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More. Oh. Your name they did was more.
Oh, was oh. It's quite a tall order for an outand out nonscientist like me, John Eliot Gardiner, to get a true grip on the significance of the scientific revolution of the 17th century brought about by Monteverdi, his exact contemporaries, Bakan, Kepler and Galileo. This is deeply challenging stuff, but I suspect quite a few of you may be in the same boat and maybe not, in which case I apologize. However, there was one book that came to my aid, which I found to be a brilliant initial guide during my undergraduate years, Alfred North Whitehead's Science and the Modern World.
Whitehead claimed that the 17th century was the one which consistently and throughout the whole range of human activities, provided intellectual genius adequate for the greatness of its occasions. So, for example, Francis Bacon's Advancement of Learning Cervantes, Don Quixote and the revised variant edition of Hamlet were all published in a single year 605. And that was two years after the magical by Monteverdi. We just heard a moment ago the end of our period saw the birth of Isaac Newton in 1942, the year that Galileo died, and exactly 100 years after the publication of Copernicus de Revolucion EBOs.
From Whitehead, I learned the importance that these men gave to observation, to the difference between perception and understanding and the close attention, all of them painters, astronomers and musicians gave to irreducible and stubborn facts. Of course, Whitehead's lectures have long been superseded, not least by David Wooten's remarkable book, The Invention of Science. Professor Wooden is also a dazzling exponent of difficult concepts, which I, for one, find easier to grasp when illustrated by concrete cases.
At an intriguing example of the crossover between the artistic and scientific thinking that took place in the early years of the 17th century is to be found in the Altieri narcotic in Munich. Here is its former director, Ainult Baumgart, now retired, who showed me one of its spectacular and unexpected treasures.
We stand in front of the small, very small picture painted by Adam Alzheimer. This is the last painting that she did. He died in 62 in the back of this painting. It's inscribed Ōtomo fitted Holmer six in 09. And we must be now very precise with stating, I'm sorry, but it's very important. It's the flight to Egypt and you see the cover of Mary and Joseph Mary on the donkey with the baby. But the most extraordinary thing about the painting is the starry sky with the full moon, which is mirrored in the water.
It's the filament, the hand of God watching above this couple and this baby. It was always famous, this painting for this starry sky. For the first time, you see in this picture of sixteen or nine, the Milky Way as a myriad of stars, thousands of them until six or nine. Nobody could see that. Even today, with our naked eyes, we can't see stars in the Milky Way. People thought, well, it's milky, it's perhaps it's a cloud only with Galileo Galilei, who turned a telescope invented in 16 008 In the Netherlands, it was the sky.
And then he saw the substance of the Milky Way. He could see the moon not, as with until then, thought to be a crystalline sphere, but full of rocks, full of landscapes like the Earth itself. He saw that in December six and nine on the company day in Venice and brought this new findings in the March six in 10 to a famous book, says Sydney. It was not just the starry messenger. So we asked for the twelve full moon nights of the year six zero nine, and each full moon night disturbance changes because of the angle of the Milky Way and the position of the moon.
So in general is different from February and so on. So of all of these twelve images, we had only the image of the twelfth of June six or nine corresponds with this picture. So we can really say it is the twelfth of June six and nine when this picture was was created, which of course brings the whole story of Galileo Galilei in a new light telescope was invented in Netherlands in six or eight. When they came up with it, they never looked at the sky.
They looked into to the distance. It was a military tool. You could see the enemy before he could see you. It was a wonderful thing, but it had to be kept secret because it was a weapon. But one of these newly invented telescopes was sent in April six or nine to the pope. It was very much connected with German scientists in Rome, and they must have also used this new telescope. So we know now that in June six or nine at USit now the most important question is how can this be painted because of the rotation of the earth?
What you see in a moment in the sky, we change dramatically in the course of, let's say, fifty minutes. So to make this meticulously painted picture, this took hours, days to do it. There's something very astonishing about this. Young artists, very peculiar. And we have two sources of biographies that tell stories about him that also went into nature, sitting for a full day and a tree, just doing nothing and then returning and then making his wonderful landscapes for which he is so famous.
