Boyle News, June 2004
Boyle Workdiaries edition moves to the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters
Robert Boyle for the 21st Century
'Revision of Fulton's Bibliography of Robert Boyle' By Roger Gaskell
Publications on Boyle since On the Boyle issue 5, March 2002
This section of the website has been jointly produced by Peter Anstey, University of Sydney, and Michael Hunter, University of London. It is the successor of the printed newsletter, On the Boyle: a Newsletter of Work in Progress on Robert Boyle (1627-91) , of which five issues were published between April 1997 and March 2002 (for copies of these, see Archive ).
As with the hard-copy On the Boyle , it comprises news of work in progress on Boyle; a list of recent publications on him; and occasional articles. The editors would welcome news of any current research on Boyle, or other events connected with him: please send these to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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Peter Anstey ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) is currently undertaking a thorough search of John Locke's manuscripts and library in order to establish a detailed analysis of the contacts between Boyle and Locke and their mutual influence. He is also commencing work on a comparison of the conceptual foundations of Boyle's law in the writings of Boyle and Edmé Mariotte.
Iordan Avramov ( email@example.com ) of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, is currently completing his study of Henry Oldenburg, and will then be starting a study of Robert Boyle as reader, using evidence from his correspondence and workdiaries.
Edward B. Davis ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) remains actively interested in Boyle although mainly working on early 20 th -century American science, and has recently completed an article on 'Science as Christian Vocation: the Case of Robert Boyle'.
Brian Dean ( email@example.com ), of the University of Illinois at Chicago, is writing a dissertation on the dispute between Robert Boyle and Henry More under the direction of Professor Lisa Downing.
Myriam Dennehy ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) is currently completing a doctoral dissertation on Boyle's Notion of Nature and his relation to Leibniz at Paris IV Sorbonne, Centre d'Etudes Cartésiennes, with Professor Michel Fichant.
William Eaton ( email@example.com ), who teaches at Georgia Southern University, is completing his Ph.D. thesis at Southern Illinois University on 'Boyle on Fire: the Mechanical Revolution in Chemical Explanation'.
Roger Gaskell ( roger@RogerGaskell.com ) is looking for someone who may be able to take over the revision of Fulton's Bibliography of Boyle which he has spent some time on but unfortunately does not have time to finish. See his article, 'Revision of Fulton's Bibliography of Robert Boyle '
Michael Hunter ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) is continuing to work on his biography of Boyle, in preparation for which he has given various talks on aspects of Boyle's life and work. He has also launched the initiative described under 'Robert Boyle for the 21 st century'. One component of this is the revision of the catalogue of the Boyle Papers, and in conjunction with this he is preparing a collection of the studies of the Boyle archive that he has published either on his own or in collaboration with others over the past twelve years.
The InteLex edition of The Works of Robert Boyle is now available either on-line or as a CD: see the details under The Works of Robert Boyle . The InteLex edition of The Correspondence of Robert Boyle and Robert Boyle by Himself and his Friends will be available later this year.
Jan-Erik Jones ( email@example.com) is working on a paper that contrasts Boyle and Locke on the 'intelligibility' of mechanical explanations.
Harriet Knight ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) completed her PhD (supervised at Birkbeck by Stephen Clucas and Michael Hunter) on 'Organising Natural Knowledge in the Seventeenth Century: the Works of Robert Boyle', in 2003. She is currently working with Michael Hunter on studies of Boyle's 'Paralipomena' and his Memoirs for the Natural History of Human Blood .
The Boyle room at the Heritage Centre at Lismore, co. Waterford , opened on 3 June 2004. It has been designed to recreate a 17 th -century laboratory, and is accompanied by information panels, images of Boyle and a short film. For further details, contact email@example.com .
Jack MacIntosh ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) is awaiting proofs of his Boyle on Atheism . Meanwhile, he has given conference papers at Dubrovnic and elsewhere on aspects of Boyle.
Bill Newman ( email@example.com ) has just had his book, Promethean Ambitions: Alchemy and the Quest to Perfect Nature published by University of Chicago Press: chapter 5 deals at some length with Boyle's assessment of the dichotomy between artificial and natural products. He is currently working on a book about matter theory and alchemy that will focus on Geber, Sennert, and Boyle.
