RQ: Blazing World, 33-77

Featured Image: Optical diagram showing light being refracted by a spherical glass container full of water, from Roger Bacon, De multiplicatione specierum. (13th c.)


Keep the following questions in mind as you read The Blazing World, 33-77 The questions are designed to guide your reading practices and our class discussions. You are not required to provide formal answers in class or online.

Before the Empress converts them, why do the inhabitants of the Blazing World all have the same religion, or what accounts for their “lack of diversity of opinions in that same religion” (27)?

What are some experiments performed at the Empress’s schools and “several Societies” (26), and what sorts of knowledge do they produce?

What are some hypothesis for why the sun is hot? What are some hypothesis for why the sun appears near and far? What about the Air; why can’t the Bird-men give an account of the Air?

Why do the telescopes cause differences and divisions among the Bear-men? How does the Empress resolve the disputes?

Why don’t microscopes cause the same tensions and divisions to erupt as the telescopes?

How does the Empress relate to the sight of the flea in the microscope?

What does the Empress want to know from the Fish-Men?

According to the Worm-Men, why is it impossible for a Creature to be colorless? How does the Empress Respond?

What prompts the Empress to stop listening to the Animal-men and speak about natural philosophy? Does she know the answers to the questions she asks all along, and if yes, why does she task the Animal-men with answering her questions?

Why does the Imperial race appear so young?

How does the Empress convert the whole of the Blazing World to her religion without causing all sorts of discord and destruction?

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