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Becoming a “Great Magneticall Man”

Becoming a “Great Magneticall Man”

(p.20) 2 Becoming a “Great Magneticall Man”
Galileo's Idol
Nick Wilding
University of Chicago Press

Sagredo’s gradual entry into disparate epistolary networks is described, within several determining contexts. First, the conflict between the Jesuit College and the University in Padua, which had first erupted in the early 1590s, and resulted in the closing of the Jesuit establishment. This conflict is generally assumed to provide the basis for later Venetian anti-Jesuitism, but instead we find ongoing negotiations between patricians and the Society of Jesus to revive the College. In this same period, at the cusp of the seventeenth-century, Sagredo appeared as a marginal figure in Tycho Brahe’s correspondence in a little-known exchange with Frans Tengnagel, as a broker of knowledge in the Veneto, and also as a letter-writer to William Gilbert, whose recent work on magnetism seemed to promise a general reform of natural philosophy to Sagredo, Galileo and Paolo Sarpi.

Keywords:   magnetism, William Gilbert, Paolo Sarpi, Tycho Brahe, Frans Tengnagel, Society of Jesus, Padua University, epistolary networks

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