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America first

Felipe Fernández-Armesto, 7 January 1993

European Encounters with the New World: From Renaissance to Romanticism 
by Anthony Pagden.
Yale, 212 pp., £18.95, January 1993, 0 300 05285 5
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New Worlds, Ancient Texts: The Power of Tradition and the Shock of Discovery 
by Anthony Grafton, April Shelford and Nancy Siraisi.
Harvard, 282 pp., £23.95, October 1992, 0 674 61875 0
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The Imaginative Landscape of Christopher Columbus 
by Valerie Flint.
Princeton, 233 pp., £16, August 1992, 0 691 05681 1
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Land without Evil: Utopian Journeys across the South American Watershed 
by Richard Gott.
Verso, 299 pp., £18.95, January 1993, 0 86091 398 8
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... See America first’: the old tourist-office advertising slogan made it sound easy. The most famous moment in the history of exploration, however, is also one of the most baffling. In the early darkness of 12 October 1492, a lookout, straining from the rigging of the Pinta, set up the cry of ‘Land!’ Yet his identity remains uncertain, clouded by widely differing versions of his name; and the priority of his sight of the New World was disputed by a fellow traveller called Columbus, who claimed the reward for himself ...

Such Matters as the Soul

Dmitri Levitin: ‘The Invention of Science’, 21 September 2016

The Invention of Science: a New History of the Scientific Revolution 
by David Wootton.
Penguin, 784 pp., £12.99, September 2016, 978 0 14 104083 7
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... development of perspective painting. This goes against a generation of work by scholars such as Nancy Siraisi, which has demonstrated that 16th-century medicine – much of it anchored in traditional institutions like the universities, and traditional practices like the humanist commentary – played a key role in increasing the centrality of direct ...

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