Distributed by The University of Chicago Press:
Claartje Rasterhoff, The Fabric of Creativity in the Dutch Republic, 1580–1800 (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2017), 352 pages, ISBN: 978 90896 47023, $149.
The Dutch Republic was a cultural powerhouse in the modern era, producing lasting masterpieces in painting and publishing—in the process transforming those fields from modest trades to booming industries. This book asks the question of how such a small nation could become such a major player in those fields. Claartje Rasterhoff shows how industrial organizations played a role in shaping patterns of growth and innovation—as early modern Dutch cultural industries were concentrated geographically, highly networked, and institutionally embedded, they were able to reduce uncertainty in the marketplace and stimulate the commercial and creative potential of painters and publishers—though those successes eventually came up against the limits of a saturated domestic market and an aversion to risk on the part of producers that ultimately brought an end to the boom.
Claartje Rasterhoff is a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer in arts and culture studies at Erasmus University, Rotterdam.
Maria Sibylla Merian, Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium Verandering der Surinaamsche insecten / Transformation of the Surinamese Insects, edited by Marieke van Delft (Tielt: Lannoo Publishers, 2017), 200 pages, ISBN: 978 94014 33785, $145 / €99.
Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717) was a German naturalist and scientific illustrator. She is considered to be among the most significant contributors to the field of entomology because of her careful observations and documentation of the metamorphosis of the butterfly. In 1705, Merian published Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium, for which she became famous. No more than 30 copies of this masterwork are left worldwide. In 2017, it will be 300 years since Maria Sibylla Merian’s death. To mark the occasion, a facsimile of Merian’s highly successful book will be released. Modern readers will at last be able to see with their own eyes how detailed and colourful Merian’s magnificent work was. The book includes a comprehensive introduction and background information by renowned historians and biologists.
Included is a foreword by Merian specialist Redmond O’Hanlon and a biographical introduction by art historian Ella Reitsman. Kay Etheridge, professor biology at Gettysburg College, discusses the meaning of Merian’s work for biology, and Bert van de Roemer talks about the historical context.
Marieke van Delft is Curator of Early Printed Collections at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, National Library of the Netherlands, in The Hague. She studied history and book history at the universities of Amsterdam and Leiden and gained her doctorate in cultural studies at the KU Leuven. Van Delft has published on many aspects of the history of the printed book in the Netherlands. In collaboration with Uitgeverij Lannoo she has created real-size facsimile editions of major books from the collections of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek: Atlas De Wit (2012), Nozeman & Sepp, Nederlandsche vogelen (2014), and Merian’s Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium (2016).
From Harvard UP:
Yota Batsaki, Sarah Burke Cahalan, and Anatole Tchikine, eds., The Botany of Empire in the Long Eighteenth Century, Dumbarton Oaks Symposia and Colloquia (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2017), 406 pages, ISBN: 978 08840 24163, $90 / £67 / €81.
This book brings together an international body of scholars working on eighteenth-century botany within the context of imperial expansion. The eighteenth century saw widespread exploration, a tremendous increase in the traffic in botanical specimens, taxonomic breakthroughs, and horticultural experimentation. The contributors to this volume compare the impact of new developments and discoveries across several regions, broadening the geographical scope of their inquiries to encompass imperial powers that did not have overseas colonial possessions—such as the Russian, Ottoman, and Qing empires and the Tokugawa shogunate—as well as politically borderline regions such as South Africa, Yemen, and New Zealand. Essays examine the botanical ambitions of eighteenth-century empires; the figure of the botanical explorer; the links between imperial ambition and the impulse to survey, map, and collect botanical specimens in ‘new’ territories; and the relationships among botanical knowledge, self-representation, and material culture.
Yota Batsaki is Executive Director of Dumbarton Oaks.
Sarah Burke Cahalan is Director of the Marian Library, University of Dayton.
Anatole Tchikine is Assistant Director of Garden and Landscape Studies, Dumbarton Oaks.