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From British attempts on the stage and page to reinvent the world order with their island at the center to the Jesuit Athanasius Kircher's museum that strove to make the invisible visible, the early modern period was rife with attempts to reimagine the world and the human place within it. This volume looks at natural philosophers, playwrights, historians, and other figures in the period 1500-1700 as a means of accessing the plethora of world models that circulated in Europe during this era. Contributors to this volume ask what motivated institutions and individuals to engage in world-building, examining its cultural utility and the reception these new worlds received. Close textual and visual analysis provide the foundation for the book, and the array of sources illustrates the rich tapestry of ideas, anxieties, and enthusiasms that served as the basis for world-building. Only through investigating imagined worlds as closely as scholars have examined "real" Renaissance landscapes can we hope to understand the intellectual and cultural reassessments that characterized this period, and the critical importance of imagination and belief in its intellectual landscape.

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