The Occasional Papers of the Robert Boyle Project is a series begun in 2005 which now comprises four volumes. The text of each is available as a downloadable PDF file, formatted so that it can be printed either on A4 or American quarto paper.
To obtain your copy, simply click on the title or cover image of the relevant volume in the series and print out the downloaded text. A limited edition of printed and bound copies of each volume has also been produced, mainly for deposit in selected libraries; the titles have therefore been registered with ISBNs. The details of the four volumes are as follows:
Edited by Michael Hunter
ISBN 0-9551608-0-4 (10 digits); 978-0-9551608-0-6 (13 digits); xvi + 37 pp.; 1 illustration
This publication makes available hitherto unpublished material by Robert Boyle (1627-91) in the form of the sets of 'heads' and 'inquiries' that he devised, a key part of the inductive method that he developed on the basis of that of Francis Bacon (1561-1626). Following Bacon, Boyle used such lists as a means of setting himself an agenda when studying a subject, for organising data and for soliciting related information from others.
The documents in question cover a fascinating range of topics, from luminosity and elasticity to anatomy and the incidence of disease. They throw important light on Boyle's scientific interests and method.
Edited by Michael Hunter and Harriet Knight
ISBN 0-9551608-1-2 (10 digits); 978-0-9551608-1-3 (13 digits); xv + 50 pp.;1 illustration
A significant number of manuscripts survive relating to Robert Boyle's Memoirs for the Natural History of Human Blood (1684). From them, important conclusions can be drawn about the history of the work and about Boyle's intellectual method more generally. It transpires that, within months of the book's publication, Boyle began work on a revised edition in which he sought to rectify the shortcomings of the published book. The extensive surviving materials relating to this planned but unpublished second edition are presented for the first time here.
The editors are Michael Hunter, Professor of History at Birkbeck, University of London, and Director of the Robert Boyle Project, and Harriet Knight, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the AHRC Centre for Editing Lives and Letters, Queen Mary, University of London.
Edited by Michael Hunter and Peter Anstey
ISBN 978-0-9551608-2-0; xiii + 13 pp.; 1 illustration
This publication presents a new text of Robert Boyle’s prescriptions for the writing of natural history, compiled in 1666 and partially divulged in 1684, but unpublished till modern times. The current edition restores the text to its correct order for the first time, and adds various cognate documents, including certain sections of the 'Designe’ which survive elsewhere among the Boyle Papers at the Royal Society and are here first published. The result is to supply a significant document for understanding the evolution of Baconian method during the formative years of the Royal Society.
The editors are Michael Hunter, Professor of History at Birkbeck, University of London, and Director of the Robert Boyle Project, and Peter Anstey, Professor of Early Modern Philosophy at the University of Otago, New Zealand.
By Iordan Avramov, Michael Hunter and Hideyuki Yoshimoto
ISBN 978-0-9551608-3-7; xxvi + 35 pp.; 6 illustrations
This volume differs from the previous titles in not being an edition of texts but a reference work which tabulates Boyle's citations of books by page number as evidence of his book ownership. The introduction takes the opportunity to survey our knowledge of Boyle's sadly lost library by way of background to the current, unprecedented exercise.
The authors are Iordan Avramov, Research Fellow at the Centre for Science Studies and History of Science, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia; Michael Hunter, Professor of History at Birkbeck, University of London, and Director of the Robert Boyle Project; and Hideyuki Yoshimoto, Professor in the Division of Culture and Literary Studies at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.
In addition, the Boyle Project has branched out by producing the following publication presenting a key text by an admirer of Boyle's, the great collector, Sir Hans Sloane:
Edited by Michael Hunter. ISBN 978-0-9551608-4-4; xxvii + 22 pp.; 5 illustrations
This edition presents in full for the first time Sloane's memoir of the Somerset virtuoso and occultist, John Beaumont. The French text is accompanied by an English translation, a full apparatus and a lengthy introduction which elucidates the significance of the text for an understanding of Sloane's attitude to magic and to the magical manuscripts that he so assiduously collected.
As with the Occasional Papers of the Robert Boyle Project, the text of this publication may be obtained as a downloadable PDF file by clicking on the cover image to the left and printing it out. A limited edition of printed and bound copies has also been produced for library deposit and the title therefore given an ISBN.
Sloane was an acquaintance and devotee of Boyle's from his arrival in London in 1683 onwards. Thomas Birch records that Sloane cultivated Boyle's friendship 'by communicating to him whatever occurr'd to himself, which seem'd curious & important, & which Mr Boyle always received with his usual Candour & return'd with every Mark of Civility and Esteem'. Birch also recorded how Sloane told him that Boyle's 'constitution was so tender and delicate that he had divers sorts of cloaks to put on when he went abroad, according to the temperature of the air; and in this he governed himself by his thermometer'.