Abstract

This article explores the conversational dynamics of a transnational and multi-confessional epistolary community in order to assess the complex ways that allegiance in multiple networks shaped the production of knowledge in the early Enlightenment. By looking closely at an epistolary network of Catholic scholars from northern Italy and Protestant scholars from Switzerland, the article argues that deeply-felt differences of country and confession were not only compatible with, but may have actually generated commitment to, the Republic of Letters. At the same time, the diversity within this network of scholars shaped the kind of knowledge they jointly produced. The strategies they improvised in their epistolary exchanges redefined their mutual field of study: the natural history of the earth and of the mountains that both divided and united them.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-315X
Print ISSN
0013-2586
Pages
pp. 141-157
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-27
Open Access
No
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