Category Archives: Books

Central Asia’s Golden Age

[S. Frederick Starr, Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia’s Golden Age, Princeton, 2013] I can’t even say what my hazy mental picture of medieval central Asia was before I read S. Frederick Starr’s Lost Enlightenment. That’s how poorly represented it was in … Continue reading

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Early modern European automata

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Comenius’s primer for learning Latin

I recently came across a 1685 English translation of Comenius’s “World of Pictures,” which was a primer aimed at helping children to learn Latin. (Comenius’s original was for German children, but this book was translated by Charles Hoole.) The idea … Continue reading

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For the love of words

James Turner, Philology (Princeton: Princeton UP, 2014). These days we think of “the Humanities” as a natural kind. There are the natural sciences, the social sciences, the creative arts, and the humanities (and then the grab bag of more vocationally-focused … Continue reading

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Comenius, The Way of Light: “to plant the heavens and lay the foundations of the earth”

John Amos Comenius, The Way of Light, translated by E. T. Campagnac (The University Press of Liverpool, printed by Hodder & Stoughton (London), 1938). In Via Lucis, vestigata et vestiganda [“The Way of Light,” written in 1641 but not published until 1668], … Continue reading

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Encyclopédie

Philipp Blom, Enlightening the World: Encyclopédie, The Book That Changed the Course of History (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004). A bookseller named André-François Le Breton hired an Englishman named John Mills to translate Ephraim Chambers’ Cyclopedia from English into French … Continue reading

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Comenius, The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart

Jan Amos Komensky, The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart, trans. Howard Louthan and Andrea Sterk (New York: Paulist Press, 1998). Originally published in 1623, but again published in 1663 with additions. Comenius writes in the … Continue reading

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