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By Bernhard Kuhn

Set opposed to the backdrop of a swiftly fissuring disciplinary panorama the place poetry and technological know-how are more and more seen as irreconcilable and unrelated, Bernhard Kuhn's examine uncovers a formerly neglected, basic connection among autobiography and the normal sciences. reading the autobiographies and medical writings of Rousseau, Goethe, and Thoreau as consultant in their a while, Kuhn demanding situations the now entrenched thesis of the 'two cultures.' really, those 3 writers are exemplary in that their autobiographical and medical writings could be learn now not as separate or perhaps antithetical yet as together constitutive tasks that problem the newly rising obstacles among medical and humanistic suggestion throughout the Romantic interval. analyzing each one writer's lifestyles tales and nature works part by way of aspect - as they have been written - Kuhn unearths the medical personality of autobiographical writing whereas demonstrating the autobiographical nature of common technological know-how. He considers all 3 writers within the context of clinical advancements of their personal occasions in addition to ours, exhibiting how each marks a particular degree within the growing to be estrangement of the humanities and sciences, from the confident epistemic cohesion of Rousseau's time, to the splintering of disciplines into competing methods of figuring out below the pressures of specialization and professionalization in the course of the past due Romantic age of Thoreau. His e-book hence strains an unfolding drama, within which those writers and their contemporaries, each one positioned in an highbrow panorama extra fragmented than the final, search to maintain jointly what sleek tradition is set to wreck aside.

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Autobiography and Natural Science in the Age of Romanticism

Set opposed to the backdrop of a quickly fissuring disciplinary panorama the place poetry and technology are more and more considered as irreconcilable and unrelated, Bernhard Kuhn's research uncovers a formerly missed, basic connection among autobiography and the ordinary sciences. studying the autobiographies and clinical writings of Rousseau, Goethe, and Thoreau as consultant in their a long time, Kuhn demanding situations the now entrenched thesis of the 'two cultures.

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Extra info for Autobiography and Natural Science in the Age of Romanticism

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19 My description of Stengers’ world-view is taken from the first and last sections of her multi-volume work Cosmopolitiques. The sections and pages in question are “La guerre des sciences” (1: 9–88) and “Pour en finir avec la tolerance” (7: 287–390). My description is inspired mostly from the latter. 18 22 Autobiography and Natural Science in the Age of Romanticism It is the struggle for the difficult peace that has guided my reading of Rousseau, Goethe, and Thoreau. Some in my group may regard my work with suspicion, when I take the scientific writings of Rousseau, Goethe, and Thoreau seriously and place them alongside their celebrated literary works.

What shows itself is only the smallest part of what is; it is the apparent effect whose internal cause is hidden and often very complicated” (586; OC 1: 1149). ” In short, Rousseau must be read in context. Although the task of getting at the primary causes that underlie his actions is probably impossible, as Rousseau himself admits, a sense of the complex and contradictory unity of his character can be gained through an awareness of the text’s myriad patterns of development and change. Taxonomies of Desire Nowhere is this mode of reading more encouraged than in Rousseau’s descriptions of his relationships with women.

Despite Rousseau’s emphasis on the uniqueness of his relationships, it is first and foremost the points of similarity to his affairs with other women that the reader notices. As with most of his amorous liaisons, Rousseau lives the experience with Mme d’Houdetot as though it were a scene out of a novel. He does not initially fall in love with Mme d’Houdetot. Rather, he is “smitten by the romantic air” of the encounter. In an earlier encounter, he flatly states: “This visit had a little of the air of the beginning of a novel” (363; OC 1: 432).

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