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Grant number: FB-57785-14

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Kay Etheridge
Gettysburg College (Gettysburg, PA 17325-1483)

Natural Science and Wondrous Transformations: A Translation of Maria Sibylla Merian's 17th-Century Writing on Insects

In 1679 Maria Sibylla Merian published a groundbreaking volume on the life cycles and habits of butterflies and moths titled Der Raupen wunderbare Verwandelung und sonderbare Blumen-Nahrung. The book I propose to develop will provide the first English translation of Merian's text and will include her beautiful and accurate illustrations of these insects, their stages of metamorphosis and their food plants. The proposed book will include in-depth commentary on the numerous innovative contributions Merian made to early modern natural history studies. Merian's motivations, her perception of herself as a naturalist, her influence on subsequent scholars, and her role in transforming our view of nature will also be discussed. Merian studied and painted insects over a period of five decades but has been underappreciated for her important contributions to science history. This project will bring her early writings, images and endless curiosity to the attention of a broader audience.

Project fields:
History and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Medicine

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$33,600 (approved)
$33,600 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2014 – 8/31/2014