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The Spirit of Inquiry in the Age of Jefferson: Transactions of the American Philosophical Society Volume 110, Part 2 Spreading the Word: Scottish Publishers and English Literature 1750-1900: Transactions, APS (Vol. 109, Part 2)
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The Spirit of Inquiry in the Age of Jefferson Spreading the Word
In commemoration of the 275th anniversary of the American Philosophical Society’s founding in 1743 and the birth of its long-time president, Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), the APS Library, along with the National Constitution Center, the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello, and the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania held a symposium in June 2018 that explored the history of science, knowledge production, and learning during the Age of Jefferson. The volume contains papers from many of the presenters at the symposium. The chapters touch on an enormous range of topics and fields, much like Jefferson's own intellectual life. Also much like Jefferson, they are international in scope. Subjects range from inoculation to animal magnetism to Jewish migrants in the eighteenth century. Both books are a testament to the mission Jefferson served throughout his life and that both institutions still aim to serve today: “to promote useful knowledge.” A disproportionate number of the great publishing houses of the English-speaking world - -Blackie, Blackwood, Collins, Constable, Macmillan, Millar, Murray, Nelson, Smith and Elder, Strahan -- were founded after the Treaty of Union in 1707, by men, often of humble origin, from “north of the border” (Scotland). Many of the now classic English writers of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries were personally encouraged by the men running these companies, nearly all of whom were also committed, for cultural as well as commercial reasons, to making literature in English accessible to all. This essay offers a comprehensive, yet short overview of this remarkable Scottish contribution to English literary history. Illus.
John Milton’s Roman Sojourns, 1638-1639: Neo-Latin Self-Fashioning: Transactions, APS (Volume 109, Part 4) What Ever Happened to the U.S. Congress's Portraits of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette? Retracing the Events that Led to the Conflagration of the Capitol and the Loss of the Pictures on 24-25 August 1814: Tran. of the American Philosophical Society V
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John Milton’s Roman Sojourns What Ever Happened to the U.S. Congress's Portraits
This study examines the impact of Rome and its vibrant culture upon Milton in the course of two two-month sojourns in the city in 1638-1639. Focusing on his neo-Latin writings pertaining to that period, it presents new evidence of the academic, literary, and musical contexts surrounding Milton’s proactive integration into seicento Rome. Highlighting Milton’s self-fashioning as one who was hospitably embraced by Catholic Rome, this volume traces his networking with distinguished Italian humanists (upon whom he left no slight an impression). Not least, we read of Milton’s attested presence in the hub of Catholicism, the Vatican itself, and his language is fulsome, even excited. One of the greatest unsolved mysteries in American political culture is what became of the United States Congress’s state portraits of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette during the British invasion of the Capitol, Washington, D.C., on the night of 24–25 August 1814. Conceived by Benjamin Franklin during a diplomatic mission, requested by the American delegates at the height of the War of Independence, and granted by the French king after the signing of the Treaty of Paris, these official full-length images of the French monarchs arrayed in ceremonial magnificence were recently identified as atelier copies after Antoine-François Callet’s Louis XVI and Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun’s Marie-Antoinette (both 1783) and traced through Congress’s successive assembly rooms at New York City (1785), Philadelphia (1790), and Washington (1800). The fate of the royal portraits has been difficult to determine due to the incomplete documentary record and conflicting eyewitness accounts. Larkin initially takes a telescopic approach to the problem, moving from British and French production of state portraits to assert political claims in North America and despoliation of Western European countries of their art treasures, to show British and American interests at stake in the practice of looting and incendiary warfare waged across the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay prior to the destruction of the public buildings in Washington, D.C. He then pursues a microscopic approach, analyzing period documents, letters, images, and plans to test the viability of two theories—that the royal portraits were burned by British troops during their occupation of the capital or looted by American scavengers during the chaotic aftermath. While physical evidence of the portrait artifacts remains elusive, this study of the images as objects of desire, danger, and loss breaks new ground for scholars desirous of constituting an art and material history for the War of 1812.
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T. Lawrence Larkin is Professor of Seventeenth- to Nineteenth-Century European Art at Montana State University, Bozeman. He has published on aspects of early modern French and American art and culture, with a two-fold interest in the portrait patronage and mythical permutations of Queen Marie-Antoinette and the trans-Atlantic diplomatic gifts and political culture of French, British, and American governments during the Revolutionary and Imperial Eras. His books include a monograph, In Search of Marie-Antoinette: Stefan Zweig, Irving Thalberg, and Norma Shearer (Palgrave-Macmillan), and an edited volume, Politics & Portraits in the United States & France during the Age of Revolution (Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press), both published in 2019.
Lunar Calendars of the Pre-Columbian Maya: Transactions, APS (Volume 109, Part 1) Optical Magic in the Late Renaissance: Giambattista Della Porta's De Refractione of 1593: Transactions, APS (Vol. 107, Part 1)
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Lunar Calendars of the Pre-Columbian Maya Optical Magic in the Late Renaissance:
Pre-Columbian Maya interest in the waxing and waning of the Moon is well documented. This rare example of interdisciplinary scholarship brings together a deeply penetrating knowledge of positional astronomy and Maya hieroglyphic writing, two highly disparate areas of study, and synthesizes them into a thorough interpretation of the relationship between astronomical concepts in the Maya codices and monumental inscriptions. Prompted by the recent discovery of the Xulum 10K-2 lunar table, this volume is a logical follow-up to work published in 2011 by the Brickers, “Astronomy in the Maya Codices.” It is a comprehensive study of the Maya lunar calendar. Illus.



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Other Presidency: Thomas Jefferson

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Other Presidency: Thomas Jefferson
The Other Presidency: Thomas Jefferson and the American Philosophical Society, by Patrick Spero, With research assistance by Abigail Shelton and John Kenney.


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