Jackson Williams K (2015) Notebooks, English Virtuosi, and Early Modern Science. Annals of Science, 72 (3), pp. 409-411. https://doi.org/10.1080/00033790.2015.1007391
First paragraph: Ars longa, vita brevis – ‘art is long, life short’. The methods by which scholars have attempted to circumvent this seemingly insurmountable contradiction, first posed by Hippocrates of Cos in the fifth century BCE, have come under increasing scrutiny in recent years. The conundrum posed by ‘Hippocrates’s Complaint’ was at the heart of Ann Blair’s landmark Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information before the Modern Age (2010). Blair explored the information overload faced by members of the early modern Republic of Letters and mapped the textual tools they devised to cope with an ars which seemed to grow longer by the moment. She also recovered the ways in which these early modern scholars thought about the increasing torrent of information. Some longed for a purge, leaving only a few truly useful texts, while others subscribed to another ancient aphorism, this time allegedly given form by Pliny the Elder, that there was no book so bad that some good might not be derived from it.
Output Type: Book Review
Annals of Science: Volume 72, Issue 3
|Funders||University of St Andrews|
|Publication date online||31/03/2015|
|Date accepted by journal||13/10/2014|
|Publisher||Informa UK Limited|