By Mary Terrall

Natural heritage within the eighteenth century was once many stuff to many people—diversion, obsession, medically or economically invaluable wisdom, spectacle, proof for God’s windfall and knowledge, or maybe the root of all traditional wisdom. simply because common historical past used to be pursued by means of one of these number of humans around the world, with practitioners sharing neither equipment nor education, it's been characterised as a technological know-how of easy description, dedicated to collecting observations because the uncooked fabric for type and hence essentially special from experimental actual technological know-how. In Catching Nature within the Act, Mary Terrall revises this photo, revealing how eighteenth-century traditional historians integrated quite a few experimental thoughts and techniques into their practice.

           

At the heart of Terrall’s examine is René-Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur (1683–1757)—the definitive authority on common historical past within the center a long time of the eighteenth century—and his many correspondents, assistants, and collaborators. via a detailed exam of Réaumur’s courses, papers, and letters, Terrall reconstructs the operating relationships between those naturalists and indicates how gazing, accumulating, and experimenting healthy into their day-by-day lives. crucial studying for historians of technological know-how and early sleek Europe, Catching Nature within the Act defines and excavates a dynamic box of francophone usual historical past that has been inadequately mined and understood to date.

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Catching Nature in the Act: Réaumur and the Practice of Natural History in the Eighteenth Century by Mary Terrall


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