it is possible to establish a connection between the empirical interpretation of French Cartesianism, the consolidation of the Académie de France and the employment of new means of academic communication. The paper will show that the second half of seventeenth-century France represents a remarkable exception to the conventional picture, which states that in seventeenth-century Europe, following the success of a mechanistic interpretation of reality, two philosophical schools clashed: rationalism, predominating on the continent, and empiricism, in England.

« Back to Schedule

Victor Morgan (University of East Anglia)
Place and Season: Some Changing Geographies of Communication in Elizabethan and Jacobean England

This paper usefully establishes a contrast between ‘dispersed’ and ‘centralised’ models for the circulation of intellectual discourse. It does so by contrasting, respectively, the Hapsburg Empire with England. But can a case be made for saying that there was more dispersion in England than this necessarily schematic model might suggest? This paper focuses on East Anglia, and more particularly Norwich, in order to make a case in response to the question just posed. It draws on a wide range of manuscript and printed material, along with use of both some surviving and some now lost material culture, gathered over the years.

In particular it addresses the following points. First, do the diaspora of the sixteenth century provide a ‘pre-run’ for the wider continental disruptions of the seventeenth century? Does this ‘pre-run’ differ from that of the seventeenth century in terms of the types of ideas and practices that were involved? Do they look more to a late-renaissance inheritance than an enlightenment prospect? Second, to what extent does time need to be considered in its intersection with place? Are there issues to do with the life course and the annual cycle in provincial England that create occasions that are propitious for the dissemination of ideas? Arising from this is the further issue of the ‘non-paper’ exchange of ideas and the emergence of pre-Habermassian institutions of sociability such as Norwich Old City Library (founded 1608). Third, with the Elizabethan curtailment of provincial publishing, were there, nonetheless, ways in which local material found its way into circulation, even into print and once in print, found local outlets before 1695? Finally, as a result of adopting a longer run-in to the seventeenth century, is it possible in an English provincial context to discern a sea-change in intellectual concerns over the course of the ‘long seventeenth century’?

« Back to Schedule

Miles Ogborn (Queen Mary, University of London)
What is Intellectual Geography?

While the term ‘intellectual history’ has a certain institutional currency and its own history of use, the idea of ‘intellectual geography’ is a new one. It signals how ideas vary across geographical space, but also the role space, place, and environment might play in shaping intellectual history. This lecture uses a range of examples to trace the relationships between intellectual geography, the history of geographical knowledge, and the historical geography of knowledge. In doing so it examines a range of geographies that shape intellectual life—the micro-geography of sites of intellectual life; the contextual geography of places and ideas; the scope, shape, and composition of networks; and the influence of environment and physical landscape—and some of the challenges faced by those seeking to map ideas.

« Back to Schedule

Carol Pal (Bennington College)
An Ephemeral Academy at the Exile Court: The Hague in the 1630s

As new scholarship continues to demonstrate, knowledge does not just emerge—it is produced. And while ideas may not possess bodies, the people originating these ideas must inhabit a physical space; thus even in the abstract republic of letters, knowledge always bore the imprint of its location. One such location, in the 1630s, was the Queen of Bohemia’s exile court in The Hague. Geographically, culturally, and intellectually, it was an environment perfectly suited to these learned encounters—a unique environment that produced a very specific form of intellectual association and knowledge-making.

This paper considers the scholarly interactions at the exile court as a case study in the intellectual geography of seventeenth-century Europe; and through this analytical lens, it emerges as more than just a locus for learned exchange. The heady mix of minds at the exile court also represented a wide range of accomplishment—from celebrated scholars at one end of the scale to eager learners at the other—whose interaction was such that this location also functioned in some ways as an academy. And one of the unique features of this ephemeral academy was that it was especially useful for the development of female scholarship.

Since female scholars lacked the supportive environment of the university, they used the physical location of the exile court as both a locus of association, and a site for learning and mentorship. Extant evidence documents female scholars from Germany, Ireland, France, and the Netherlands engaging with the world of ideas as participants, colleagues, and mentors, eschewing the more familiar roles of hostess, patron, or acolyte. This paper consider four women—Anna Maria van Schurman, Marie du Moulin, Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia, and Dorothy Moore—for whom the exile court was both a space of association and an ad-hoc academy in the republic of letters.

« Back to Schedule

Leigh Penman (University of Oxford)
Intellectual Geography and the Making of the ‘First German Philosopher’: Jakob Böhme (1575-1624) and Görlitz

The crisis that European, and particularly Lutheran, culture faced during the first third of the seventeenth century engendered many expressions of anger, despair, dissent, and criticism, which were expressed in numerous broadsheets, pamphlets, books, and other publications. But although the works of authors like Wilhelm Eo Neuheuser, Paul Egard, Nicolaus Teting, Valentin Weigel, or even Johann Arndt are preserved today in numerous libraries, the authors themselves are hardly household names. One critic that is well known, however, is the Lusatian cobbler and theosopher Jakob Böhme (1575-1624). This legacy is surprising. He spoke no Latin, did not attend university, and remained a handworker in the Lusatian trading town of Görlitz throughout his life. Prior to his death in 1624, only a single edition of one of his works saw print. And yet, Böhme was the author of an extensive corpus of manuscript works, which drew on complex magical, Paracelsian, Weigelian, and Schwenkfeldian texts and ideas. These appeared posthumously in more than three hundred editions in Latin, Dutch, English, and German, resulting in an enduring international reputation, and praise from figures like Hegel, Newton, and Blake. How did Böhme’s writings attain this prominence from their initial status as dusty manuscripts on a cobbler’s bench in a little German town?

