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Poetry, science, and religion in the eighteenth century

Perception and analogy explores ways of seeing scientifically in the eighteenth century. It discusses literary, theological, and didactic texts alongside popular works on astronomy, optics, ophthalmology, and the body to demonstrate how readers are prompted to take on a range of perspectives in their acquisition of scientific knowledge. With reference to topics from colour perception to cataract surgery, the book examines how sensory experience was conceptualised during the eighteenth century. It argues that by paying attention to the period’s documentation of perception as an embodied phenomenon we can better understand the creative methods employed by disseminators of diverse natural philosophical ideas. This book argues for the central role of analogy in conceptualising and explaining new scientific ideas. It centres on religious and topographical poetry by writers including James Thomson, Richard Blackmore, Mark Akenside, Henry Brooke, David Mallet, Elizabeth Carter, and Christopher Smart. Together with its readings of popular educational dialogues on scientific topics, the book also addresses how this analogical approach is reflected in material culture through objects – such as orreries, camera obscuras, and Aeolian harps – that facilitate acts of perception and tactile engagement within polite spaces. The book shows how scientific concepts become intertwined with Christian discourse through reinterpretations of origins and signs, the scope of the created universe, and the limits of embodied knowledge.

W. G. Sebald’s Die Ausgewanderten
Dora Osborne

drawing attributed to Rembrandt which shows not the application of the fish-bile balm usually described in scripture, but some kind of eye surgery: ‘This scene of hands, of maneuvering and manipulation, calls to mind a properly surgical operation, which I dare not, or not yet, call graphic’ (Derrida 1993: 26). The cut made with a scalpel or stylus shows the sacrificial inscription of the trait, that is, a mark which cuts in order to make vision possible. In Die Ausgewanderten, the narrator performs a kind of surgery of the blind, but one which treats blindness by a

in A literature of restitution
Rosalind Powell

is quite a step to suggest that either the Dutch organist or Locke’s blind man would know how to interpret visual images. Only in 1728 would a practical test case for the latter be supplied. Cataract surgery and the recovery of sight In these thought experiments, there is scant interest in the blind person as an individual, and therefore very little appears in the way of direct literary responses. The analogical associations with sight and blindness – drawing on the model of the camera obscura that functions

in Perception and analogy
Medicinal recipes and advice in the treatment of the King’s Evil in seventeenth-century south-west England
Anne Stobart

the seventeenth century there were various treatment approaches for the King’s Evil drawing upon both learned and lay sources, with surgery another recourse apart from the use of the Royal Touch. 14 In 1679, Richard Wiseman (?1620–76), royal surgeon, published Several Chirurgical Treatises , which included a treatise on the King’s Evil. This substantial book was dedicated

in Reading and writing recipe books, 1550–1800
Abstract only
Women, body hair and feminism
Karín Lesnik-Oberstein

some plea for either a return to the ‘natural body’ (or on the idea that that is even a possibility), or on a plea to ‘award’ women’s (certainly present) suffering over body hair and its removal an ‘equal’ status with the problems around body weight (or parallel related and relatable issues such as cosmetic surgery). Instead, I am agreeing here with arguments such as that of Judith Butler and Donna Haraway that bodies are not ‘born’ (do not exist as ‘natural’ ‘underneath’ culture), but are created as meaning, including gender. Butler writes

in The last taboo
Gendering the foreigner in Emer Martin’s Baby Zero
Wanda Balzano

grows, Farah, Ishmael’s wife, who is from an upper-class family in Orap, openly looks down on her husband because of his parents’ foreign origins. East and West have this in common: preconceptions and hatred for the Other. What they also have in common is the perception of the female body and its objectification. In both cultures most women, conforming to a mainly patriarchal model and a narrow definition of beauty, aspire to be one type of woman they are often not: blonde, slim, and with pert noses. Through plastic surgery performed with his brother, Mo is able to

in Literary visions of multicultural Ireland
Brian Baker

Is guided by the grid of the churches Is homed by 9 th degree rituals By the promise of Mass Murder 56 The black hole is the reverse image of the moon falling on to the spire of St Anne’s, Limehouse, recounted in Lud Heat : ‘February 4, 1974, and I endure an apocalyptic dream of the moon disk growing, crashing down on the city, burying itself in the tower of St Anne, Limehouse’; 57 and also the ‘sun surgery’ or feverish heatstroke which afflicts the gardening persona in ‘In the

in Iain Sinclair
Eugene McCabe’s Death and Nightingales
Gerry Smyth

, and I heard another of those horrid blows – and silence – and another – and more silence – and the diabolical surgery was ended. (1864: 436) If this description foreshadows the death awaiting Beth in McCabe’s novel, it also uncannily anticipates the Phoenix Park murders, the ‘diabolical surgery’ of which was expedited in part by the use of surgical knives. In Eily O’Connor and Maud Ruthyn (as, indeed, with the heroines of Otranto, Udolpho and Frankenstein) we observe attractive women whose apparently rational, socially sanctioned desires are undermined by the

in The Judas kiss
Open Access (free)
Language, lies and the crisis of representation in Such a Long Journey
Peter Morey

anagram Mira Obili when communicating with Gustad incognito; and Dr Paymaster, who treats Roshan’s unnameable illness, is completely in thrall to nomenclature when he finds that his patients will not allow him to replace the name of the previous doctor on the sign outside his surgery with his own. As this last example indicates, to name is to exert power. In an interesting essay on the novel, David Williams invokes Jacques Derrida on the appropriative nature of naming: ‘“The Battle of Proper Names” in Of Grammatology concludes that what’s in a name is nothing less than

in Rohinton Mistry
Abstract only
Healing, reading, and perfection in the late-medieval household
Michael Leahy

pertaining to clothing and eating: Also dispose a leche hym that in clothes and other apparalyngis be he honeste, noȝt likkenyng hymself in apparalyng or berying to mynistralleȝ, but in clothing and beryng shew he the maner of clerkes. ffor why it semeth any discrete man y-​cladde with clerkis clothing for to occupie gentil menneȝ bordeȝ … And be he curtaise at lordeȝ bordeȝ, and displease he noȝt in words or dedes to the gestes syttyng by; here he many þingis, but speke he but fewe. (p. 6) Arderne’s text is, in one sense, part of a wider effort to legitimise surgery as a

in Household knowledges in late-medieval England and France