University of Cambridge > > Cabinet of Natural History > To drink or not to drink: understanding 'types' of water in seventeenth-century England

To drink or not to drink: understanding 'types' of water in seventeenth-century England

Add to your list(s) Download to your calendar using vCal

If you have a question about this talk, please contact tjb98.

‘Water is not all alike in goodness; but much difference there is in this and that sort; which we may distinguish thus.’ In his health treatise of 1683, Dr Everard Maynwaringe succinctly expressed a concept that occurred frequently across seventeenth-century literature on water, that there were many ‘types’ or ‘sorts’ to distinguish between. Seventeenth-century authors laboured to produce hierarchies of ‘waters’, ranking them from best to worst based on environmental origins and justifying their decisions through extensive prose. This paper takes this substantial literature and seeks to explore what it can tell us about water’s place in early modern lives and, particularly, its status as a drink, a subject on which early modern authors had very strong, but divided opinions. Through examination of the wide variety of knowledge drawn upon by authors to justify their positions as well as the sharing and adapting of ideas across this literature, the paper will explore understandings of water while demonstrating the complex space it occupied in this period as a substance serving simultaneously as a scientific subject, a consumable beverage, and a facet of daily labour.

This talk is part of the Cabinet of Natural History series.

Tell a friend about this talk:

This talk is included in these lists:

Note that ex-directory lists are not shown.


© 2006-2024, University of Cambridge. Contact Us | Help and Documentation | Privacy and Publicity