By Alisha Rankin, Elaine Leong

Secrets and techniques performed a vital position in alterations in clinical and clinical wisdom in early glossy Europe. As a brand new fascination with novelty started to take carry from the past due 15th century, Europeans thirsted for formerly unknown information about the flora and fauna: new crops, animals, and different items from nature, new recipes for scientific and alchemical systems, new wisdom in regards to the human physique, and new proof concerning the method nature labored. those 'secrets' grew to become well known goods of trade and exchange, because the quest for brand new and particular bits of data met the colourful early sleek industry. no matter if disclosed greatly in print or saved extra circumspect in manuscripts, secrets and techniques helped force an increasing curiosity in buying wisdom all through early glossy Europe. Bringing jointly overseas students, this quantity presents a pan-European and interdisciplinary review at the subject. every one essay deals major new interpretations of the position performed by way of secrets and techniques of their region of specialization. Chapters tackle key topics in early smooth background and the historical past of drugs, technology and know-how together with: the ownership, flow and trade of mystery wisdom throughout Europe; alchemical secrets and techniques and laboratory tactics; patronage and the upper-class marketplace for secrets and techniques; clinical secrets and techniques and the rising marketplace for proprietary drugs; secrets and techniques and cosmetics; and, secrets and techniques and the physique and at last gender and secrets and techniques.

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38 Secrets and Knowledge in Medicine and Science, 1500–1800 18 attraction of secrets revealed by a woman, whether or not Cortese was the true author. In most printed books of secrets, however, women hover just beneath the surface. Manuscript sources, in contrast, add a rich diversity of female authors and compilers of secrets. Many, like Anna of Saxony, were gentlewomen and had large court distilleries at their disposal. Anna, for example, had a distilling house with 12 ovens, and she engaged in avid exchange of ‘secret arts’ with aristocratic women and men, as well as some physicians.

The past concentration upon printed books of secrets has led to a focus on formal institutional spaces as locations for the creation of and circulation of secrets – for example, Eamon writes of Ruscelli’s academia segreta, within which 27 members dedicated their days to experimental research. Yet sources such as the domestic manuscript notebooks of secrets and recipes, annotated books of secrets and personal writings suggest the importance of the early modern household in transferring and producing secrets.

By way of orientation, I would like to begin by introducing two famous books of secrets whose simultaneous appearance in the year 1555 will provide the starting point for my discussion. 4 Its editor, Francesco Storella, a professor of rhetoric at the University of Naples, gave the work a good deal more attention and editorial care than had any scholar since Roger Bacon in the thirteenth century – certainly more, given the state of scholarship at the time, than it merited. For, by the time Storella’s edition appeared, the Secretum was so generally regarded as spurious that sixteenthcentury editors of the Aristotelian corpus rarely bothered to mention the work.

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