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British Weather and the Climate of Enlightenment$
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Jan Golinski

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226302058

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226302065.001.0001

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Introduction: Weather and Enlightenment

Introduction: Weather and Enlightenment

(p.1) Introduction: Weather and Enlightenment
British Weather and the Climate of Enlightenment
University of Chicago Press

The Worcestershire diarist and the Quaker meteorologist were among many British men and women who pioneered the study of weather in the age of Enlightenment. As they came to think of themselves as an enlightened people, the British developed a sense of what their homeland owed to its weather. This book looks back to the age when the British first began to formulate ideas about their national climate based on accumulated records of the weather. It also connects the activities of the weather observers with the debates about climate and civilization that have been seen as characteristic of the Enlightenment era. Additionally, it examines how experiences and understandings of the weather reflected cultural change in the eighteenth century. Eighteenth-century ideas about weather and climate expressed a realization that human life remains thoroughly interwoven with the natural environment, notwithstanding the progress of civilization and enlightenment.

Keywords:   weather, Enlightenment, British, national climate, civilization, cultural change, human life, natural environment

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