Download Anxious Anatomy. The Conception of the Human Form in by Stefani Engelstein PDF

By Stefani Engelstein

In nervous Anatomy, Stefani Engelstein reconstructs the past due eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century human physique to provide startling new readings of significant works via Goethe, Blake, Heinrich von Kleist, E. T. A. Hoffmann, Mary Shelley, and Jane Austen. Engelstein hyperlinks learn on replica either to the power of organisms comparable to hydra, snails, and newts to interchange severed heads and gouged out eyes, and in addition to technical advances in battlefield amputation and synthetic limbs. Readings of German and British literature, along normal historical past, surgical procedure, aesthetics, and artwork, light up the significance of investigations into the physique for rising theories of human subjectivity, gender, volition, moral habit, and political association. Engelstein additionally demonstrates how makes an attempt to give an explanation for the structural features of the physique constructed into organic justifications for ideologies of race, gender, and social hierarchies.

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Additional resources for Anxious Anatomy. The Conception of the Human Form in Literary and Naturalist Discourse

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Riage. On the other hand they called it Adulterium, adultery, if the inoculation not only crossed species [Art], but even genus [Geschlecht]. ) Successful grafting, or marriage, depends on accurately judging degrees of affinity, a skill we could wish the characters in Goethe’s novel possessed. While the language of marriage and sexual union was used to describe the bonding of tree branches, grafting also resembled a new planting in that it was seen primarily as a form of propagation. A single desirable tree can be easily multiplied many times by removing tens of its branches and grafting each to a rootstock to be raised as a whole new tree.

While commonalities along a maternal line could perhaps be explicable from a preformationist perspective, resemblance to fathers would seem to necessitate an extreme version of predetermination. As Marie-Hélène Huet discusses in her study Monstrous Imagination, preformationists found a way out of this dilemma by crediting, or more often blaming, the maternal imagination, at the moment of conception and more prominently throughout gestation, for a child’s appearance. 8 This physical influence of the mother’s mind on the appearance of the child was held to be responsible both for family resemblance and for the aberrations, birthmarks, and deformities that were commonly called monstrosities.

Meanwhile, the epigenetic drive or activity cannot be dissociated from substance. 13 The mystery that Goethe wanted to move to the center of the investigation is what he termed metamorphosis: the coexistence of accuracy in replication with the possibility of variation. The centrality of the concept of metamorphosis to Goethe’s thinking about nature can be derived from a handwritten note to his own Morphologie in which he states, “Form is a thing in motion, in the process of becoming, of passing away.

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