In the early modern period, poetic form underpinned and influenced scientific progress. The language and imagery of seventeenth-century writers and natural philosophers reveal how the age-old struggle between body and soul led to the brain?s emergence as a curiosity in its own right. Investigating the intersection of the humanities and sciences in the works of authors ranging from William Shakespeare and John Donne to William Harvey, Margaret Cavendish, and Johann Remmelin, Lianne Habinek tells how early modernity came to view the brain not simply as grey matter but as a wealth of other wondrous possibilities ? a book in which to read the soul?s writing, a black box to be violently unlocked, a womb to nourish intellectual conception, a creative engine, a subtle knot that traps the soul and thereby makes us human. For seventeenth-century thinkers, she argues, these comparisons were not simply casual metaphors but integral to early ideas about brain function. Demonstrating how the disparate fields of neuroscientific history and literary studies converged, The Subtle Knot tells the story of how the mind came to be identified with the brain.
|Publisher:||McGill-Queens University Press|
|Edition description:||3rd ed.|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)|
About the Author
Lianne Habinek is assistant professor of English at Bard College.
Table of Contents
1 Untying the Subtle Knot: Anatomical Metaphor and the Case of the Rete Mirabile 35
2 Altered States: Hamlet and Early Modern Head Trauma 68
3 Labour Pains: William Harvey and the Travails of Conception 91
4 The Mechanics of Reproduction in the Art of Cavendish 119
5 The Bookish Brain: Moxon, Willis, and the Transformation of Flap Anatomy 153
Coda The Brain of Dr Deijman 205