This volume documents two conferences held in Berlin and Bologna under the auspices of the European Science Foundation Project Concepts & Symbols of the Eighteenth Century in Europe / Concepts & Symboles du Dix-huitième Siècle Européen.
The essays collected in this volume describe a range of Enlightenment attempts to make Nature visible, to give nature a face - and sometimes a body. These efforts spanned natural philosophy and map-making, the opera and the menagerie, ribald satires on learned women and ponderous treatises of natural theology, the garden and the museum. Savants and midwives, monarchs and philosophers, country squires and urban academicians all participated in staging the Enlightenment pageant of nature. The essays draw upon sources in French, German, Italian, English, and Latin and combine perspectives from the history of science and medicine, the history of art and music, as well as from cultural and intellectual history. They show nature on display, nature demonstrated, nature personified, and sometimes even nature speaking, the Enlightenment goddess par excellence.