Help support TMP

"Review of "Thomas Jefferson and the Science of..." Topic

1 Post

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the American Revolution Message Board

Areas of Interest

18th Century

206 hits since 15 Jan 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP15 Jan 2019 9:54 p.m. PST

…. Republican Government: A Political Biography of Notes on the State of Virginia" by Dustin Gish and Daniel Klinghard

"I was very excited to obtain a copy of this book from a good friend for three reasons. First, he had told me that the authors offered a different, sober take on Jefferson's Notes. Second, Jefferson's Notes, when read from cover to cover, tells us much about the mind of the man and I am always intrigued to read scholarly literature on it. Last, like Gish and Klinghard, I too believe that the Notes is greatly misapprehended by most scholars.

The authors begin with what they dub the "Compilation View"—that there is no real structure to the book and that each query can be read independently of the others as if each were an entry in an encyclopedia. "It is held by most to be merely a compilation of disconnected, if erudite, reflections, observations, and eccentric details, which together convey an attentive mind or perhaps a spirit, but not a coherent thesis." Jefferson himself, they add, is perhaps largely responsible for that reading. "At no point," they say, "does Jefferson lay out a thesis or state explicitly some common purpose that would unite the whole." They then point to his "Advertisement" at the beginning of the 1787 edition. Jefferson writes: "The subjects are all treated imperfectly; some scarcely touched on. To apologize for this by developing the circumstances of the time and place of their composition, would be to open wounds which have already bled enough." They take the advertisement merely as another instance of Jefferson's "mock modesty." In short, the Compilation View misleads and seems tenable only when seeing the surface of the Notes. They promise to penetrate beyond the surface…."
Main page



Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.