Academics

The program provides an opportunity to earn three hours of graded credit.

ENGL 227H: The Scientific Renaissance (3 Credits)

Professor: Jessica Wolfe
Approach: Literary Arts (LA), North Atlantic World (NA), World Before 1750 (WB)
IDEAs in Action: FC-AESTH, FC-PAST

This course offers an interdisciplinary approach to the history and culture of the English and European Renaissance (ca. 1450-1700), studying important landmarks of the scientific ‘revolutions’ of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in combination with major literary works of the period. Our readings will concern major discoveries from the period in medicine, anatomy, botany, chemistry, astronomy, and physics. They will also concern new technological inventions of the Renaissance that aided in scientific investigation (the microscope and telescope in particular), and revolutions in method that refined scientific experimentation and the dissemination of scientific knowledge. We will learn how Renaissance poets and artists responded to, or participated in, major scientific discoveries and debates, how the European exploration and colonization of the New World (as well as travel to Asia and Africa) informed scientific investigation, and how the passion for curiosities and for the collection of natural artifacts ranging from seashells to ostrich eggs fueled and was fueled by advances in science and medicine. 

Writers studied will include Aristotle, Pliny, Francis Bacon, William Harvey, Thomas Browne, Robert Boyle, Margaret Cavendish, Ann Conway, Robert Hooke, John Tradescant, Christopher Marlowe, John Donne, John Milton, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Galileo Galilei.