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“To Improve upon Hints of Things”

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Illustrating Isaac Newton

image of Nuncius

When Isaac Newton died in 1727 he left a rich legacy in terms of draft manuscripts, encompassing a variety of topics: natural philosophy, mathematics, alchemy, theology, and chronology, as well as papers relating to his career at the Mint. One thing that immediately strikes us is the textuality of Newton’s legacy: images are sparse. Regarding his scholarly endeavours we witness the same practice. Newton’s extensive drafts on theology and chronology do not contain a single illustration or map. Today we have all of Newton’s draft manuscripts as witnesses of his working methods, as well as access to a significant number of books from his own library. Drawing parallels between Newton’s reading practices and his natural philosophical and scholarly work, this paper seeks to understand Newton’s recondite writing and publishing politics.

Affiliations: 1: University of Oxford keesjanschilt@gmail.com

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/content/journals/10.1163/18253911-03101004
2016-01-01
2018-10-23

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