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Books Of Wonders: From Rarity To Regularity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter provides a provisional inventory and analysis of the books of wonders that were published in the Dutch Republic between about 1590 and 1715. Although all of the works seem to address a broad public, the question of the reception of these books will not be dealt with here, where the focus is on the contents of these works. Books of wonders, as we shall see, were primarily books about the Book of Nature. Their content and purport show a striking correspondence with such phenomena as cabinets of curiosities. The work looks forward to the insect, snowflake and pile-worm theology that was to become so popular in the Dutch Republic in the eighteenth century. The book of wonders, like the Book of Nature, referred no longer to the library, but to the natural world of the Netherlands.

Keywords: Book of Nature; books of wonders; Dutch Republic; Netherlands

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