Friday, October 14, 2005

The English TM: Some More Thoughts

Some More Thoughts on the English TM

There’s something picking away at the back of my brain. It seems to me that the Theatrum Machinarum simply never existed as a native genre in the English speaking world. The nearest correlate we have is from Bate (although Wilkins presents something of an anomaly). Bate’s work dates from 1654, well after the publication of Solomon de Caus’s Les raisons des forces mouvantes in 1615.

Here are my thoughts:
  1. Was the work of de Caus, and subsequently Leupold, far more important to English technical literature than the work of Ramelli or Besson? Do citations exist in other technical works as indicated by a full text search of Early English Books Online?

  2. After my presentation this past weekend, Boyd Rayward asked if the stability of a particular documentary form was due to the underlying community. So now we have the question: Was there no underlying community of practice to support the TM in England? Was there no purpose for the work? Was the knowledge (I hate that word) contained in the works embodied in the practice of a different epistemic community i.e., Masons, etc.?

  3. The TM apparently fulfilled a role on the continent. What was that role and why was it absent in England?

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