Public Weather and the Culture of Enlightenment

in British Weather and the Climate of Enlightenment

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2007 | ISBN: 9780226302058
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226302065 | DOI:
Public Weather and the Culture of Enlightenment

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This chapter discusses the public weather and the culture of enlightenment. The 1703 storm established a pattern of widespread reporting and diverse interpretation that reappeared in connection with the summer haze of 1783. This storm was represented as a judgment on the moral corruption of society at large. It was also remembered not for the damage it caused, or even the casualties, but for the fact that it was such a singular and extreme departure from the normal equanimity of the national climate. Knowledge of the weather was cultivated by institutions and circulated through the medium of print. The public enterprise of recording the weather came to be identified with cultural progress. The summer haze of 1783 highlighted the differences within British society. The weather constituted a common domain in which elite and popular discourse intersected; it was public property, the concern of society as a whole.

Keywords: public weather; culture of enlightenment; summer haze; 1703 storm; British society; moral corruption; national climate

Chapter.  15310 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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