Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Traveling for work through Monday July 21

Hello all! I just want to put up a note that I'll be traveling for work through Monday so question-posting and comment-approving may be sporadic, depending on my schedule and/or internet availability.

(For those curious, this is where I'm going to be!)


  1. Interesting work destination.

    I'm reading Parry on John Dee, but details on observations of the comets of the Elizabethan years - 1577 was the main one - are a bit sparse.

    Any suggestions?

  2. I think I have a few books at work that might have info. I'll be back in the office tomorrow, so I'll check then.

  3. Finally had a chance to look at my books in my office.... yesterday ended up just too crazy.

    The most lengthy discussion I found about the Comet of 1577 specifically is in "Comets: A Chronological History of Observation, Science, Myth, and Folklore" by Donald K. Yeomans (an asteroid and comet researcher who, I think, still works at JPL). IT looks like most of the discussion is about Tycho’s work on the comet.

    There was a short mention in “Comet of the Century: From Halley to Hale-Bopp” by Fred Schaaf. Not much detail, but mentions that Elizabeth I went out and looked at it even though she was warned it might bring bad luck.

    If you want to dig into the subject generally, there is “Astronomical Thought in Renaissance England: A Study of English Scientific Writings from 1500 to 1645” by Francis R. Johnson. It was published in 1968, but I think it is the only scholarly book out there on specifically *English* astronomy of the period.

    In the last book, there is a pretty nice bibliography of contemporary works, including a “A View of Certain Wonderful effects… of the Comete, or blasing star, which appeared in … 1577” by a T.T. (probably Thomas Twyne). A quick search didn’t turn up a copy digitized by Google or, etc. but it looks like it may be in one of the Harleian Miscellany transcriptions. It would take a little more searching than I have time for at the moment unfortunately.

    Hope this helps!

  4. Thanks, Lara. Will follow the references.

    Parry is good on the politics of divination, but doesn't reflect on Dee's beliefs.

    I guess astrology is like divinity or economic theory - all embracing but hostile to experience.


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