Reading the Skies A Cultural History of the English Weather, 1650-1820
- List Price: $87.00
- Binding: Hardcover
- Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
- Publish date: 04/01/2001
From the time of Aristotle until the late eighteenth 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 Britain from 1650 to 1820, examining its scientific and cultural significance.
Jankovic 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 will interest historians of science, Britain, and the environment.