Mind, Body, Motion, Matter: Eighteenth-Century British and French Literary Perspectives

Edited by Mary Helen McMurran and Alison Conway

© 2016

Mind, Body, Motion, Matter investigates the relationship between the eighteenth century’s two predominant approaches to the natural world – mechanistic materialism and vitalism – in the works of leading British and French writers such as Daniel Defoe, William Hogarth, Laurence Sterne, the third Earl of Shaftesbury and Denis Diderot. Focusing on embodied experience and the materialization of thought in poetry, novels, art, and religion, the literary scholars in this collection offer new and intriguing readings of these canonical authors. Informed by contemporary currents such as new materialism, cognitive studies, media theory, and post-secularism, their essays demonstrate the volatility of the core ideas opened up by materialism and the possibilities of an aesthetic vitalism of form.

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Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Illustrations: 6
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
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SKU# SP004004

  • PUBLISHED MAR 2016

    From: $57.75

    Regular Price: $77.00

    ISBN 9781442650114
  • PUBLISHED APR 2016

    From: $57.75

    Regular Price: $77.00

Quick Overview

Mind, Body, Motion, Matter investigates the relationship between the eighteenth century’s two predominant approaches to the natural world in the works of leading British and French writers such as Daniel Defoe, William Hogarth, Laurence Sterne, the third Earl of Shaftesbury and Denis Diderot.

Mind, Body, Motion, Matter: Eighteenth-Century British and French Literary Perspectives

Edited by Mary Helen McMurran and Alison Conway

© 2016

Mind, Body, Motion, Matter investigates the relationship between the eighteenth century’s two predominant approaches to the natural world – mechanistic materialism and vitalism – in the works of leading British and French writers such as Daniel Defoe, William Hogarth, Laurence Sterne, the third Earl of Shaftesbury and Denis Diderot. Focusing on embodied experience and the materialization of thought in poetry, novels, art, and religion, the literary scholars in this collection offer new and intriguing readings of these canonical authors. Informed by contemporary currents such as new materialism, cognitive studies, media theory, and post-secularism, their essays demonstrate the volatility of the core ideas opened up by materialism and the possibilities of an aesthetic vitalism of form.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Illustrations: 6
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    ‘Mary Helen McMurran and Alison Conway have edited a great collection of essays on the topic of eighteenth-century science. Mind, Body, Motion, Matter offers an amazing range of topics and concerns.’


    George E. Haggerty
    Studies in English Literature vol 57:03:2017

    ‘This commendable volume will be of interest to scholars active in eighteenth-century studies as well as those whose work borders on this field.’


    Matthew Rowney
    Eighteenth Century Fiction vol 29:03:2017

    "The stimulating articles in this volume present new approaches to some complicated concepts concerning materialism in the eighteenth century, concepts that have been considered and debated before, but not in this impressive, challenging, and, at times, provocative manner…The articles, which are of a uniformly high quality, will appeal to a broad spectrum of interests, aesthetic, literary, philosophical, French, and English."


    Hugh Reid, Carleton University
    University of Toronto Quarterly, vol 87 3, Summer 2018

    "Mind, Body, Motion, Matter, with its thoughtful articulation of contemporary theoretical concerns with eighteenth-century literature, art, aesthetics, and philosophy, represents the leading edge of eighteenth-century studies. A collection of provocative, substantial, and well-argued essays, the volume not only reflects on what is past but also opens onto the future."


    Natania Meeker, Departments of French and Comparative Literature, University of Southern California

    "Each of the essays in this collection helps reshape the way we think about British and French eighteenth-century literary culture. Those who are engaged with eighteenth-century philosophy and science will be especially interested in the range of topics addressed in Mind, Body, Motion, Matter."


    Neil Saccamano, Department of English, Cornell University
  • Author Information

    Mary Helen McMurran is an associate professor in the Department of English and Writing Studies at the University of Western Ontario.


    Alison Conway is a professor in the Department of English Studies at Western University.
  • Table of contents

    Introduction
    Mary Helen McMurran

    Part One: Pre-Reflective Experience

    1 Hogarth’s Practical Aesthetics
    Ruth Mack

    2 Presence of Mind: An Ecology of Perception in Eighteenth-Century England
    Jonathan Kramnick

    3 Reading Locke After Shaftesbury: Feeling Our Way Towards a Postsecular Genealogy of Religious Tolerance
    David Alvarez

    4 Rethinking Superstition: Pagan Ritual in Lafitau’s Moeurs des sauvages
    Mary Helen McMurran

    Part Two: Materialisms

    5 Defoe on Spiritual Communication, Action at a Distance, and the Mind in Motion
    Sara Landreth

    6 The Persistence of Clarissa
    Sarah Ellenzweig

    7 The Early-Modern Embodied Mind and the Entomology Imaginary
    Kate E. Tunstall

    8 Diderot’s Brain
    Joanna Stalnaker

    Conclusion: Can Aesthetics Overcome Instrumental Reason? The Need for Judgment in Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees
    Vivasvan Soni

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