“Francisco Hernández, the Accademia dei Lincei, and Transatlantic Encyclopedism”. McCune Conference room (HSSB 6020, IHC).
On Monday, March 4 at 5:00PM (place TBA), Professor Christopher D. Johnson, currently Visiting Associate Professor at UCLA, will visit our campus. Prof. Johnson is a specialist on Early Modern Studies and has published books on the baroque and Aby Warburg, and a translation of Quevedo's poetry (Chicago UP, 2009).
This paper reexamines the complicated fate of Francisco Hernández’s natural historical manuscripts, the chief fruit of his research in Mexico during the 1570s, in the hands of the Roman Accademia dei Lincei. At once a discerning translator of Pliny’s Historia naturalis and an avid cataloger of thousands of species of flora and fauna unknown to the ancients, Hernández effectively precipitates an encyclopedic enterprise that eventually results in the 1651 Rerum medicarum Novae Hispaniae thesaurus, a thousand-page, heavily-illustrated volume in which the Linceans dilate and condense what they see through their own and Hernández's eyes. Tellingly, this Tesoro mexicano is enthusiastically supported by Galileo, who gives a microscope to its chief backer, Francesco Cesi, who uses it to refine both his theory and his observations. Work on the Tesoro also surprisingly informs an Italian translation, by one of Cesi’s collaborators, of the satirical poet, Persius. More generally, though, the Tesoro not only would complete the “circle of learning,” but, crowned by Cesi’s "phytosophical tables" it offers a diagrammatic and thus synoptic solution to the problem of how to give order to the infinity of particulars. Straddling old and new worlds, Cesi and company try, I argue, to reconcile the many with the one.
Organized by Prof. Juan Pablo Lupi, with the support of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, the Department of French and Italian, the Comparative Literature program, the Latin American and Iberian Studies program, the Early Modern Center and the Material Text Seminar.
Links on books by Professor Johnson.