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Reading the Skies: A Cultural History of the English Weather, 1650-1820
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Reading the Skies: A Cultural History of the English Weather, 1650-1820 (Paperback)

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Synopsis

From the time of Aristotle until the late 18th century, meteorology meant the study of "meteors" - spectacular objects in the skies beneath the moon, which included everything from shooting stars to hailstorms. In "Reading the Skies", Vladimir Jankovic traces the history of this meteorological tradition in Enlightenment Britain, examining its scientific and cultural significance. He interweaves classical traditions, folk/popular beliefs and practices, and the increasingly quantitative approaches of urban university men to understanding the wonders of the skies. He places special emphasis on the role that detailed meteorological observations played in natural history and chorography, or local geography; in religious and political debates; and in agriculture. Drawing on a number of archival sources, including correspondence and weather diaries, as well as contemporary pamphlets, tracts, and other printed sources reporting prodigious phenomena in the skies, this book should interest historians of science, Britain, and the environment.

Vladimir Jankovic is a lecturer in the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Manchester.

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