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The Wonder of God in Nature
May 5, 2011 1:45 PM   Subscribe

Die Wunder Gottes in der Natur (1744) illustrates astronomical, meteorological, geological, spiritual, and psychological visions, based on the work of 16th century Alsatian encyclopedist Conrad Lycosthenes.

The cover and title page.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot (7 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Who knew that comets were giant feathered logs? Awesome.
posted by ixohoxi at 1:50 PM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


It took quite a bit of vision to publish a book of astronomical phenomena before there were photographs or even very good telescopes.

Truly a pioneer...
posted by orbis23 at 2:10 PM on May 5, 2011


Love those old books. Just things of beauty and excellence and the best things humans are capable of and we're going to forget all that just for a fucking Kindle??

Fuck that.

Fuck the Kindle and ebooks forever.

/axe grind
posted by Skygazer at 2:40 PM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Skygazer

You realize you're looking at this awesome old book on a computer screen, right?
posted by Sangermaine at 3:30 PM on May 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


As long as your ebook can read gray scale images, you can read this old texts and many like it. And how many people have physical copies of centuries old books available to them? Kindles aren't made from the pulp of ancient manuscripts.
/rebuttal derail

Thanks for this! The skies were more complex back then. Now, the sun is just a glowing ball light, when it used to be complex patterns of lines, smiling down on the countryside.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:35 PM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


You realize you're looking at this awesome old book on a computer screen, right?

Err....yeah...uumm...

Yes, that's a good point actually, I neglected to mention I used to work as an acquisitions assistant at a library that received 500 year old medical monographs and books on a regular basis, and it is really something to handle an old artifact such as that, and still turn the pages and read them and look at the illustrations. It says something. It means something. One is engaging with time and learning and thought, ideas and the mind of man through many hundreds of years and one is taking a place that hundreds others, now long gone, have done by taking up that book. You feel part of something greater, something timeless and hopefully something eternal and at least more significant than the pittance of one small life and one mind...


I mean, not that every book I ever read, hardback or paperback, was the most beautiful example of the art form or anything, but it certainly was a cousin to a beautifully bound book and a thing I knew would last me pretty much as long as I could keep it in good shape.

I sick of hearing of the imminent death of print and paper books. I think it's overdone and over presumptuous, disrespectful if you will, of the medium as a whole.

Vinyl, was supposed to die as well, and yet, it is being recognized as a superior form to digital and is even making a comeback.

I think this generation of ebook readers is a trend. It may last a decade or two, but printed books will come back with a vengeance, no doubt and hopefully and eventually there will be a universal omni-book that feels just like a proper well bound book.


(NB: Books printed before mass pulp paper printing, last much longer. I saw books from the early 19th century in better shape than some books from the early 20th century because of the quality of the ink and paper.)
posted by Skygazer at 4:08 PM on May 5, 2011


Old books are more than images. The feel of the pages, the way they sound, the feel of the binding, the many smells, the ways the colors change in different lightings. Just today while reading metafilter I remembered the smell of the first Starship Troopers hardcover, and the first calculus book I cracked.

On the other hand. I've heard about the Voynich Manuscript for decades ... but now I can examine it minutely online. They probably wouldn't let me into their fussy library. And in Google Books there are tomes and magazines of great age and illimitable variety so scarce that chasing down a physical copy would be prohibitive.

I'll take the Real McCoy if possible, for the weight and authenticity and sensuousness. But I'd never be able to travel to all the places I've visited on the net in the past year ... or buy all the records. Digital abundance may be faux, but it's not void.
posted by Twang at 7:56 PM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


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