Mark Somos has written a challenging and fascinating book. Secularisation and the Leiden Circle is to be commended for its topic (the much maligned origins and process of secularisation), for the author’s depth and breadth of knowledge and for his impressive research and analysis of the source material.
Over the last twenty years Richard Bentley’s star has, if not exactly risen, then at least been mapped.
Network studies are fashionable today, both in the sciences and in the humanities, witness the ever-increasing research grants, books, articles, and calls for papers about knowledge exchange that circulate globally. Scientists working in artificial intelligence, engineering, statistics, and computational linguistics have been doing network analysis for a long time.
The art of making and using invisible ink, James Daybell informs us, was both described in printed books of secrets and manuscript recipe books and practised by letter-writers in early modern England (pp. 166–8).
The emergence and evolution of professional news reporting and publishing in early 17th-century England is an important phenomenon that has received disparate attention from scholars, much of it in journals and collections of essays, so new, comprehensive work on the subject is always welcome. This book offers especially fresh insight through the author’s extensive knowledge
David Nirenberg’s Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition is an impressive scholarly accomplishment that matches a dauntingly large subject matter with a vast vault of personal knowledge. At 474 pages and 13 chapters covering more than 3000 years, it is thorough without being exhaustive.
Demons or cunning priests?
‘The Pythia at Delphi, sitting with her petticoats bunched up and her arse on the Tripod, received her inspiration from below’. Denis Diderot
In his introduction, Matthew Lundin declares that it ‘would perhaps only be slightly hyperbolic to proclaim Hermann Weinsberg the Samuel Pepys of sixteenth-century Germany’ (p. 3). This proclamation does not do full justice to the scope of Lundin’s work.
This important work provides the first informed, well-researched and highly nuanced account of the fortunes of ‘occult’ thought and practice in England from the middle decades of the 17th century to its demise at the end of the 18th century.
The ‘great divide’ between the medieval and the early modern is nowhere more apparent than in ‘the history of the book’ – a field of study in which it has been particularly damaging to our understanding of the processes by which books and other texts were manufactured and distributed in the 15th and 16th centuries.