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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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Public Weather and the Culture of Enlightenment

Public Weather and the Culture of Enlightenment

(p.41) 2 Public Weather and the Culture of Enlightenment
British Weather and the Climate of Enlightenment
University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses the public weather and the culture of enlightenment. The 1703 storm established a pattern of widespread reporting and diverse interpretation that reappeared in connection with the summer haze of 1783. This storm was represented as a judgment on the moral corruption of society at large. It was also remembered not for the damage it caused, or even the casualties, but for the fact that it was such a singular and extreme departure from the normal equanimity of the national climate. Knowledge of the weather was cultivated by institutions and circulated through the medium of print. The public enterprise of recording the weather came to be identified with cultural progress. The summer haze of 1783 highlighted the differences within British society. The weather constituted a common domain in which elite and popular discourse intersected; it was public property, the concern of society as a whole.

Keywords:   public weather, culture of enlightenment, summer haze, 1703 storm, British society, moral corruption, national climate

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