Bernhard Varenius (1622-1650)

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Bernhard Varenius’ books influenced the history of science in such a way that Isaac Newton, Alexander von Humboldt and Tsar Peter the Great all referred to him. Varenius wrote the first comprehensive description of Japan ( Descriptio regni Japoniae, 1649) from a European perspective, exclusively based on a diversity of sources. But the impact of his Geographia generalis (1650) explains his ranking among the founding fathers of geography as a science. He called ‘general’ geography a branch of (applied) mathematics which does not deal with regional specifics. The contributions in this book focus on his multi-faceted work, the influence of his books and the tragically short life of this young polymath from Germany who benefited from the intellectually stimulating milieu of Leiden and Amsterdam.

Contributors include: Horst Walter Blanke, Reinhard Düchting, Klaus Lehmann, Robert Mayhew, Sandra Rebok, Folker Reichert, Frank Richter, Margret Schuchard, Denis J.B. Shaw, Ulrich Staffhorst, Johann Anselm Steiger, Rienk H. Vermij, and Ernst-Christian Volkmann.
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Biographical Note

Margret Schuchard, Dr. Phil. (1970) in English Literature, Heidelberg University, was senior lecturer at Heidelberg, now retired. She has published on biography and bibliography, literary genres, politics and literature.

Table of contents

Prefatory Note / Vorbemerkung
Chronological Table – The Life of Bernhard Varenius
Bernhard Varenius – Family Background
Bernhard Varenius – Stemma of Editions
List of Illustrations

Introduction

PART I. VARENIUS’ FORMATIVE YEARS IN THE CONTEXT OF HIS TIME / VARENIUS IM BILDUNGSHORIZONT SEINER ZEIT
1. Varenius and His Family: A Dynasty Dedicated to Scholarship and Rooted in Christian Philosophy, Margret Schuchard
2. Heinrich Varenius’ Rettung von Johann Arndts Wahrem Christentum, Johann Anselm Steiger
3. Der Bildungsweg des jungen Bernhard Varenius, Klaus Lehmann
4. The Road to Authorship and Publications: Projects, Patronage and the Elzeviers, Margret Schuchard
5. Varenius and the World of Learning in the Dutch Republic, Rienk Vermij

PART II. VARENIUS AS A TRANSMITTING AGENT OF KNOWLEDGE – JAPAN / VARENIUS ALS WISSENSVERMITTLER EINER FREMDEN WELT – JAPAN
6. Reise- und entdeckungsgeschichtliche Grundlagen der Descriptio regni Iaponiae, Folker Reichert
7. Die Descriptio Regni Japoniae in der literarischen Tradition der europäischen ‚descriptiones‘, Reinhard Düchting
8. Die Aneignung und Strukturierung von Wissen in der Polyhistorie. Ein Fallbeispiel: Bernhard Varenius, Horst Walter Blanke

PART III. GEOGRAPHIA GENERALIS AND ITS LEGACY / DIE GEOGRAPHIA GENERALIS UND IHRE NACHWIRKUNGEN
9. Varenius – ein Geograph zwischen allen Stühlen?, Frank Richter†
10. Miszellen zur Geographia Generalis des Bernhard Varenius, Ulrich Staffhorst
11. Notes on Geographia Generalis and Its Introduction to England and North America, Margret Schuchard
12. From Hackwork to Classic: The English Editing of the Geographia Generalis, Robert J Mayhew
13. The Influence of Bernhard Varenius in the Geographical Works of Thomas Jefferson and Alexander von Humboldt, Sandra Rebok
14. Bernhard Varenius’ Geographia Generalis and the Rise of Modern Geographical Studies in Russia, Denis J.B. Shaw

Appendix: Extracts from Geographia Generalis (1650), Translation by Ernst-Christian Volkmann

Bibliography: Principal Works on Varenius
List of Contributors
Index of Names

Readership

All those interested in intellectual history, the history of geography, the history of education, Japan from a European perspective, as well as theologians and Latinists.

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