The scientifically marked body: Dehumanization and emasculation in British literature, 1620--1767

Danielle L Spratt, Fordham University

Abstract

From Francis Bacon to Laurence Sterne, authors across the long-eighteenth century use images of anomalous male bodies to critique contemporary claims of scientific omnipotence and infallibility. My study explores how Bacon's New Atlantis, Cavendish's Blazing World, Swift's Gulliver's Travels, and Sterne's Tristram Shandy depict what I refer to as "the scientifically marked body," a male body that has been emasculated, dehumanized, or otherwise deformed by the practice of science. In deploying scientifically marked bodies, these authors engage with scientific texts and cultural debates to reveal science's potential for epistemological fallacy, practical inefficacy, and societal disruption, especially regarding technologies of war, medicine, and colonialism. ^

Subject Area

History of Science|Literature, English|Gender Studies

Recommended Citation

Danielle L Spratt, "The scientifically marked body: Dehumanization and emasculation in British literature, 1620--1767" (January 1, 2011). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI3466719.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3466719

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