From British attempts on the stage and page to reinvent the world order with their island at the center to the Jesuit Athanasius Kircher's museum that strove to make the invisible visible, the early modern period was rife with attempts to reimagine the world and the human place within it. This volume looks at natural philosophers, playwrights, historians, and other figures in the period 1500-1700 as a means of accessing the plethora of world models that circulated in Europe during this era. Contributors to this volume ask what motivated institutions and individuals to engage in world-building, examining its cultural utility and the reception these new worlds received. Close textual and visual analysis provide the foundation for the book, and the array of sources illustrates the rich tapestry of ideas, anxieties, and enthusiasms that served as the basis for world-building. Only through investigating imagined worlds as closely as scholars have examined "real" Renaissance landscapes can we hope to understand the intellectual and cultural reassessments that characterized this period, and the critical importance of imagination and belief in its intellectual landscape.
"The imagination as something other than a source of literary invention is drawing increasing attention in recent years, and this anthology is a noteworthy addition. With essays ranging in topic from the occult to the protoscientific to various forms of colonial propaganda, this book is well-conceived and tightly constructed, with a clear trajectory that runs from actual or literal cosmology through imagined utopias and into idealized colonialist projects. The focus on the imagination and the variety of disciplines covered make World-Building and the Early Modern Imagination as timely and useful as it is stimulating and informative." - Walter Stephens, Charles S. Singleton Professor of Italian Studies, Johns Hopkins University
"This is an excellent volume that deals with subjects of considerable interest for a wide variety of readers - in history, history of science, literature, cultural studies, and philosophy. It provides a well-framed and balanced discussion of topics that are both engaging and either entirely novel or approached with new insights and evidence. World-Building and the Early Modern Imagination contains important new contributions to our knowledge." - Lawrence M. Principe, Drew Professor of the Humanities, Johns Hopkins University
Introduction: 'Think you there was, or ever could be' a World such as this I Dreamed; A.B.Kavey Paracelsus on the 'New Creation' and Demonic Magic: Misunderstandings, Oversights, and False Accusations in His Early Reception; D.T.Daniel Building Blocks: Imagination, Knowledge, and Passion in Agrippa von Nettesheim's De Oculta Philosophia Libri Tres; A.B.Kavey The Astrological Cosmos of Johannes Kepler; S.J.Rabin A Theater of the Unseen: Athanasius Kircher's Museum in Rome; M.A.Waddell Fantasy Islands: Utopia, The Tempest and New Atlantis as Places of Controlled Credulousness; G.Giglioni Imagination and Pleasure in the Cosmography of Thomas Burnet's Sacred Theory of the Earth; A.Coppola The Jesuit Mission to Ethiopia (1555-1634) and the Death of Prester John; M.Salvadore Red Sea Travelers in Mediterranean Lands: Ethiopian Scholars and Early Modern Orientalism, ca. 1500-1668; J.De Lorenzi "In manners they be rude, and monst'rous eke in fashion': Images of Otherness in Early Modern Drama'; P.Tuite Icons of Atrocity: John Derricke's Image of Irelande (1581); V.Carey