Logodaedalus

Word Histories of Ingenuity in Early Modern Europe

The scope and detail of this fascinating book mean that anyone who reads it will have much to learn. Its polyglot and lexicographical approach releases the study of early modern ingenuity from the corrals of individual national languages, and suggests both new ways of understanding the prehistory of ‘genius’ and of writing cultural history through scrupulous attention to the histories of words.
Kathryn Murphy, Oriel College, University of Oxford

Before Romantic genius, there was ingenuity. Early modern ingenuity defined every person—not just exceptional individuals—as having their own attributes and talents, stemming from an “inborn nature” that included many qualities, not just intelligence. Through ingenuity and its family of related terms, early moderns sought to understand and appreciate differences between peoples, places, and things in an attempt to classify their ingenuities and assign professions that were best suited to one’s abilities. Logodaedalus, a prehistory of genius, explores the various ways this language of ingenuity was defined, used, and manipulated between 1470 and 1750. By analyzing printed dictionaries and other lexical works across a range of languages—Latin, Italian, Spanish, French, English, German, and Dutch—the authors reveal the ways in which significant words produced meaning in history and found expression in natural philosophy, medicine, natural history, mathematics, mechanics, poetics, and artistic theory.

352 Pages, 6 x 9 in.

January, 2019

isbn : 9780822945413

about the authors

Alexander Marr

Alexander Marr is Reader in the History of Early Modern Art at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Trinity Hall.

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Alexander Marr
Raphaële Garrod

Raphaële Garrod is associate professor in early modern French at the University of Oxford and a fellow of Magdalen College. She is the author of Cosmographical Novelties: Dialectic and Discovery in French Renaissance Prose.

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Raphaële Garrod
José Ramón Marcaida

Jose Ramón Marcaida is Lecturer in Art History at the University of St Andrews. He is the author of Arte y ciencia en el Barroco español. Historia natural, coleccionismo y cultura visual.

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José Ramón Marcaida
Richard J. Oosterhoff

Richard J. Oosterhoff is Lecturer in Early Modern
History at the University of Edinburgh. His first
book is Making Mathematical Culture: University
and Print in the Circle of Lefèvre d’Étaples.

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Richard J. Oosterhoff