feats of juggling, false apparitions, impostures, and illusions


Anxiety about deception runs deep in the philosophical and religious traditions of Europe, and new techniques for mastering this fear mark episodes in the history of the modern world. Over the course of the nineteenth century, both the playfulness and the peril of deceit came to be distanced from the sphere of rational inquiry: the sciences ceased to have much use for legerdemain; metaphysicians lost interest in the theater. But it was not always so, as the conversation below with Anthony Grafton suggests. Grafton is the Henry Putnam University Professor of History at Princeton University and the author of a shelf of major works on the­ Renaissance, classical scholarship, and the history of science, including Forgers and Critics: Creativity and Duplicity in Western Scholarship (Princeton University Press, 1990).­ ­D. Graham Burnett, editor at Cabinet and also professor of history at Princeton, sat down with Grafton to discuss his work on deception and forgery­.

more from Cabinet here.