So he saw the sky and we can even see the situation. It's a quarter to ten on the 12th of June. So he saw it. But then this image must have been imprinted in his memory that he was able to do with this picture. A remarkable early example of looking outwards in the arts made possible by the new science. And thanks to Dr. Reinhold Schtuck. The year 1500 for some men and women right across Europe seems to have been a quasi millennial moment of end of times apprehension.
And in England, it's a mood which rises to the surface in some of Shakespeare's late plays, with old precepts exploding and collapsing all around them and startling new ideas being advanced. The only comfort for theatregoers was a sense that behind this chaos, there was the possibility of understanding some kind of new order. Here are some examples read by Dame Janet Sussman and Jamie Cameron Man's nature cannot carry the affliction. No, the fear. And now Hamlett. I have of late, but wherefore I know, not lost all my mirth fagone, all custom of exercises, and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame the earth seems to me a sterile promontory.
This most excellent canopy, the air look, you, this brave are hanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire. Why it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is, man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculty in form and moving, how express and admirable in action, how like an angel in apprehension, how like a God, the beauty of the world.
The paragon of animals. And yet to me. What is this quintessence of dust? Hamlet is probably speaking for most ordinary people here. I mean, he believes, of course, that the earth stands still and the sun and stars turn around the Earth once every 24 hours. But all is now in flux. He's now heard mention of Copernicus and probably he doesn't imagine that he intended his son centred model of the cosmos to be taken too literally. But it's still very disquieting.
Meanwhile, Shakespeare's contemporary John Donne wrestled with the problem of reason versus faith, in all likelihood, Dunn had met Galileo in Venice or Padua around six, and it may well have been the publication of Galileo's Starry Messenger in six 10, which triggered the poem we're about to hear. John Donne leaves no doubt in our minds that it is the end of a world order that he's describing here.
And new philosophy calls or in doubt. The element of fire is quite put out. The sun is lost and the earth. A no man's wit can well direct him where to look for it. And freely, men confess that this world spent when in the planets and the firmament, they seek so many new, then see that this is crumble out again to his atoms.
It is all in pieces, all coherence gone, all just supply and all relation.
Prince subject, father, son, things think God for every man alone thinks you have got to be a Phoenix and that there can be none of that kind of which he is. But he. This is the world's condition now. So, in other words, the world was no longer knowable as it once had been, its security had now begun to shatter thanks to the impact of the new science. And people were starting to realize that they were no longer at the center of a stable cosmic order.
I'm delighted to be joined by an old friend, Raymond Tallas, philosopher, historian of science, author, intellectual polymath. He's just written a new book, Lagus, about how we make sense of the World. So I began by asking Ray, how do we make sense of the world in 600?
How do we make sense of the world at any time? Because the real question is, how does something so small as us get its head around something as big as the universe? It is? As Einstein said, it is one of the greatest mysteries, the partial comprehensibility of the world. But what's interesting, I guess at the time, the scientific revolution is where you look to seek at least to extend the sense we make of the world. And that is absolutely central to the scientific revolution.
Everything, particularly the key figure of Galileo. As far as he was concerned, he wasn't interested in telling people how to get to heaven. He was interested, he says, in how the heavens go and when he was interested, how the heavens go. It wasn't about the purpose that infused the heavens. It was basically causes. Meanwhile, Shakespeare's exact contemporary, the English politician and philosopher Sir Francis Bacon, reflected the mood of the Times slightly differently.
The human understanding is unquiet. It cannot stop arrest and still presses onward. But in vain, therefore, it is that we cannot conceive of any end or limit to the world, but always of necessity it occurs to us.
That there is something beyond. Francis Bacon's point was that science shouldn't be about defending truths, but challenging them and finding the courage to experiment and to learn. Therefore, he said, a way must be opened for the human understanding, entirely different from anything hitherto known in order not just to guess and divine, but to discover and know. But this was not an entirely new idea in the very early 1400's, Leonardo da Vinci. Much more of a man of science than Bacon had foreshadowed his thinking with his insistence that before you make a general rule, test it two or three times and observe whether the tests produce the same effects.
