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Anthony Grafton

Anthony Grafton, lecturing at the Gotha Research Center, 2010

Anthony Thomas Grafton (born May 21, 1950) is one of the foremost historians of early modern Europe and the current Henry Putnam University Professor at Princeton University. He is also a corresponding fellow of the British Academy and a recipient of the Balzan Prize. From January 2011 to January 2012, he served as the President of the American Historical Association.[1]


  • Early life and education 1
  • Career 2
  • Works 3
  • Honors 4
  • Selected publications 5
    • Books 5.1
    • Essays 5.2
  • References 6

Early life and education

Grafton was born in New Haven, Connecticut. He was educated at Phillips Academy (Andover).

He attended the University of Chicago, from which graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in history in 1971 and a master of arts degree in 1972. He made Phi Beta Kappa in 1970, with honors in history and in the college. After studying at University College, London, under the celebrated ancient historian Arnaldo Momigliano, from 1973 to 1974, he earned his PhD in history from the University of Chicago in 1975. He still retains links with the University of London's Warburg Institute.[2]


After a brief period teaching at Cornell's history department, he was appointed to a position at Princeton University in 1975, where he has subsequently remained. Since January 2007, he has been a co-editor of the Journal of the History of Ideas.


Anthony Grafton is noted for his studies of the classical tradition from the Renaissance to the eighteenth century, and in the history of historical scholarship. His many books include a profound study of the scholarship and chronology of the foremost classical scholar of the late Renaissance, Joseph Scaliger (2 vols, 1983–1993), a revisionist account (with Lisa Jardine) of the significance of Renaissance education (From Humanism to the Humanities, 1986), and, more recently, studies of Girolamo Cardano as an astrologer (1999) and Leon Battista Alberti (2000). He is co-author of an article on the marginalia of Gabriel Harvey that is one of the founding pieces of scholarship in the new field of the history of reading.

The best introduction to his preoccupation with the relations between scholarship and science in the early modern period is perhaps (still) Defenders of the Text (1991), one of his several essay collections, the most recent of which is Worlds Made by Words. In some ways his most original and accessible book is The Footnote: A curious history (1997; published in German as Die Tragischen Ursprünge der deutschen Fußnote), a case study in what might be called the history of history, from below.

He also writes on a wide variety of topics for The New Republic, The American Scholar, and The New York Review of Books. He owns a bookwheel which he keeps at hand in his home.


Selected publications


  • Joseph Scaliger: A Study in the History of Classical Scholarship, Oxford-Warburg Studies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983–1993).
  • with Lisa Jardine, From Humanism to the Humanities. Education and the Liberal Arts in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Europe (London: Duckworth, 1986). ISBN 0-7156-2100-9
  • Forgers and Critics. Creativity and Duplicity in Western Scholarship (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990).
  • Defenders of the Text: The Traditions of Scholarship in the Age of Science, 1450-1800 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991).
  • Commerce with the Classics: Ancient Books and Renaissance Readers (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997).
  • The Footnote: A Curious History (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997).
  • Cardano's Cosmos : The Worlds and Works of a Renaissance Astrologer (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999).
  • Leon Battista Alberti: Master Builder of the Italian Renaissance (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000).
  • Bring Out Your Dead: The Past as Revelation (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001).
  • What Was History?: The Art of History in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).
  • with Megan Hale Williams, Christianity and the Transformation of the Book: Origen, Eusebius, and the Library of Caesarea (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006).
  • Codex in Crisis (New York: The Crumpled Press, 2008). Video: Codex in CrisisAnthony Grafton: on YouTube, Authors@Google, February 12, 2009.
  • with Brian A. Curran, Pamela O. Long, and Benjamin Weiss, Obelisk: A History (Cambridge, MA: Burndy Library and MIT Press, 2009).
  • Worlds Made by Words (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009). Review by Véronique Krings, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2009.09.32
  • (with Joanna Weinberg)"I Have Always Loved the Holy Tongue": Isaac Casaubon, The Jews, and a Forgotten Chapter in Renaissance Scholarship (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011).


  • Anthony Grafton at The New York Review of Books


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  2. ^ "Anthony Grafton". The Department of History. The  
  3. ^ [2]
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