Lead Research Organisation: University of Lincoln
Department Name: School of History and Heritage


In his work, Leonardo's Mountain of Clams and the Diet of Worms, Stephen Jay Gould discussed Emanuel Mendes da Costa (1717-91), a émigré Jewish conchologist, geologist, and antiquarian born into the nomadic population of Portuguese Sephardim that fled the Inquisition. In a footnote, Gould noted that Da Costa had only received brief biographical treatment, and his carefully preserved correspondence still survives; Gould remarked, "May I hope that some aspiring PhD candidate in the history of science reads this footnote and finds a superb thesis topic thereby?" (Gould 1998). This CDA will help realise Gould's aspiration, as the doctoral fellowship proposed would be devoted to an analysis of this Enlightenment naturalist's life and letters. Da Costa was a leading collector in the crux of a transition in natural history, which was moving from the baroque tradition of constructing natural history collections as cabinets of curiosities in the country house to the Enlightenment passion for order and taxonomy that flowered in the work of Linnaeus ...


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