And perhaps if Leonardo's brilliant notebooks and scientific writings that appeared in print during his lifetime, this kind of rigorous empirical approach would not have needed to wait 100 years before being formulated and then practiced. Bacons essays were translated into Italian quite early on 16 18, and dedicated to Cosimo, the second teacher, he was, of course, Galileo's patron, so the entire traffic of the mind was well underway. It may be just apocryphal, but we all know the story of how Galileo, in a single experiment, challenged Aristotle's theory about heavier objects falling faster than lighter ones by dropping balls of different weights from the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
It doesn't particularly matter whether these events actually happened, just as they're described by his pupil, but what does matter is that Galileo was able, in a controlled experiment, to refute the ideas of one of the most respected intellectual giants in all history, and in doing so, paved the way for new answers, new problems and new discoveries. And then a few years later, with his new telescope, Galileo sees the faces of Venus and the mountains of the moon and is convinced that the sun, rather than the earth, is the true center of the universe.
He invites Christian theologians to look for themselves through his telescope, and several of them flatly refuse. That's very telling, isn't it? I also asked Raymond Tallis what in essence is the importance of this period and the beginnings of the scientific revolution when we look at different levels. One is actually to question authority when we're no longer to look at what Aristotle said in order to find out how the world works. Let's investigate it ourselves. The second is obviously the focus on observation.
The third, I guess, is to put forward hypotheses that are tested. I mean, Galileo was testing hypotheses for much of his life, particularly in relation to mechanics. And the fourth was it was a suspicion that ultimately the world was a kind of machine of nature was a machine. When Galileo said the Book of Nature was written, the language of mathematics, that's very close to a mechanical idea of nature, which was developed enormously by Descartes. As far as Descartes was concerned, all of nature was mechanism, including animals and including our own bodies.
And we were ghosts in these machines. And of course, that climaxed in Newton, the whole idea of the universe being a great, huge clock of intermeshing parts. So I guess those are some of the elements of scientific revolution and one that states has emphasized in a fantastic essay on Man in Dark Times. Was this setting aside purpose that if you want to make sense of the world, don't speculate about the purposes for how it unfolds, just look at how it unfolds.
But what an enormous seismic shift that represents in thinking. It must have been so disorientating for people at the time if they'd really thought through the consequences of Hitler centricity.
I think haunting all this conversation is, is the toppled statue of Aristotle. And I was thinking about Aristotle's notion that things only move if they are continued to make the move that what Galileo brought to the party was the notion of inertia, that things will continue moving in a straight line unless acted upon by a force for Aristotle. There had to be some kind of force continuing in uprisings. And it's the abolition of purpose, I think, from the Galilean universe and its replacement by well, let's see what's in front of us and let's see it as far as it were having a mathematical structure, it makes the intelligibility of the world no longer, as it were, a reflection of a God.
And already you can see in his project massive secularization, even though, like the other giants of the scientific revolution to outward appearances, he was quite devout. I mean. Unlike Galileo, the mathematician Johannes Kepler was profoundly devout, but he was struggling to find a realistic physical explanation of how bodies move through space. What's moving them? How do they turn where there are no obvious markers or guides?
Unlike Galileo, with his concept of inertia, Kepler became convinced that the driving force is located in the sun, pushing the planets along a bit like a magnetic force will be coming back to this topic later on. There were parallel technical innovations in the world of art, too. In Rome, Caravaggio was relying on the church for his very living. And yet he, more than any other living Italian painter, was creating a passionate new Catholic art, reimagining the scriptures and relating them to his own times.
But his skills go way beyond the depiction of straightforward human tableaus. Jonathan Jones, the art historian and writer, suggests, rather surprisingly, that Caravaggio is also perhaps the greatest still life painter who ever lived.
It's a fascinating thing because only wants to like painting by him survives a single one. He did a painting of a basket of fruit. The basket is teetering over the edge of the table. The fruit is meticulously and absolutely depicted in a way which is, some people might say, photographic. I'd say it is much better than a photograph, but it has a fullness and a richness and a rightness in a wetness, in a moistness and a life to it.
