Douglas Anderson, professor of English and Digital Literacies in the Interdisciplinary Studies Department at Medaille and, since 2016, guest researcher at the Huygens Instituut voor Nederlands Geschiedenis (Huygens Institute for Netherlands History), recently celebrated the publication by Taylor & Francis in London of volume 17 of Alle de Brieven / The Collected Letters of Antoni van Leeuwenhoek. It contains letters 295 through 327 written between 1712 and 1716. Anderson and his co-editors Huib Zuidervaart and Lizzy Entjes completed the work of Lodewijk Palm on this latest volume in a series that began in 1939.
Every volume in the series contains the texts in the original Dutch and an English translation, along with copious linguistic, scientific and historical annotation. The great range of subjects studied by Leeuwenhoek is reflected in volume 17: instruments to measure water; pulmonary diseases; experiments relating to the solution of gold and silver; salt crystals and grains of sand; botanical work, such as duckweed and the germination of orange pips; descriptions of protozoa, blood, spermatozoa; and health and hygiene, for example the harmfulness of tea and coffee and the benefits of cleaning teeth.
The image shows a muscle fiber that Leeuwenhoek took from a fly that he dissected. It accompanied a letter to the Royal Society in London dated August 21, 1714, when Leeuwenhoek was 81 years old.
Anderson and Entjes alone will conclude the series over the next few years with volumes 18 and 19.
- : Medaille College Office of Communications
Posted by: Medaille College Office of Communications