Firstlight: From the Renaissance to Romanticism in Europe and the Pacific


Series: Focus on Civilizations and Cultures

BISAC: HIS037020

The chapters of this book discuss in differing ways the transition in the second millennium of the Common Era from the Renaissance, through Enlightenment and subsequently, Romanticism, with a focus in Europe and the Pacific from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries. The book highlights salient features of each movement, using examples from the lives and works of critical exponents of each – artists, poets, playwrights, philosophers, engineers, navigators, and explorers. The aim has been to impart knowledge of each period, describe characteristics of the way in which the three movements transitioned from one to another through a particular thematic or topical focus, and outline central terms and concepts pertaining to them.

In doing so, it is clear that the period of European and Pacific history that spanned the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries brought tremendous change on the human psyche and saw unprecedented development of industry, culture, arts, science and a flowering of the human imagination as well as a strengthening of the human capacity for reason. The Renaissance, and the transition between Enlightenment and Romanticism was indeed, a ‘firstlight’ after the long dark ages in Europe, America and the Pacific West; it provided the impetus for the forces of change that impel progress in the present day. To make ‘observations’ of key figures and texts at various stages and events of the half-millennia in focus is also to reveal the perplexing change, society and human understanding of it was undergoing and to explore critical ideas and inventions of art and science that shaped the modern world. (Imprint: Nova)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents



Chapter 1 – ‘Liberalis’ – Renaissance Humanism (pp. 1-12)

Chapter 2 – ‘To Furnish Thee to Belmont’ – William Shakespeare‘s ― “The Merchant of Venice” (pp. 13-22)

Chapter 3 – ‘L‘uomo Universale’ – Leonardo Da Vinci‘s ‘Vitruvian Man’ (pp. 23-30)

Chapter 4 – ‘Linearis’ – Renaissance Linear Perspective (pp. 31-38)

Chapter 5 – Deus Ex Machine – Goethe‘s ― “Faust: A Tragedy” (pp. 39-50)

Chapter 6 – The Man ‘With Roman Ideas’ – Napoleonic Portraiture (pp. 51-58)

Chapter 7 – ‘Like a Picture’ – Enlightenment and the Aesthetic Appreciation of Nature in Britain (pp. 59-70)

Chapter 8 – ‘The Pensive Wand‘rer in Their Shades’ – The Evangelists, Mungo Park and the Slave Writers (pp. 71-78)

Chapter 9 – ‘The Most Valuable Cargo …’ – Early Colonial Christian Encounters in New Zealand (pp. 79-86)

Chapter 10 – ‘The Dolphin and the Sextant’ – Traditional Knowledge and Modernity in Polynesian Navigation (pp. 87-98)

Chapter 11 – ‘Lonesome Spirit of the South Pole’ – Captain Cook‘s Voyages and Coleridge‘s ― “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (pp. 99-110)

Chapter 12 – Xanadu – Symbolism and Imagination in Samuel Taylor Coleridge‘s ‘Kubla Kahn’ (pp. 111-118)




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