That's you really if you could reach each one of it, except if you did, which I need to be a bit like his boy bitten by a lizard because it's obviously rot in decay starting to happen. It's just at the moment between being perfect and actually disintegrating and turning and being worm eaten. It's stranger and stranger. The longer you look at it, he could do. Kind of perfect mimesis, but that's actually not what he does in his paintings, he does in parts of his paintings, whereas other parts of his paintings are, of course, famously deep shadow and, you know, deeply ambiguous.
Right. He's more or less self-taught as far as we know. And he's been credited with quite a lot of technical innovations, advances in perspective and chiaroscuro. But do you go along with the the idea that he was, in effect, the first master of photographic technique? A couple of centuries before the formal invention of the camera? I mean, I'm thinking of the way he's reported to have turned his studio into a giant camera obscura, you know, punching a hole in the ceiling to help project images onto his canvas while he's painting in the dark.
It's claimed that Caravaggio used chemicals to turn his canvases into into primitive photographic film.
I suppose I've got the sort of humanist suspicion of all those kinds of theories because, you know, they militate against the miraculous genius of great artists in the past. The mayor is an artist who is pretty much proven to have used a camera obscura. Yeah, but the effect is very different from totally different painting. I'm not saying he didn't experiment with the camera obscura or, you know, but I think the choices an artist makes are what matter. There are lots of people use a camera today, but there's only one Martin Scorsese.
If you look at the painting of a basket of fruit that shows a sort of innate genius in Caravaggio, an ability which I don't think a camera would make a difference to that at all.
I mean, I think it's a plausible argument. Well, to some extent, yes. Given that his aim, his overall aim appears to be to. Shatter the difference between art and life, any technique that would have helped him to do that. Yes, he might have tried, although he doesn't try crude techniques he doesn't use to employ he doesn't use Trixi methods again, because what he's trying to do is not to create an effect, but to literally make the art as real and vivid as well.
You know, when when you see one of his martyrdoms, you are a witness to the martyrdom. You become emotionally involved in this terrible drama.
And there was a terrible personal drama playing out in Monteverdi's life at this time, Muse's, pour out your heart and tears in your.
This guy's got. We got music, we still got. Jackie O Linguistical. Oh, please, your. Chris. I told. Just one last word on that technical overlap between artists and scientists at the time, I mean, Yohannes Kepler is an exact contemporary of Monteverdi and Caravaggio. He says that he used a camera obscura to make a drawing of a landscape, that he wasn't a professional painter at all. But he said I did it not as a painter, but as a mathematician.
I find that fascinating, that so many of these artists and scientists, they overlap. They're they're they're not just confined to a single genre, as it were. Galileo and Kepler are interested in drawing, in painting and in music.
Absolutely. If Caravaggio did experiment with Camera Obscura, yes, he was doing something similar to what scientists were doing. And, you know, his patron, Cardinal Delmonte, was also a patron of Galileo. And not only that, but also did experiments himself in alchemy. And he had an apothecary's shop. And he was he was very much part of the new science. Galileo also had the artistic ability to draw what he saw as his wonderful book on sunspots.
I only recently saw it for the first time. Galileo's book and Sunspots is incredible again with his own drawings, which are now startling. And the traditional belief was that the celestial sphere is unchanging, that the heavens are unchanging, that that change only happens here in our Solutionary existence. But Galileo shows well, the moon is clearly a it's a real solid body. And here is the sun changing all the time, the surface of the sun changing all the time.
And sunspots. I mean, clearly, there's something deeply similar between that and the empiricism of Caravaggio. Galileo is showing us things that couldn't have been seen before. He has the technology to do it through his telescope. Isn't Caravaggio doing exactly the same thing? Leave out the camera obscura. He is showing us things that had not been represented in art form, on canvas, things about himself, things about human psychology, which are absolutely pertinent to the situation he finds himself in under the equivalent to the scientific discoveries of the day.
