Echoes of Renaissance Lunar Journeys in the Nineteenth Century: The Conquest of the Heavens between Science and Utopia
Natacha Fabbri holds a PhD from the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa, a Laurea in philosophy from the University of Pisa, and a Laurea in piano performance from the State Conservatory of Music in Florence. She was a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA, the Antonio Ruberti Foundation, the International Balzan Prize Foundation, the University of Florence, and she collaborates with the Museo Galileo. Her main research areas are Renaissance and modern philosophy, history of science, and philosophy of music. She published two monographs (Cosmologia e armonia in Kepler e Mersenne, Olschki, 2003; De l'utilité de l'harmonie, Edizioni della Normale, 2008) and she is co-editor of Copernicus Banned. The Entangled Matter of the anti-Copernican Decree of 1616 (Olschki, 2018).
The aim of this research project is to examine the influence of Renaissance ideas of the lunar journey and of other inhabited worlds on nineteenth-century culture. The research shall focus on the Italian astronomer Ernesto Capocci di Belmonte and the French astronomer and author Camille Flammarion, who drew on Renaissance models of utopia and philosophical dialogue in order to popularize scientific discoveries and to establish a strong philosophical background to their astronomical research. Capocci and Flammarion viewed the Renaissance as the golden age of the alliance of science and literature in order to celebrate political and moral values as well as scientific achievements. A careful perusal of their writings will shed new light on the complex intertwining of Renaissance topoi, nineteenth-century debates on the reliability of scientific theories, and the need to comply with popular culture and new aesthetic tendencies. The research shall therefore examine Flammarion's huge archive at the Juvisy-sur-Orge observatory and Capocci's literary and scientific works, in addition to preparing a critical edition of Capocci's Relazione del primo viaggio alla una fatto da una donna l'anno di grazia 2057 (Naples, 1857).