Jesse Molesworth

Time and Cosmos: The Orrery in the Eighteenth-Century Imagination
Center for Renaissance Studies Programs
Eighteenth-Century Seminar
Saturday, February 23, 2013

2 - 4:30 pm

Room 101

Jesse Molesworth, Indiana University

The first modern orrery, a mechanical device presenting the motion of the solar system, was produced in 1704 by the eminent English clockmakers George Graham and Thomas Tompion. Typically driven by a clockwork mechanism and featuring the planets and their moons revolving around the sun, such devices served throughout the eighteenth century as a crucial means of illustrating the new Copernican view of the cosmos. But it is in this capacity that they served the ulterior purpose of demonstrating precisely the smallness of the individual in relation to the vastness of the cosmos. This paper examines the ways in which those living in the eighteenth century——scientists, artists, writers——reckoned with this unwelcome and ultimately terrifying facet of modernity.

A reception will follow the seminar.

Learn more about our speaker: Jesse Molesworth, Indiana University

Download a printable PDF flyer for this program.

Download a printable PDF flyer for both the spring 2013 Eighteenth-Century Seminars.

Sponsored by the University of Chicago, DePaul University, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago, and directed by Timothy Campbell, University of Chicago; Lisa A. Freeman, University of Illinois at Chicago; John Shanahan, DePaul University; and Helen Thompson, Northwestern University.

Cost and registration information: 

This program is free and open to the public. Online registration is now closed.

Faculty and graduate students of Center for Renaissance Studies consortium institutions may be eligible to apply for travel funds to attend CRS programs or to do research at the Newberry. Each member university sets its own policies and deadlines; contact your Representative Council member in advance for details.

Learn more about the Center for Renaissance Studies’ Eighteenth-Century Seminar.

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