An Early Modernist’s Perspective

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An Early Modernist’s Perspective

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Title: An Early Modernist’s Perspective
Author: Blair, Ann M.
Citation: Blair, Ann. 2004. An early modernist’s perspective. Isis 95(3): 420–430.
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Abstract: Historians of science can gain new insights into the material practices and intellectual trajectories of natural philosophers by attending to evidence of what they read and how. From the time of the early modern period we have sources not often extant for earlier periods, including manuscript reading notes, kept in separate notebooks or in the margins of books, and advice books on how to read. From this variety of sources we can piece together evidence (though generally not a complete picture) about the reading habits peculiar to individuals as well as those widely shared in a given cultural context, including ways of relying on the reading of others; by attending to traces of reading we can also learn more about the reception of particular scientific works. The history of reading broadens the range of questions the historian of science can pose to analyze a scientific work in its historical context.
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