I had the great privilege of being able to discuss some of these points about Galileo in Oxford with the distinguished mathematician Sir Roger Penrose. Like Galileo, Penrose grew up in a musical and artistic family. If I go there as he was an artist and he knew what shadows and things do, and so he realized these were creators and because of his artistic understanding, he knew what was going on. He looked at the moon.
How do you see the progression from Copernicus being?
Galileo had a much broader understanding of things. I think that's the point. And Copernicus just considered the sun's center. Well, who knows what he really thought because he could have got into trouble with it if he said, you know, the earth isn't the center or something. But an important point was that people would feel, look, if the earth is moving around the sun of that great speed, why don't we feel it? The swish of the earth going around the sun.
But you see the beautiful description he has on the boat. You imagine the boat is moving smoothly along and you have this water dripping into it into a bowl and you have flies or something in a cage and they don't get fattened up to one side. The water drips straight down into the into the well, no matter how fast the ship is moving. So this what we call Galileo and relativity was completely understood by him. And he talks about fireworks.
Yeah. And you see the fireworks boom and down this thing comes, it remains a sphere. Is it for the Cascade Cascade? And he explains all this. And there is very much part of the foundations of general relativity. And when you're falling freely, it's as though there was no gravitational field. And to take this as a foundation, I mean, that's what Einstein did on the basis of his general theory of relativity. The Galileo sort of had the same idea.
That was Sir Roger Penrose. Let's go back for a moment to Monteverdi.
Sestina oh, before the sun will give light to the earth by night and the moon by day before Glaucus will cease to kiss and to honor this blessed by.
They saw. And then.
This was Monteverdi's Requiem for a brilliant young singer, Catarina Martinelli, who'd been his people and had been a lodger with him and had died of smallpox at the age of 18, not just before she was due to sing the title role of his second opera audience.
Who said she was in need of? To the tune of.
Monteverdi's invoking an old model of the heavens to give security and permanence and comfort to him while the music is wracked with grief and intense feeling, there's still a semblance of the old order in forming the music principle can lead off to.
Yes, I thought this was the heavenly spheres be kind to him now alone with the pain of his weakness.
Oh. So I thought this was your last. Dada Lanata from Monteverdi Sestina, written in memory of his wonderful singer, Caterina Martinelli, who died in 1988 and sung here by friends and members of the Monteverdi choir. Defying those who saw music as an immovable sphere held in place by strict harmonic proprieties, Monteverdi rejected rigid formalism in favor of music that moved in every sense, music that lived as vividly as those who inspired it and stirring men and women's passions.
No other composer had done this to this level before. But just as Monteverdi had his critics, trouble was now brewing for Galileo to his eye in RIFs, Galileo is on the cusp of some troubles.
A new star is going to emerge, and that's really crucial for Galileo. It's a first step in disclosing a Copernican tendency.
Let's say he goes to writes a dialogue in which rustics perform surveying maneuvers to explain what Parallax is and to disprove traditional Aristotelian notions of a changeless heavens beyond the moon to ridicule them.
So all of that was very enjoyable to Galileo. He gave public lectures on the new star of Stick's for got a lot of publicity. The fact that the dialogue is written in dialect didn't really impair its circulation. People could make it out and they thought it was funny.
But at the very moment that is in Mantua, a copyist who has been in his house diligently copying his treatise on how to use the sector has parted ways with him. I don't know if he was fired or what, but he goes to the Inquisition. He denounces Galileo and he he has some charges that he brings up against him. And they're pretty trivial. They say that he casts horoscopes for friends and that he only goes to church when he wants to find a crony.
These charges were dismissed, but they were kept on file and they were later consulted in 16 16 when Copernican worldview was condemned. And then again, of course, in sixteen thirty three after he published his dialogue concerning the two chief world systems. So it seems to me that there's a very good emblem of Galileo at this point, and it's offered by Angiulo engineer, who is a poet and a theorist of drama. And he knew them all, all of these characters.
And he calls Galileo in an obscure poem, a new Prometheus, this figure that's too clever by half who brings the gift of fire or civilisation to humans and who ends up paying perpetually for this transgression.
