Learned Letters from Italy

Classical Rome, Vesuvius, and Etna in Philosophical Transactions (1665-1700)

Manuela D’Amore    Università degli Studi di Catania, Italia    



The study of the relations that the Royal Society established with Italy in the years 1665-1700 has generally been neglected by academic debate. Our purpose here is to show that there is still a lot to learn from the huge amount of letter articles that were published in vols. 1-22 of the Society's scientific journal, Philosophical Transactions, and that the type of information that its first two editors, Henry Oldenburg (c. 1619-1677) and Edmond Halley (1656-1742), circulated since 1665 was not only related to the field of Natural Philosophy, but also contributed to arouse prospective travellers' interest in the Bel Paese and its artistic and naturalistic treasures. Seen from an intertextual perspective, and divided into two macro text-based and thematic sections, the writings connected with the city of Rome, Vesuvius, and Etna will demonstrate that the journal's editorial choices were in perfect harmony with the literary trends of the time, and that the main socio-cultural phenomenon of the Enlightenment, that of the Grand Tour, has its roots in the scientific exchanges that English learned academies wanted to have since the late Stuart Era. 

Sept. 1, 2015

Keywords: The early Philosophical TransactionsRomeEtnaVesuvius

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