Kepler's successful solution to the problem of vision early in the seventeenth century was a theoretical triumph as significant as many of the more celebrated developments of the scientific revolution. Yet the full import of Kepler's arguments can be grasped only when they are viewed against the background of ancient, medieval, and Renaissance visual theory. David C. Lindberg provides this background, and in doing so he fills the gap in historical scholarship and constructs a model for tracing the development of scientific ideas. David C. Lindberg is professor and chairman of the department of the history of science at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
In 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus publicly defended his hypothesis that the earth is a planet and the sun a body resting near the center of a finite universe. But why did Copernicus make this bold proposal? And why did it matter? The Copernican Question reframes this pivotal moment in the history of science, centering the story on a conflict over the credibility of astrology that erupted in Italy just as Copernicus arrived in 1496. Copernicus engendered enormous resistance when he sought to protect astrology by reconstituting its astronomical foundations. Robert S. Westman shows that efforts to answer the astrological skeptics became a crucial unifying theme of the early modern scientific movement. His interpretation of this long sixteenth century, from the 1490s to the 1610s, offers a new framework for understanding the great transformations in natural philosophy in the century that followed.
This study investigates Dante's knowledge of several traditions of the extensive medieval literature on light and optics and examines how he assimilates and reworks related imagery, themes, and motifs in his writing.
Historical context frames Richard Kay's readings of some of the enigmas in Dante's Divine Comedy. These relate the poem to such standard sources as the Bible, Aristotle, Aquinas, and the Latin classics, but also go beyond these Scholastic sources to exploit Dante's use of less familiar aspects of Latin clerical culture, including physiognomy, Vitruvian proportions, and optics, and most especially astrology. Kay explores new ways to read the Comedy, investigating acrostics, parallelisms between cantos of Purgatorio and Paradiso, and aspects of the poem's finale in the Empyrean.
Holley (English, North Carolina State) examines Chaucer's narrative framing devices, suggesting that he conceived them in geometric rather than linear terms. Using numerous examples from Chaucer's works, she succeeds in relocating the critical discussion of his narrative strategies in terms of the perspectivists. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR