This article investigates an early modern paradigm shift that embraces various areas of the collective imagination, notably time, space and subjectivity. The medieval view of time as cyclical and inscribed within the ultimate triumph of immutable eternity, under the reassuring control of a God that created humans in his semblance, is superseded by a mechanical perception of time that gives rise to a form of chronophobia. Likewise, what was regarded as the spherical shape of creation, resulting from the design of God as geometrician, starts to give way to a boundless concept of the infinite intended as an overwhelming plurality of intersecting spheres. Moreover, the development of cartography and of terrestrial globes induces a new sense of complexity, which impacts also on the conceptualisation of the human, as shown by John Donne’s poetry, where subjectivity is associated with the convex and spherical. The anxieties arising from these worldviews are balanced in various artefacts by the presence of a compass, which reasserts the possibility of controlling events. Briefly, although the advancement of knowledge corrodes the privileged position humans had within the medieval view of creation, a new faith in the human asserts itself, reinstating a principle of agency.

Philology of Conceptualisation: Geometry and the secularisation of the early modern imagination / Ascari, Maurizio. - In: PHILOLOGY. - ISSN 2297-2625. - STAMPA. - 2:(2016), pp. 121-140.

Philology of Conceptualisation: Geometry and the secularisation of the early modern imagination

ASCARI, MAURIZIO
2016

Abstract

This article investigates an early modern paradigm shift that embraces various areas of the collective imagination, notably time, space and subjectivity. The medieval view of time as cyclical and inscribed within the ultimate triumph of immutable eternity, under the reassuring control of a God that created humans in his semblance, is superseded by a mechanical perception of time that gives rise to a form of chronophobia. Likewise, what was regarded as the spherical shape of creation, resulting from the design of God as geometrician, starts to give way to a boundless concept of the infinite intended as an overwhelming plurality of intersecting spheres. Moreover, the development of cartography and of terrestrial globes induces a new sense of complexity, which impacts also on the conceptualisation of the human, as shown by John Donne’s poetry, where subjectivity is associated with the convex and spherical. The anxieties arising from these worldviews are balanced in various artefacts by the presence of a compass, which reasserts the possibility of controlling events. Briefly, although the advancement of knowledge corrodes the privileged position humans had within the medieval view of creation, a new faith in the human asserts itself, reinstating a principle of agency.
2016
Philology of Conceptualisation: Geometry and the secularisation of the early modern imagination / Ascari, Maurizio. - In: PHILOLOGY. - ISSN 2297-2625. - STAMPA. - 2:(2016), pp. 121-140.
Ascari, Maurizio
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/579299
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