Bill Newman and Larry Principe 's edition of George Starkey's Alchemical Laboratory Notebooks and Correspondence will be published by University of Chicago Press late in 2004 or early in 2005.
Larry Principe ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) has recently announced his discovery in the Neville Historical Chemical Library acquired by the Chemical Heritage Foundation at Philadelphia of a sheet in Newton's hand detailing the alchemical process that he hoped to acquire from Boyle's papers through the intermediacy of John Locke. He will be publishing a full account of the manuscript in due course.
'La philosophie naturelle de Robert Boyle/Robert Boyle's natural philosophy'
This is the title of an international symposium which will be held at the Université Bordeaux III Michel de Montaigne (Bordeaux, France) from 10 to 12 March 2005 . For details, contact Professor Charles Ramond ( email@example.com ).
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Boyle Workdiaries edition moves to the
Centre for Editing Lives and Letters
The Centre for Editing Lives and Letters, based at Queen Mary, University of London, is one of a number of centres set up by the Arts and Humanities Research Board to act as a focus for innovative research in the humanities. CELL is avowedly devoted to the study and dissemination of early modern texts, not least electronic ones, and the centre's website is rapidly setting new standards in this connection.
It was therefore exciting that in 2003 it was agreed that the Boyle Workdiaries should become a pilot project for the new website. For several months, work has now been in progress to produce a completely revised version of the edition, which will be beta tested over the summer and launched in the autumn. (In the meantime, the existing edition will remain available on the Boyle website.)
Though divulging the same corpus, the new edition will differ from the existing one in the following, crucial respects:
The edited text will be accompanied by a full set of colour facsimiles of the original manuscripts
The interface has been completely redesigned, so that it will be much more streamlined, efficient and interactive
There will be a search mechanism
The introductory material has been revised, and various ancillary tools have been provided, including a key to Boyle's references to his own works and a register of places.
Apart from the major input from CELL, work on the new edition has been generously funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund, the preparation of this edition - and not least the provision of the images for it - dovetailing with the work described in connection with 'Robert Boyle for the 21st Century'.
To learn more, visit the CELL website ( www.livesandletters.ac.uk ).
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Robert Boyle for the 21st Century
This is the title of a project which is being generously funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It is based at Birkbeck, which is the lead partner in the project; the co-partners are the Royal Society and Access to Archives (A2A). The research officer is Stella Wong, and the education officer is Dr Fiona Kisby of Queenswood School, Brookman's Park, Herts. The project has various interconnected components, all aimed to introduce Boyle to a wider public, not least by giving widespread access to high-quality images of his manuscripts.
- The Boyle website has been completely redesigned. More has been done to address the needs of those who want to find out about Boyle, with introductory material in the form of a time-line and a pictorial biography. In addition, there is a whole section specifically aimed at teachers and students, with lesson plans for Key Stage 3 of the National Curriculum and the GCSE course, 'Medicine through Time'. In addition, pathways will be provided to the research materials on Boyle available on-line for students doing project work.
- The research materials on Boyle available on-line are also being enhanced. A key component of the HLF project is the complete revision of the catalogue of the Boyle Letters and Papers. This was first published in 1992, and since then a massive amount of work has been done in terms of identifying and publishing material in the archive, which the new version will tabulate in full. The revised catalogue, which will be fully searchable, will be available on-line on the website of the Royal Society ( http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk ); there will be links to this from the Access to Archives website ( www.a2a.org.uk) and the Boyle website.
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- In conjunction with this, digitised versions of the core volumes of the Boyle Papers will be placed on the Boyle website, linked to entries from the revised catalogue. Further illustrations of material from the Boyle Papers - also paid for by the HLF - will appear in the edition of the workdiaries which is being launched on the CELL website and which is described above.
By Roger Gaskell
Some years ago I was asked to prepare a revised edition of John F. Fulton, A Bibliography of the Honourable Robert Boyle , (2nd edition, Oxford, 1961), and I agreed to do this in the form of an annotated reprint. Although I have done a considerable amount of work on the project, I have come to realise that I am not going to find time to finish the task in the foreseeable future, and I have informed the publishers, Oak Knoll, that I must withdraw from my contract with them. I am hoping that it may be possible to find someone else to take it over.