This paper will adopt a spatial approach to this problem by investigating the initial spread of Böhme’s writings in and around Görlitz, concentrating on the concrete local intellectual, political, and religious conditions which influenced the content and the nature of the distribution of Böhme’s work. Drawing on epistolary and archival material, it will challenge several long-standing myths concerning Böhme’s output, and demonstrate how specific and pre-existing geographical, mercantile, political, intellectual, and confessional networks both contributed to and facilitated the transmission of Böhme’s works, as well as their reception. In this way, it attempts to show that intellectual geography, as well as the inherent power and appeal of Böhme’s writing, was crucial to the making of the ‘First German Philosopher’.

« Back to Schedule

Tamson Pietsch (Brunel University)
Intellectual Geographies and the Universities of the British Empire, 1850-1939

This paper provides a point of comparison with the modern period. It will consider the themes of the conference as they relate to the academic networks that stretched between the universities of the British settler empire in the period between 1850 and 1939. These networks were both extensive and uneven and they worked to establish new alignments of proximity and distance. Though started by the migration of professors from Britain to universities in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, these networks were both part of and a response to the wider processes that in this period were driving the interconnectedness of the modern world. Shifting geo-politics; increasing global economic integration; a new emphasis on scientific research; and revolutions in transport and communication that radically improved the circulation of people, products, and information, all pressed these settler universities to institute deliberate measures designed to forge closer connections abroad. Using the physics network of Ernest Rutherford and T. H. Laby as a case study, the paper will pay particular attention to the ways that social connection recast the intellectual geographies of empire, bringing ‘colonial knowledge’ deep into the heart of ‘metropolitan’ expertise. It will reflect on the challenges and opportunities of such a study and consider the sources, methods, and conceptual frameworks I have found useful.

« Back to Schedule

Anna Marie Roos (University of Oxford)
Every Man’s Companion: Or, A useful Pocket-Book:  The Travel Journal of Dr Martin Lister (1639-1712) and Correspondence Networks

In 1663, Martin Lister left his parents’ house in Lincolnshire to study medicine in Montpellier. During his three years in France, he kept a detailed journal in an almanac published as Every Man’s Companion: Or, A useful Pocket-Book (MS Lister 19, Bodleian). My paper, an analysis of the pocketbook, demonstrates the intellectual development of a significant seventeenth-century physician, providing a vivid account of early modern medical education, and a detailed representation of the grand tour of a gentleman. As it is the only example of this almanac extant, conservatorial considerations will also be addressed. My analysis of the pocketbook will be enhanced by other varied and rich referential sources of material. Another 25 pages of memoirs about Lister’s time in Montpellier also survive (MS Lister 5, Bodleian), as well as 43 French letters from Lister’s correspondence. Furthermore, Lister’s travel companions, Phillip Skippon and John Ray, each published an account of part of their travels permitting a delineation of the intellectual geography of an English expatriate group of virtuosi and natural philosophers in late seventeenth-century France.

Because Lister’s field notes and itinerary in his pocketbook are quite detailed, it is possible to map and trace his journey from England to Montpellier and back via Paris. As an exhibited and published photographer, I did just that in June 2011, spending three weeks documenting key stages of his journey to provide the reader with a ‘speaking picture’ of early modern medical education as well as the travel of a virtuoso. The photographs of landscape, inns at which he stayed, natural history specimens, and museums and artefacts arrest the senses so the images lead into the text and into the richness of its associations. The documentation of the journey is also a form of humanistic fieldwork, giving the historian insights into the natural-history specimens, modes of travel, noted antiquities, and other empirical evidence that allow us to reconstruct the mental world of the early modern virtuoso.

« Back to Schedule

Olaf Simons (Forschungszentrum Gotha)
The Production and Consumption of Books in Early Modern England and Germany: A Comparative Analysis of Markets

It is not difficult to identify a number of striking structural differences between the German and English book markets in the early modern period. The former was organised through networks of booksellers meeting at annual fairs, while the latter was centred on London, the nation’s capital. The former was influenced by complex religious divisions, the second one far more by ever-shifting frontlines on the battlefield of political confrontations. The former was driven by an academic demand for books, the second far more by a fashionable urban elite discovering the book as an object of prestige and entertainment. Fundamental circumstances differed: cities of 15,000 to 40,000 inhabitants do not offer the anonymity or range of consumption options that a city of half a million can offer. Media develop differently under these conditions. Both markets were on the other hand synchronised, and equally open to imports (most strikingly of Dutch books published in French). I will present statistics that attempt to quantify differences and chart divergent developments within these two distinctive commercial contexts over space and time. I will argue that these differences can only be properly appreciated and understood if they are conceived not as a problem of divergent national literatures, but rather as one of markets. While the physical space of seas and mountains was readily transcended and hence marginal to the constitution of markets, other kinds of geography—of networks, distribution, religion, language, taste, and urbanism—were fundamental to this complex process. Moreover, markets themselves are perhaps best conceived spatially, as ‘places’ in which a certain demand meets its supply.

« Back to Schedule

Comments are closed.