Describing an era of exploration during the Renaissance that went far beyond geographic bounds, this book shows how the evidence of the New World shook the foundations of the old, upsetting the authority of the ancient texts that had guided Europeans so far afield. What Anthony Grafton recounts is a war of ideas fought by mariners, scientists, publishers, and rulers over a period of 150 years. In colorful vignettes, published debates, and copious illustrations, we see these men and their contemporaries trying to make sense of their discoveries as they sometimes confirm, sometimes contest, and finally displace traditional notions of the world beyond Europe.
Grafton’s book is about the identity of the Americas—an identity hewn out of intellectual conflict, just as much as military or political conflict.
In his eloquent disquisition…Grafton demonstrates his mastery of the world of the Renaissance text and his skills as a historian of scholarship, scholarly processes, and intellectual debates.
Beautifully presented and delightful to read. Grafton’s prose has a rare combination of qualities, smooth-flowing and hard-hitting… The concentrated power, the broad erudition, the impeccable aim which characterize Grafton’s vignettes are enviable.
Grafton is massively erudite and scrupulous as a scholar; at the same time he has command of a relaxed narrative style: his book about the reconfiguration of knowledge in Renaissance Europe is aimed at the general reader and no doubt finds its mark.
- 296 pages
- 8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Belknap Press
- With April Shelford and Nancy Siraisi
From this author
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