This is an important project. Boyle's books are unusually complex in their publishing history and physical make up. This makes them especially challenging for booksellers, collectors and librarians, for whom bibliographies like Fulton's are essential tools. But the detailed description of Boyle's books is not just of antiquarian or technical interest. Recent work in the history of the book has shown on the one hand how important a knowledge of the organisation and technology of printing is to understanding the use of print by early modern authors (Adrian Johns, The Nature of the Book, 1998), and on the other hand the fluid nature of the texts of printed books (David McKitterick, Print, Manuscript and the Search for Order, 1450-1830 , 2003).
The physical form of Boyle's books, the additions and re-arrangements of the texts and the printed apologies for missing sections, bear witness to Boyle's anxieties as an author, and at the same time make it very difficult to use the printed books as original source material. It is no exaggeration to say that no two libraries in the world have the same set of original texts of Boyle's works, both because of the variations within editions, that is between copies with the same title page, and between editions, where the original publisher's edition statement may be very misleading. An edition announced as a 'second edition' may be a reprint of the first, probably with more typographic errors, or it may contain new text.
Any serious study using the original editions of Boyle's books can therefore only be attempted once the publishing history and bibliography of the volume in hand is understood, and once the physical make up of the copy can be compared with other copies. This cannot usually be done directly, but, by reference to the bibliography, it should be possible to determine if one is reading from the same text, with the same stop press corrections, manuscript corrections, cancelled leaves, printed errata, etc., as the next scholar. And very likely make new textual discoveries along the way: theoretically, the work will not be finished until every copy has been compared, word for word, with every other.
Fulton's bibliography of Boyle was first published in 1930 and revised, but not completely re-written, in 1961. Its bibliographical method is therefore pre-classical in the sense that it pre-dates Fredson Bowers' Principles of Bibliographical Description (1949). It is, however, consistent and perfectly understandable, so that complete re-writing could not be justified, but this does mean that updating the entries with new data would be an anachronism. Furthermore as a standard work of reference it is important that the new edition can still be used to follow up citations in the literature. I have therefore sought to make only minor corrections within Fulton's entries (and identify them) and make any substantial corrections and additions in the form of annotations.
My main sources of new data are threefold. First, David Corson's careful comparison of the copies in the Sondheimer Boyle collection now at Cornell University with Fulton's entries; second, replies to a questionnaire sent to libraries cited by Fulton as owners of copies; and third the information on manuscript sources and publishing history contained in Michael Hunter's and Edward B. Davis' introductions to individual works in The Works of Robert Boyle (1999-2000). In addition I have kept notes of any errors, corrections, or additions I have noticed or been told about over the years. In writing up my annotations, so far to about a quarter of the main entries, I have checked anything I am uncertain about against the copies -- often multiple copies -- in Cambridge University Library, including the Keynes collection, which is very strong in Boyle. As well as the annotations to the entries, the bibliography needs a new introduction and improved apparatus.
I do not want the work I have done to be wasted and I am therefore looking for someone to whom I can pass on my notes and recommend to Oak Knoll to take over the project. I would be glad to supervise the work of completing the revision; or alternatively hand over the whole project. My guess is that to do a decent job, one would need to commit to up to a year's full time work, with access to a good collection of original editions of Boyle's works. If I were supervising the work, I would be able to teach someone with a good historical training the necessary bibliographical skills, and I think this might be a very useful apprenticeship for further work in the history of the book. No funding is available from the publishers, but a convincing grant application could be written and I think full funding might be obtainable; in addition I am very confident that one or more of the short term (one or two month) bibliographical fellowships offered by a few US libraries could be secured as they are often short of applicants.
