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Volume 1, No. 1
Changes in Celestial Journey Literature, 1400-1650
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This study investigates an important historical phase in the curiously
hybrid genre of the celestial journey narrative which has produced not
only important scientific texts, such as Macrobius's Somnium Scipionis,
but also some of Western Europe's finest poems, including Dante's Divine
Comedy. I would like to compare Christine de Pizan's Chemin de Long
Estude of 1403, which describes the author's celestial journey through the
heavenly spheres, to another milestone in celestial voyage literature,
Francis Godwin's English work The Man in the Moone of 1638. These two literary and historical endpoints illustrate the changes in European technical astronomy which occurred between 1400 and 1650, and also reveal the shift which occurred in the very nature of the celestial voyage genre. I will also briefly review other closely related early modern celestial voyage narratives written by Johannes Kepler and Bishop John Wilkins.