'A meteor of spirit, science, talent and activity' - thus Goethe described Petrus Camper (1722-1789). Goethe's words contain all the elements that make Camper such a fascinating figure in the history of science and arts in the eighteenth-century Dutch Republic. This volume sheds new light on Camper's versatility, engagement, and charisma in all fields and disciplines he ventured into and published on. It not only addresses his scientific activities, findings, and opinions, but also delves into his careers at the universities of Franeker, Amsterdam, and Groningen, his travels, relationships, friendships, and feuds, as well as the ways he communicated his wide-ranging research. Eleven case studies illustrate Camper's views on eighteenth-century life and society, which motivated not just his scientific, but also his political, societal, literary, and artistic practice. Together they amount to a plea for an integration of all aspects of his scholarly life and persona.
Contents: Acknowledgements KLAAS VAN BERKEL/BART RAMAKERS, Oetrus Camper in context. An Introduction PIETER CALJÉ, Petrus Camper and the demise of the Franeker Academy GOFFE JENSMA, ‘Aut Bene, aut non’: Petrus Camper as a Frisian regent KLAAS VAN BERKEL, Petrus Camper and the limits of the Enlightenment JACOB VAN SLUIS, Mutual affairs: Petrus Camper as seen by his friend François Hemsterhuis ANDREW CUNNINGHAM, Petrus (‘Peter’) Camper. A Dutchman in the medical world of eighteenth-century England REINDHARD HILDEBRAND, Petrus Camper in his relationship to Samuel Thomas Soemmerring and other German scientists of the Goethezeit BART RAMAKERS, ‘To be read tastefully and fruitfully’: Petrus Camper as a public scientist MIRIAM CLAUDE MEIJER, Bones, law and order, in Amsterdam. Petrus Camper’s morphological insights WESSEL KRUL, A slight correction. Petrus Camper on the visual arts PAUL VAN DE AKKER, Petrus Camper on natural design and the beauty of Apollo’s profile FREEK SCHMIDT, A passion for architecture. Petrus Camper and the Groninger town hall Index Contributors
'This collection's focus is on Camper the artisan, the artist, the expert on art and architecture, the writer, the politician, the pilosopher, and the landowner (p. 10). [...] All of the contributors deliberately direct attention away from how Camper's theories and drawings were misappropriated to focus on a recovery of his original intent - including how he used his work to argue against, not to support, racisme (p. 14). Yet, given that it forms a central part of the rationale for such sustained attention to this figure, more attention to how the actual process of misappropriation unfolded would have been helpful, especially for readers entirely unfamiliar with his later legacy. Still, the volume makes a strong case for the need to reconsider Camper in the context of his own time.' Kelly J. Whitmer in: Isis vol. 107 (2016) nr. 4: 844-845
'If the essays shed much light upon Camper's place in Dutch life, they also underline his cosmopolitanism. [...] This, picture, however, emerges more from separate glimpses in individual essays than from any one contribution in particular, with the curious effect that contributors are often writing about a man who was trans-European but from a variety of nationally specific perspectives. The sum of the volume, therefore, is greater than its individual parts. [...] it does not quite achieve a sustained account of how Camper's social standing shaped his scientific learning and practice, and it does not quite connect the many isolated insights on Camper's relationship with taste, knowledge and practice into a coherent new analysis of the Dutch anatomist. But, despite some reservations, the volume's very existence is an achievement. [...] To bring together such a diverse group to produce such a diverse work is in itself a scholarly triumph.' Emma Spary in: Oxford Press Journal. The English Historical vol. 132 (2017) iss. 556, p. 726-728
Gesignaleerd in: Mededelingen van de Stichting Jacob Campo Weyerman 38 (2015) 1, p. 101-102; Geschiedenis Magazine 51 (maart 2016) 2, p. 62.