Vital Matters: Eighteenth-Century Views of Conception, Life, and Death
Eighteenth-century questions about the properties essential to life often explored the boundary between the physical world of the body and the immaterial world of the mind and soul. Locating materialism within the larger history of ideas, Vital Matters examines how and why eighteenth-century scientists, philosophers, writers, and artists questioned nature and its animating principles.
In this volume, interdisciplinary essays by premier scholars in literary studies, art history, and the history of science and medicine analyse a wide range of subjects, including ghosts and funerary practices, dissection and digestion, automata, and monstrous births. Featuring new approaches to literary texts such as Lawrence Sterne's Tristram Shandy and paintings such as Girodet's Eternal Sleep, as well as new research on cases from the history of medicine and the history of science, Vital Matters reconsiders Enlightenment oppositions between body and mind, brain and soul, life and death, and the physical and the abstract.
- Series: UCLA Clark Memorial Library Series
- World Rights
- Page Count: 344 pages
- Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.2in x 9.4in
Reviews‘This is a collection that is breathtaking in its range… Deutsch and Terrall have compiled an admirably broad range of contributions on a topic of crucial importance for eighteenth-century studies, and this is a book that deserves to be read by students of its themes and period. In the final analysis, Vital Matters matters.’
Modern Language Review vol 109:01:2014
‘This study would fascinate anyone with even slightest interest in either the eighteenth century or the perennial issues of life and death that it explores…A superb collection… Vital Matters is a wonderful contribution to the literature of eighteenth century thought.’
James Stacey Taylor
The Historian vol 76:03:2014
Author InformationHelen Deutsch is a professor in the Department of English at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Mary Terrall is a professor in the Department of History at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Table of contents
Helen Deutsch and Mary Terrall
1 Living with Lucretius
2 Dismantl'd Souls: The Verse Epistle, Embodied Subjectivity, and Poetic Animation
3 Girodet and the Eternal Sleep
4 Tristram Shandy and the Art of Conception
5 Material Impressions: Conception, Sensibility and Inheritance
6 Misconceiving the Heir: Mind and Matter in the Warming-Pan Propaganda
7 From the Man-Machine to the Automation-Man: The Enlightenment Origins of the Mechanistic Imagery of Humanity
8 The ‘fair Savage’: Empiricism and Essence in Sarah Fielding's The History of Ophelia
9 Food and Feeling: ‘Digestive Force’ and the Nature of Morbidity in Vitalist Medicine
Elizabeth A. Williams
10 The divine touch, or touching divines: John Hunter, David Hume and the Bishop of Durham's rectum
11 The Value of a Dead Body
12 Noticing Death: Funeral Invitations and Obituaries in Early Modern Britain
Subjects and Courses