TITLE

John Aubrey, Hint-Keeper: Life-Writing and the Encouragement of Natural Philosophy in the pre-Newtonian Seventeenth Century

AUTHOR(S)
Bennett, Kate
PUB. DATE
October 2007
SOURCE
Seventeenth Century;Autumn2007, Vol. 22 Issue 2, p358
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
John Aubrey's Lives derive from a commitment to ‘encourage’ science and public projects which began in 1649 with his support of the inventor Francis Potter. Aubrey's life's work was the fostering of a diverse community of practitioners, humble and distinguished, occasional and highly committed. His Lives represent and maintain ‘conversation’ between such persons, forming a paper community in which ‘hints’ of tentative or half-formed ideas might be preserved for the public benefit. The valuation of brilliant insights over their laborious perfection and demonstration is a characteristic of the later seventeenth-century's understanding of the proper nature of gentlemanly participation in intellectual culture. However, this interest in recording and pursuing ‘hints’ leads Aubrey to share the fate of polymaths like Wren and Hooke, called by Samuel Butler ‘the Hint-Keeper’, the impressiveness of whose breadth of interests were eclipsed by the model-offered by Newton after the publication of Principia in 1687.
ACCESSION #
27717510

 

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