Skip to main content

Contextualizing Practical Knowledge in Early Modern Europe

Leemans, Annemie Daniel Gerda (2016) Contextualizing Practical Knowledge in Early Modern Europe. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent, Universidade do Porto. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.60636) (KAR id:60636)

Language: English

Download (4MB) Preview
[thumbnail of 97PhD dissertation Annemie Leemans MOODLE.pdf]
This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.
Request an accessible format
Official URL:


The overarching topic of this dissertation is practical knowledge in early modern Europe. Practical knowledge is the know-how people have in order to make something, do something or obtain something. Textually speaking, this knowledge profiles itself as a prescription, recipe, secret, or formula. The areas of interest of practical knowledge are very wide from kitchen wisdom to medical panaceas.

The main aim of this interdisciplinary study is to contextualize practical knowledge. By 'contextualizing' I mean studying different topics that are intrinsically intertwined with the subject. In this PhD dissertation the 1) origin or creation, 2) transmission or dissemination, and 3) use or consumption are key subjects for understanding the place of practical knowledge in early modern European society. These three topics are reflected in the six chapters. The first part, containing the first three chapters, deals with practical knowledge in general and the second part, containing the last three chapters, deals with a case study of a book called A Very Proper Treatise (1573).

The first chapter of the first part, which is an introduction to the whole thesis, contains the historiography and theory about the subject concerning practical knowledge production and status. The second chapter studies transmission dynamics of practical knowledge, making use of the rhizome metaphor of Deleuze and Guattari and examining transmission dynamics in specialized environments, such as workshops and laboratories. In the third chapter of Part I, I develop the concept of mediators of practical knowledge, arguing that some people, either literary writers or practitioners, used the printing medium to earn in their living. As a consequence they are responsible for a major dissemination of practical knowledge.

Part II of this PhD dissertation is conceived as a microapproach. In this part the study of the early English print A Very Proper Treatise (1573) finds its legitimate place. This Treatise about limning, or painting in books, will be examined through the same three lenses used in Part I: creation, dissemination, and consumption. In the first chapter the origin of the text of the book is examined. The following chapter examines the making or origin of the material book, where I argue that it is a printer's compilation. Finally, the consumption and consumers of the book will be studied in the third and last chapter.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Richardson, Catherine
Thesis advisor: Polonia, Amelia
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.60636
Additional information: The author of this thesis has asked that this thesis be made available on an open access basis under the licence displayed. 20/07/21
Uncontrolled keywords: History, Text, Context, Book history, Knowledge, Art, transmission, dissemination, use, practical, A very Proper Treatise, books of secrets
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
Funders: Organisations -1 not found.
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2017 16:00 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 12:21 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):


Downloads per month over past year