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Miscellanea Curiosa,

or: individualised “natural particulars”.

Projekt of Dr. Fabian Krämer

A striking characteristic of most descriptions and images of "natural practices" (Anthony Grafton und Nancy G. Siraisi) during the sixteenth and early seventeenth century seems to fly in the face of the very concept of the particular: it is their lack of individualisation.

The descriptions tend to be rather short, the information given on the form or anatomy of the object in question is scarce, and the images are more often than not schematic. Or so at least they appear if we compare them to what we find in journals such as the Philosophical Transactions or indeed the Miscellanea curiosa, the journal of the Academia Naturae Curiosorum (today the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina) in the second half of the seventeenth century. Both the descriptions and the images in these early naturalist journals seem to be less constrained by convention and are more specific. Above all, they typically individualise their object: abundant detail renders the thing in question more than just another example of a type shaped by learned tradition. This project enquires into the reasons for this remarkable shift.

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