Tag Archives: Book of the Month

September 2015 Book of the Month: A Table of Humane Passions by Nicholas Coeffeteau (1621)

This book discusses the passions (or emotions), a key concept of early modern moral philosophy. The title-page depicts the passions as allegorical figures in mannered poses, holding emblematic objects such as Hope’s anchor. Despite their abstract portrayal, the passions were … Continue reading

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December 2014 Book of the Month: The History of Lapland by John Scheffer (1674)

The History of Lapland is the first anthropological publication from Oxford University Press. Written by a Swedish professor of law and rhetoric, it describes the beliefs, customs and artefacts of the Sámi people. The study was commissioned by Sweden’s chancellor … Continue reading

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November 2014 Book of the Month: Mathematicall Magick by John Wilkins (1648)

Mathematicall Magick proclaims itself the first text on mechanics written in English. Using ideas indebted to classical authorities like Archimedes, Wilkins defends the intellectual importance of tools usually associated with workmen. Wilkins describes ingenious, labour-saving applications of simple devices like … Continue reading

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October 2014 Book of the Month: A True and Faithful Relation of What Passed for Many Yeers Between Dr. John Dee and Some Spirits by Meric Casaubon (1659)

The spiritual diaries of the mathematician and magus John Dee (1527-1609) were found decades after his death in a secret compartment. They contain his conversations with angels (facilitated by the clairvoyant Edward Kelley), through which Dee hoped to understand the … Continue reading

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September 2014 Book of the Month: Psalmes, Songs, and Sonnets by William Byrd (1611)

This collection of songs was among the later publications of William Byrd, Gentleman of the Chapel Royal and one of the pre-eminent English composers of the Renaissance. The pieces are arranged for both voices and viols, taking advantage of a … Continue reading

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July 2014 Book of the Month: Law Quibbles by Anonymous (1726)

Law Quibbles promises to demystify jargon and expose abuses of legal practice for ‘the Publick Good’. Importantly, the treatise displays as much concern for civil law as it does for Georgian England’s notorious ‘Bloody Code’ of criminal punishments. The work … Continue reading

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