This spurious myth highlights some of the lore about print and its influence on the context of author-reader interaction (chap. 3). Print is widely heralded for both universalizing and standardizing communications across geographical regions and national boundaries (McGarry, 1981, pp. 40-46). Print's complex interaction with the new empirical sciences remains an open question whose importance few doubt. The interaction is challenging to track, in part, because although print seems to have given a boost to the sciences of direct observation, these sciences also sought to diminish the authority of the written word in favor of the arts of observation. The tension seems resolvable when we consider that print extended a text's circulation and, as a result, enhanced individuals' confidence that they could universalize what they observed in their local environments. Moreover, empiricism, with its emphasis on direct observation and replication, implicitly relies on this kind of communicative confidence, the confidence that attempted replications can be spread from
one local site to another in a timely fashion. Print thus played an important role in promoting and helping to proliferate a language about nature-even if that language seemed to diminish the importance of the written word. Even here, the tension between the science of observation and the language of observation seemed to be addressed in the promotion of new stylistic standards for reporting on nature. According to these standards, a language about nature calls attention to itself and distorts what it seeks to report unless it also resembles nature. In postBaconian Europe, the rhetoric of the new inductive science endorsed a written style that sought to reproduce natural experience in the mind of the reader (Dear, 1985).