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By Jan Golinski

Enlightenment inquiries into the elements sought to impose order on a strength that had the facility to change human existence and social stipulations. British climate and the weather of Enlightenment finds how a brand new experience of the nationwide weather emerged within the eighteenth century from the systematic recording of the elements, and the way it used to be deployed in discussions of the future health and welfare of the inhabitants. Enlightened intellectuals hailed climate’s position within the improvement of civilization yet said that human lifestyles trusted traditional forces that may by no means undergo rational control.Reading the Enlightenment throughout the rules, ideals, and practices in regards to the climate, Jan Golinski goals to reshape our knowing of the stream and its legacy for contemporary environmental pondering. With its mix of cultural heritage and the background of technology, British climate and the weather of Enlightenment counters the declare that Enlightenment development set people opposed to nature, as a substitute revealing that intellectuals of the age drew generally glossy conclusions concerning the inextricability of nature and tradition. (20070825)

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He sometimes used classical Greek words to describe the appearance of the sky—for example, ␾␣␴␫␵ (phasis) for a kind of hazy mist. He referred repeatedly to Aristotle’s writings on meteorology, in which earthy and watery exhalations were ascribed fundamental importance as causes of atmospheric phenomena. He quoted a substantial passage from Aristotle’s Meteorologica to enlist the philosopher’s support for the existence of lunar rainbows. 32 The diarist also reached back to classical tradition when he reflected on people’s fears of thunder and lightning.

As an] engine to farther ye grand Water-works of nature” (255). The sky was the great “Atmospherical Theatre” against which the drama of the “Transmutation & shifting of vapours” was played out (291). But the backstage area was the ground beneath the observer’s feet: “Ye surface we live upon is but shell, crust, & bore outside of a mighty piece of mechanism[,] ye case of ye clockwork within” (256). To be understood, the weather must be decoded as a sign of subterranean events, “a complex index of all ye movements under ground” (366).

Realizing this will help us approach the succeeding century in a more authentically historical way. We can come at it by working forward from its origins rather than backward from the more formalized scientific study that followed it. Taking our orientation from the Worcestershire diarist, we shall find that connections between the weather and the bodily passions were widely commented upon in the eighteenth century. As we shall see in later chapters, many other writers discussed how the qualities of the air influenced people’s health and mood, though few were as candid as the author of the 1703 weather diary about how they were personally affected.

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