This book explores how machinery and the practice of mechanics participate in the intellectual culture of Renaissance humanism. Before the emergence of the concept of technology, sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century writers recognised the applicability of mechanical practices and objects to some of their most urgent moral, aesthetic, and political questions. The construction, use, and representation of devices including clocks, scientific instruments, stage machinery, and war engines not only reflect but also actively reshape how Renaissance writers define and justify artifice and instrumentality - the reliance upon instruments, mechanical or otherwise, to achieve a particular end. Harnessing the discipline of mechanics to their literary and philosophical concerns, scholars and poets including Francis Bacon, Edmund Spenser, George Chapman, and Gabriel Harvey look to machinery to ponder and dispute all manner of instrumental means, from rhetoric and pedagogy to diplomacy and courtly dissimulation.
Acknowledgements; Introduction: subtle devices: renaissance humanism and its machinery; 1. Automatopoesis: machinery and courtliness in renaissance Urbino; 2. Artificial motions: machinery, courtliness, and discipline in renaissance England; 3. Inanimate ambassadors: the mechanics and politics of mediation; 4. The polymechany of Gabriel Harvey; 5. Homer in a nutshell: Chapman and the mechanics of perspicuity; 6. Inhumanism: Spenser's iron man; Conclusion.
This book explores how mechanics participate in the intellectual culture of Renaissance humanism. Harnessing the discipline of mechanics to their literary and philosophical concerns, writers including Francis Bacon and Edmund Spenser look to machinery to ponder all manner of instrumental means, from rhetoric and pedagogy to diplomacy and courtly dissimulation.