New Book | Commercial Visions in the Dutch Golden Age

Posted in books by Editor on February 2, 2015

From The University of Chicago Press:

Dániel Margócsy, Commercial Visions: Science, Trade, and Visual Culture in the Dutch Golden Age (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2014), 336 pages, ISBN: 978-0226117744, $40.

9780226117744Entrepreneurial science is not new; business interests have strongly influenced science since the Scientific Revolution. In Commercial Visions, Dániel Margócsy illustrates that product marketing, patent litigation, and even ghostwriting pervaded natural history and medicine—the ‘big sciences’ of the early modern era—and argues that the growth of global trade during the Dutch Golden Age gave rise to an entrepreneurial network of transnational science.

Margocsy introduces a number of natural historians, physicians, and curiosi in Amsterdam, London, St. Petersburg, and Paris who, in their efforts to boost their trade, developed modern taxonomy, invented color printing and anatomical preparation techniques, and contributed to philosophical debates on topics ranging from human anatomy to Newtonian optics. These scientific practitioners, including Frederik Ruysch and Albertus Seba, were out to do business: they produced and sold exotic curiosities, anatomical prints, preserved specimens, and atlases of natural history to customers all around the world. Margócsy reveals how their entrepreneurial rivalries transformed the scholarly world
of the Republic of Letters into a competitive marketplace.

Margócsy’s highly readable and engaging book will be warmly welcomed by anyone interested in early modern science, global trade, art, and culture.

Dániel Margócsy is assistant professor at Hunter College, City University of New York.

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C  O N T E N T S

List of Illustrations

1  Baron von Uffenbach Goes on a Trip: The Infrastructure of International Science
2  Shipping Costs, the Exchange of Specimens, and the Development of Taxonomy
3  Image as Capital: Forging Albertus Seba’s Thesaurus
4  Anatomical Specimens in the Republic of Letters: Scientific Publications as Marketing Tools
5  Commercial Epistemologies: The Anatomical Debates of Frederik Ruysch and Govard Bidloo
6  Knowledge as Commodity: The Invention of Color Printing
7  Peter the Great on a Shopping Spree


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