This book gathers wide-ranging essays on the Italian Renaissance philosopher and cosmologist Giordano Bruno by one of the world's leading authorities on his work and life. Many of these essays were originally written in Italian and appear here in English for the first time. Bruno (1548-1600) is principally famous as a proponent of heliocentrism, the infinity of the universe, and the plurality of worlds. But his work spanned the sciences and humanities, sometimes touching the borders of the occult, and Hilary Gatti's essays richly reflect this diversity. The book is divided into sections that address three broad subjects: the relationship between Bruno and the new science, the history of his reception in English culture, and the principal characteristics of his natural philosophy. A final essay examines why this advocate of a "tranquil universal philosophy" ended up being burned at the stake as a heretic by the Roman Inquisition.
While the essays take many different approaches, they are united by a number of assumptions: that, although well versed in magic, Bruno cannot be defined primarily as a Renaissance Magus; that his aim was to articulate a new philosophy of nature; and that his thought, while based on ancient and medieval sources, represented a radical rupture with the philosophical schools of the past, helping forge a path toward a new modernity.
Hilary Gatti taught for many years at the University of Rome, La Sapienza. Her books include "Giordano Bruno and Renaissance Science" and "The Renaissance Drama of Knowledge: Giordano Bruno in England". She is also the editor of "Giordano Bruno: Philosopher of the Renaissance".
Preface ix Acknowledgments xiii INTRODUCTION Beginning as Negation in the Italian Dialogues of Giordano Bruno 1 PART 1: BRUNO AND THE NEW SCIENCE Chapter 1: Between Magic and Magnetism: Bruno's Cosmology at Oxford 17 Chapter 2: Bruno's Copernican Diagrams 40 Chapter 3: Bruno and the New Atomism 70 Chapter 4: The Multiple Languages of the New Science 91 PART 2: BRUNO IN BRITAIN Chapter 5: Petrarch, Sidney, Bruno 115 Chapter 6: The Sense of an Ending in Bruno's Heroici furori 127 Chapter 7: Bruno and Shakespeare: Hamlet 140 Chapter 8: Bruno's Candelaio and Ben Jonson's The Alchemist 161 Chapter 9: Bruno and the Stuart Court Masques 172 Chapter 10: Romanticism: Bruno and Samuel Taylor Coleridge 201 Chapter 11: Bruno and the Victorians 220 PART 3: BRUNO'S PHILOSOPHY OF NATURE Chapter 12: Bruno's Natural Philosophy 249 Chapter 13: Bruno's Use of the Bible in His Italian Philosophical Dialogues 264 Chapter 14: Science and Magic: The Resolution of Contraries 280 Chapter 15: Bruno and Metaphor 297 EPILOGUE: Why Bruno's "A Tranquil Universal Philosophy" Finished in a Fire 309 Bibliography of Cited Works by and on Giordano Bruno 325 Index 335