He just wasn't very smart, was he?
When it terms in terms of positioning himself in a tactful light, it does seem in hindsight at least, that there were some very strategic blunders. So, for instance, when the decree of Sixteen Sixteen comes out, a writer in Rome, Tassone immediately writes to his publisher and says, Get that Copernican stuff out of my book. Edit it all out. I don't want it. Galileo seems to have very little notion that any of this would have to do with him, even though he's been explicitly warned.
So to us today, it looks like hubris.
These new discoveries were deeply unsettling to the established order.
As retailers now explains, it's a bit of a shock to discover the Earth isn't the center of the universe because that then changes the relationship between God, man and nature. It all fitted in very nicely with man being, as it were, handmade, especially by God with a privileged position in the universe. And suddenly the earth is discovered not to be the center of the universe. Galileo tried to gloss it quite positively by saying that his discoveries had made or rather commonness.
Discoveries had made the Earth a heavenly body. So it was promotion for the Earth, but actually looked a little bit like demotion. I guess that was a suspicion that the church had. This is the beginning of tearing things apart and also is an attack on authority, even if it's an authority over areas where clearly they didn't have authority, such as the nature of nature was a serious threat.
And they also have some of them just quite clearly refused to look at the evidence. I mean, it would not even put the telescope to their eye or their eye to the telescope. They just were in denial. And that's something we come across all the time that we I mean, that that is an eternal feature of humanity. Don't trouble my mind with the facts. I've got my opinions and they are more sacred than any fact and still current today.
With all his faults, Galileo is rightly acknowledged as one of the heroes of the scientific revolution. But he's not the only one Johannes Kepler remains to this day a relatively neglected figure, yet without his research and discoveries, Galileo's publications would have taken a very different course and where Galileo was capricious and opportunistic. My impression of capital is that he had complete singleness of mind and integrity. There is an optimism and a warmth to his personality that can't be unconnected to his deep engagement with music.
He might not have had Galileo's musical training or his practical expertise, but music still runs through his veins. Even his major scientific publication, The Harmony of the World of 16 19, has a musical title. And Kepler uses music as a metaphor for the scientific theories he wanted to convey. I managed to snatch a conversation in Italy with a very close friend and musical colleague, Marco Postino, who, although his day job is that of principal bassoon of the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, and as a teacher in Salzburg, he knows more about the cultural resonance of this period than anyone else I know.
So what's his view of Kepler? It's very interesting for us because he takes the music as a perfect example for harmony in the universe, and the consequence is that for him, God is music. God made something fantastic outside there. And the whole cosmos is made very similar to the way we understand music today.
And he makes a fantastic comparison between planets and North.
Like he says, it's like on the clavichord, the big the important nodes are attracting smaller nodes like smaller planets and the interaction between big planets and small planets. It's like in music when you use strong chords, important nodes and less important nodes, the gravity between important and less important nodes. It's very, very fascinating, Kepler writes.
The heavenly motions are nothing but a continuous song for several voices perceived not by the ear but by the intellect, a figured music which sets landmarks in the immeasurable flow of time. In his very first major book, Kaeppeler argued that the spacing between the planets, assuming a Copernican system, was the spacing you'd get if the five platonic solids had been nestled within each other. The cube, the dodecahedron, the icosahedron, the octahedron and the tetrahedron. For Kaeppeler, God is the architect of the universe, and there's nothing random about it.
In fact, he sees God as playful and that his work in constructing the universe is unfinished. What Bauhaus Kepler a things when they're two regular like clocks or consonants in music. It's not that he's favoring dissonance, but that he wants a variety. You need a balance of the two, he said. And that's precisely what Monteverdi, who's under attack from the Conservatives, is doing so creatively at this very same time. The inference of Kepler's work extended well beyond his own generation of scientists, for example, Isaac Newton steadfastly refused to name him in his Principia.
And yet the minutes of the Royal Society prove that Kepler's laws had a preponderant influence on Newton. When I mentioned Kaeppeler to Sir Roger Penrose, his eyes lit up and he talked about a connection he was able to make between Kepler and his own theory of non periodic tiles.
