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Books to Note
Michael Hunter. The Boyle Papers: Understanding the Manuscripts of Robert Boyle. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2007. xiii + 674 pp. $139.95.
Robert Boyle, one of the most prolific and influential scientists of the 17th century, is a subject of great importance to historians of science. Scholarship on Boyle's life and work has flourished in recent years, owing in large part to Michael Hunter's publications as well as to his attempts to catalog the voluminous and notoriously disheveled collection of Boyle's papers housed at the Royal Society of London. Comprising notes, correspondence, and detailed "work diaries," the collection documents nearly the full range of Boyle's intellectual activities, which varied from chemistry and medicine to philosophy and theology. Hunter's volume gives a better understanding of this material by providing several chapters describing the provenance and processing of the collection, in addition to the catalog itself. Just as the title implies, this volume contains the necessary material for a full understanding of the Boyle archive and provides scholars with an invaluable resource on this towering figure in the history of science and early modern thought. --Patrick Shea
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