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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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Experiencing the Weather in 1703: Observation and Feelings

Experiencing the Weather in 1703: Observation and Feelings

(p.13) 1 Experiencing the Weather in 1703: Observation and Feelings
British Weather and the Climate of Enlightenment
University of Chicago Press

This chapter describes the 1703 weather diary. The 1703 diary shows that its author poised between learned and popular cosmological traditions at the dawn of the Enlightenment. The 1703 weather diary is an unusual document, but nonetheless a historically significant one. The author of the Worcestershire weather diary was trying to find a literary form adequate to describe the phenomena he witnessed and the intensity of his reaction to them. He evidently acquired some knowledge of contemporary chemical theory and a smattering of terminology. The Worcestershire author was inclined to view storms as entirely natural phenomena. His sense of communion with the elements achieved an ecstatic height that he described as a kind of spiritual rapture. Moreover, he had chosen to develop his journal as a means of personal expression and self-exploration. The idea that the weather affected health and emotions remained part of the mentality of the age.

Keywords:   1703 weather diary, Enlightenment, Worcestershire weather diary, natural phenomena, health, emotions

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