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“[W]here We Lay Our Scene”: the Critical Landscape and the Elizabethan-Jacobean Technology Boom

  • Adam Max Cohen

Abstract

While praising the instrument-maker John Blagrave, Gabriel Harvey paused to criticize the poet Edmund Spenser’s knowledge of astronomy: “It is not sufficient for poets to be superficial humanists: but they must be exquisite artists and curious universal schollers.”1 Elizabethans often mentioned Chaucer as the model of the well-rounded poet because Chaucer, perhaps as part of his responsibility as Clerk of the Works, authored a treatise in the early 1390s on the nature of the astrolabe and its use called Conclusions of the Astrolabie. Chaucer’s treatise was published in England in 1532 under the title A Treatise of the Astrolabe, and it was reprinted often during the sixteenth century. Harvey praised Chaucer’s treatise as “exactly learned” and added that it was still useful to astronomers 200 years after it was written.2

Keywords

Sixteenth Century Mathematical Practice Literary Text Printing Press Early Modern Period 
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Notes

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© Adam Max Cohen 2006

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  • Adam Max Cohen

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