Here’s a very unsystematic (make that, distinctly miscellaneous) selection of eighteenth-centuryish blog posts from the past few weeks. If anything else has appeared lately that has caught your eye, let me know, and I’ll put it up and discuss it at great length, I promise. (Note: the 18th Century Graduate Reading Group has just put up its Fantomina posts, but I’m saving my response for another day. But go take a look)
In any case, here are some highlights:
1. Courtesy of 3quarksdaily, the TLS review of the first volume of the new Buffon edition published by Champion and edited by Cremiere and Schmitt. What Cobb’s review emphasizes is how much the major scientific advances of the Enlightenment owed to the mature print culture of the mid-18th century: Buffon’s L’Histoire naturelle volumes were beautifully written, systematizing, serially published works (36 volumes published over 39 years, while serving as a stylistic (and business?) model for the Encyclopedie), featuring superb engraved color illustrations, and attracting an international lay-audience eager to follow volume after volume of Buffon’s insights into the whole of “human knowledge about the natural world.” An astounding achievement, and communicated in a manner impossible to imagine for another era.
2. Greg over at Slawkenbergius’ Tales has been knocking out a series of intriguing posts about science, rationalist historiography of the irrational, and modes of history and their historians (I like the appreciation of Pocock best), all united by his ongoing interest in Enlightenment historiography Always nice to read a historian who knows his Borges, but still insists on writing about real people.
3. Obligatory contemporary politics connection: How many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were clergymen? Don’t ask Mike Huckabee. Instead, visit J.L. Bell’s always astounding Boston 1775, and get the straight poop. (Answer: 1, the one-time president of Princeton College, John Witherspoon).
4. And here’s Alice Boone (of Ben and Alice) describing her history of reading and rereading Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, first in her freshmen year seminar, then in subsequent years, while attempting to develop her own view of Margaret Cavendish, and one that could stand up to Woolf’s indelible image of her in the Room. A valuable set of reflections on teaching and canonical revision. And don’t forget her interview with Sophie Gee, author of the Scandal of the Season.
More to come.