Article ID: CBB505718148

Iterative books: Posthumous publishing in eighteenth-century botany (2022)


The growing number of known plants, and the need repeatedly to correct their names and their taxonomic attributions, demanded strategies for combining the static nature of a printed book with the fluctuating nature of the information it contained. From the second half of the seventeenth century botanists increasingly relied on publishing multiple updated editions of a book instead of attempting to correct, polish, and thus delay the appearance of a manuscript until, in the author’s opinion, it was finished. Provisional by nature, iterative books offered a solution. They were transient, open-ended and open to intervention, whether by one or multiple authors. Taking as an example the posthumous publication of orphaned material and manuscripts, a widespread phenomenon in eighteenth-century botany, this essay will focus on the sequence of iterative books that were published during the first half of the eighteenth century, based on the herbaria and papers left behind by the German botanist Paul Hermann (1646–95).

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Authors & Contributors
Cook, Alan H.
Scalva, Giuse
Cook, A.
Harris, Stephen A.
Klug, R.
Welter-Schultes, F. W.
Archives of Natural History
Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
Nuncius: Annali di Storia della Scienza
Huntington Library Quarterly
Journal of Literature and Science
Annals of Science: The History of Science and Technology
Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura
Bodleian Library
Pavia University Press
Carocci Editore
Natural history
Libraries and archives
Classification in biology
Booksellers and bookselling
Donati, Vitaliano
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques
Haller, Albrecht von
Sibthorp, John
Garsault, François A. de (François Alexandre)
Willdenow, Carl Ludwig
Time Periods
18th century
17th century
19th century
16th century
Great Britain
Middle and Near East
Mediterranean region
Royal Society of London

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