If anyone is interested, please get in touch with me, and I will explain in more detail what I have done and what still needs to be done. My e-mail address is roger@RogerGaskell.com
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PUBLICATIONS ON BOYLE SINCE ON THE BOYLE ISSUE 5 (MARCH 2002)
Anstey, Peter, 'Robert Boyle and the Heuristic Value of Mechanism', Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science , 33 (2002), 161-74
'Boyle on Seminal Principles', Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences , 33 (2002), 597-630
'Robert Boyle and Locke's "Morbus" Entry: a Reply to J.C.Walmsley', Early Science and Medicine , 7 (2002), 357-77
Ben-Chaim, Michael, 'Empowering Lay Belief: Robert Boyle and the Moral Economy of Experiment', Science in Context , 15 (2002), 51-77
Burns, D.T., Essay review of The Works of Robert Boyle and The Correspondence of Robert Boyle , Ambix, 49 (2002), 158-60
Crocker, Robert, 'Robert Boyle and the spirit of nature', in his Henry More, 1614-87: a Biography of the Cambridge Platonist (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2003), 157-66
Dear, Peter, 'Boyle in the bag!' [essay review of The Works of Robert Boyle ], British Journal for the History of Science , 35 (2002), 335-40
Hamou, Philippe, 'Images anglaises de Descartes au XVII e siècle: Boyle et Hooke sur les causes finales', (Bulletin Cartésien, XXXII), Archives de Philosophie , 67 (2004), 150-62
Hirai, Hiro, ‘Quelques remarques sur les sources de Robert Boyle en guise de compte rendu de la nouvelle edition de son oeuvre', Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences , 53 (2003), 303-18
Hunter, Michael, 'Robert Boyle', in Storia della Scienza, vol. 5: La Rivoluzione Scientifica (Rome: Instituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 2002), 315-7
'On Editing the Works of Robert Boyle', Intellectual News , no. 10 (Spring 2002), 54-61
'The Disquieted Mind in Casuistry and Natural Philosophy: Robert Boyle and Thomas Barlow', in Harald E. Braun and Edward Vallance (eds.), Contexts of Conscience in Early Modern Europe 1500-1700 (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2004), 82-99
Hunter, Michael, and Principe, Lawrence M., 'The Lost Papers of Robert Boyle', Annals of Science , 60 (2003), 269-311
Littleton, Charles, 'Philanthropy and the Philosopher's Stone: Robert Boyle and the Huguenots of the Refuge', Proceedings of the Huguenot Society , 27 (2002), 679-91
'Elite Science and Popular Pleasures: Robert Boyle, Chemical Analysis and the "Islington Waters"', in Raingard Esser and Thomas Fuchs (eds.), Bäder und Kuren in der Auflärung: Medizinaldiskurs und Freizeitvergnügen (Berlin: Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, 2003), 161-83
Malcolm, Noel, 'Of Air and Alchemy' [review of The Correspondence of Robert Boyle ], Times Literary Supplement , 23 Aug. 2002, 10-11
Meynell, Guy, 'Locke's Corpuscularianism and Boyle's Corpuscular Philosophy', Locke Studies , 3 (2003), 133-45
Neto, José R. Maia, and Maia, Elene C. Pereira, 'Boyle's Carneades', Ambix , 49 (2002), 97-111
Newman, William R., Promethean Ambitions: Alchemy and the Quest to Perfect Nature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004), ch. 5
Newman, William R., and Principe, Lawrence M., Alchemy Tried in the Fire: Starkey, Boyle and the Fate of Helmontian Chymistry (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002)
Principe, Lawrence M., 'Robert Boyle's Portrait at CHF' [Chemical Heritage Foundation], Chemical Heritage , 20, no. 2 (Summer, 2002), 8-9
Ruse, Michael, 'Robert Boyle and the Machine Metaphor', Zygon , 37 (2002), 581-96
Sargent, Rose-Mary, 'Boyle in Seventeenth-century Context' [review essay], Early Science and Medicine , 8 (2003), 52-7
Walmsley, J.C., '"Morbus", Locke and Boyle: a Response to Peter Anstey', Early Science and Medicine , 7 (2002), 378-97
Wilson, Catherine, 'Corpuscular Effluvia: Between Imagination and Experiment', in Claus Zittel and Wolfgang Detel (eds.), Ideals and Cultures of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe: Concepts, Methods, Historical Conditions and Social Impact (2 vols., Frankfurt: Akademie-Verlag, 2002), i, 161-184.
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