Kepler was extremely inventive in all sorts of ways. There was a page in How Am I Can? One day my father had a copy of this book and I had seen this page, but I hadn't thought much about it when I produced my pentagonal or five-fold or tenfold fold symmetric patterns. And these non periodic things. You see, what this page has is for what reason? I don't know, but I can speculate. It was a picture of all sorts of long holographic patterns and symmetries.
When I say because of the graphic, you see the crystal graphic symmetries are twofold, threefold, fourfold and six fold. And you can have regular patterns with that symmetry. And that's produced, you know, mathematical theorem, which tells you that the only ones that he has all these patterns with all these different symmetries which he was exploring and the biggest one in the middle has Pentagons. And later on, I compared my Pentagon picture with that one. And if you get it in the right, what it exactly fits to the line.
I must say, I find these moments of sudden engagement with the past hugely exciting. For me, it would be like discovering a completely new lost opera by Monteverdi. I'd like to close this podcast by returning to the ordinary people and the supreme chronicler of their lives and concerns William Shakespeare. I asked the Shakespeare scholar Charles Nicol how receptive his audiences might have been to Shakespeare's extraordinary cornucopia of ideas. What would the average theatregoer in 600 have really known about the outside world and the new scientific discoveries?
I think the average theatregoer of 600 would feel him or herself to be a very well-informed person because there was so much information coming in from so many different parts of the world due to the expansion of trade and exploration. Some of it, of course, legendary, like the search for Elderado. They might believe there was a golden king in the jungles of South America. They might believe they were anthropomorphic iron men whose heads to grow beneath their shoulders as a fellow believed based on the traveller's tales of the end of the day.
But the average Elizabethan would have a much more complete sense of how the world fitted together and how the differences of different areas showed the varieties and possibilities of human society, of flora and fauna, of produce. Of course, a lot of exploration essentially came down to what could be brought back that was useful about something even more basic.
Would your theatregoer have thought that the globe, the Earth was the center of the universe, or would he have read or had heard of Copernicus and had a glimpse of his eccentricity by 1500?
He certainly would have had a glimpse of it and have heard this outlandish theory that the Earth went around the sun rather than vice versa, and that the evidence of his eyes was, in this respect, misleading, so that when Hamlet tells Horatio there are more things in heaven and earth and are dreamt of in our philosophy, Copernican ism might be one of the things that Hamlet was implying that was beyond our previous. Ken Copernicus is an interesting case in point because of course, there were lots of different ways in which Copernicus was interpreted.
And one of those ways very current in the last decades of the 16th century was a more mystical, magical interpretation of heliocentrism exemplified by the eccentric Italian philosopher occultist Giordano Bruno, who was in London in the 1980s, lecturing and disputing, causing all sorts of controversy about his sort of son centred Okkult sort of philosophy.
And he suffered for it and his death.
It was burned in the camp with the fury in Rome. Exactly. But he was a talking point in Elizabethan England. And his version of Copernicus might be one that impinge more on Shakespeare than what we would regard as the straight sort of astronomical science of the situation. If I were looking for scientific material in Shakespeare's plays and well, I did look for one particular kind of scientific material because my first book about Shakespeare was about the importance as a theme and as a body of symbolism, of alchemy in the writing of the period.
And Shakespeare's King Lear, for example, and the late plays I found to be suffused with alchemical imagery and suffused with an idea of transformation, of dissolution and reconstruction, which is the rhythm of the alchemical opus. I couldn't say that the Shakespeare's late plays reflect a desire for hard empirical reasoning so much as a desire to understand the fluctuations and depths of the human heart and how the breakdowns that occur in life might be healed, how losses might be restored, how treasures that have been ignored might be valued.
Are love wounds never heal weary, it's pointless hiding for. By now, I recognize the symptoms of the old wound that my heart reopened and its healing has been a long way coming.
Your. Goes beyond. By. Heidi. Grand Theft Auto. If he doesn't come home. Oh, I. Good, good, good. Mausi.