The Monster in the Machine : Magic, Medicine, and the Marvelous in the Time of the Scientific Revolution

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9780822325680: The Monster in the Machine : Magic, Medicine, and the Marvelous in the Time of the Scientific Revolution

The Monster in the Machine tracks the ways in which human beings were defined in contrast to supernatural and demonic creatures during the time of the Scientific Revolution. Zakiya Hanafi recreates scenes of Italian life and culture from the late sixteenth to the early eighteenth centuries to show how monsters were conceptualized at this particular locale and historical juncture—a period when the sacred was being supplanted by a secular, decidedly nonmagical way of looking at the world.
Noting that the word “monster” is derived from the Latin for “omen” or “warning,” Hanafi explores the monster’s early identity as a portent or messenger from God. Although monsters have always been considered “whatever we are not,” they gradually were tranformed into mechanical devices when new discoveries in science and medicine revealed the mechanical nature of the human body. In analyzing the historical literature of monstrosity, magic, and museum collections, Hanafi uses contemporary theory and the philosophy of technology to illuminate the timeless significance of the monster theme. She elaborates the association between women and the monstrous in medical literature and sheds new light on the work of Vico—particularly his notion of the conatus—by relating it to Vico’s own health. By explicating obscure and fascinating texts from such disciplines as medicine and poetics, she invites the reader to the piazzas and pulpits of seventeenth-century Naples, where poets, courtiers, and Jesuit preachers used grotesque figures of speech to captivate audiences with their monstrous wit.
Drawing from a variety of texts from medicine, moral philosophy, and poetics, Hanafi’s guided tour through this baroque museum of ideas will interest readers in comparative literature, Italian literature, history of ideas, history of science, art history, poetics, women’s studies, and philosophy.

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Review :

How do we know we're human if we have nothing to compare ourselves to? Cultural critic Zakiya Hanafi looks at the changing role of the monstrous in Western thinking from classical through early modern times in The Monster in the Machine. Hanafi is witty and literate in her dissection of this corpus of ideas, though there is occasionally a sense that she is presenting a cabinet of curiosities rather than a single thesis. Still, the historically minded reader will find much to explore in the thoroughly referenced text.

We humans make ourselves in the same way we make our pet monsters: in a laboratory according to a recipe of natural magic; in a grotto according to the laws of hydraulics; on the dissecting table according to the latest physiological theory. With our minds, our passions, and our bodies, say the early modern natural philosophers, we manufacture ourselves and our creations in our own image.

Focusing on the transformation of monsters from supernatural beings to objects of study more-or-less continuous with humans and animals, Hanafi points out problematic theory and practice that likely affect current thinking. Though we might not blame a woman's early death from miscarriage on a too-strong intellect, our categories and roles may still be as rigidly defined as Vico's. The best history is conscious of its projections; The Monster in the Machine is smart enough to make it so. --Rob Lightner

From the Back Cover :

"A well-researched, engagingly written, rich, and enlightening study."--Deanna Shemek, author of "Ladies Errant: Wayward Women and Social Order in Early Modern Italy"

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Zakiya Hanafi
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Description du livre Duke University Press, United States, 2000. Paperback. État : New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Monster in the Machine tracks the ways in which human beings were defined in contrast to supernatural and demonic creatures during the time of the Scientific Revolution. Zakiya Hanafi recreates scenes of Italian life and culture from the late sixteenth to the early eighteenth centuries to show how monsters were conceptualized at this particular locale and historical juncture-a period when the sacred was being supplanted by a secular, decidedly nonmagical way of looking at the world. Noting that the word monster is derived from the Latin for omen or warning, Hanafi explores the monster s early identity as a portent or messenger from God. Although monsters have always been considered whatever we are not, they gradually were tranformed into mechanical devices when new discoveries in science and medicine revealed the mechanical nature of the human body. In analyzing the historical literature of monstrosity, magic, and museum collections, Hanafi uses contemporary theory and the philosophy of technology to illuminate the timeless significance of the monster theme.She elaborates the association between women and the monstrous in medical literature and sheds new light on the work of Vico-particularly his notion of the conatus-by relating it to Vico s own health. By explicating obscure and fascinating texts from such disciplines as medicine and poetics, she invites the reader to the piazzas and pulpits of seventeenth-century Naples, where poets, courtiers, and Jesuit preachers used grotesque figures of speech to captivate audiences with their monstrous wit. Drawing from a variety of texts from medicine, moral philosophy, and poetics, Hanafi s guided tour through this baroque museum of ideas will interest readers in comparative literature, Italian literature, history of ideas, history of science, art history, poetics, women s studies, and philosophy. N° de réf. du libraire AAJ9780822325680

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Description du livre Duke University Press, United States, 2000. Paperback. État : New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Monster in the Machine tracks the ways in which human beings were defined in contrast to supernatural and demonic creatures during the time of the Scientific Revolution. Zakiya Hanafi recreates scenes of Italian life and culture from the late sixteenth to the early eighteenth centuries to show how monsters were conceptualized at this particular locale and historical juncture-a period when the sacred was being supplanted by a secular, decidedly nonmagical way of looking at the world. Noting that the word monster is derived from the Latin for omen or warning, Hanafi explores the monster s early identity as a portent or messenger from God. Although monsters have always been considered whatever we are not, they gradually were tranformed into mechanical devices when new discoveries in science and medicine revealed the mechanical nature of the human body. In analyzing the historical literature of monstrosity, magic, and museum collections, Hanafi uses contemporary theory and the philosophy of technology to illuminate the timeless significance of the monster theme.She elaborates the association between women and the monstrous in medical literature and sheds new light on the work of Vico-particularly his notion of the conatus-by relating it to Vico s own health. By explicating obscure and fascinating texts from such disciplines as medicine and poetics, she invites the reader to the piazzas and pulpits of seventeenth-century Naples, where poets, courtiers, and Jesuit preachers used grotesque figures of speech to captivate audiences with their monstrous wit. Drawing from a variety of texts from medicine, moral philosophy, and poetics, Hanafi s guided tour through this baroque museum of ideas will interest readers in comparative literature, Italian literature, history of ideas, history of science, art history, poetics, women s studies, and philosophy. N° de réf. du libraire AAJ9780822325680

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Description du livre Duke University Press. Paperback. État : new. BRAND NEW, The Monster in the Machine: Magic, Medicine, and the Marvelous in the Time of the Scientific Revolution, Zakiya Hanafi, "The Monster in the Machine" tracks the ways in which human beings were defined in contrast to supernatural and demonic creatures during the time of the Scientific Revolution. Zakiya Hanafi recreates scenes of Italian life and culture from the late sixteenth to the early eighteenth centuries to track how monsters were conceptualised at this particular locale and historical juncture - a period when the sacred was being supplanted by a secular, decidedly nonmagical way of looking at the world. Explaining that the word 'monster' is derived from the Latin for 'omen' or 'warning', Hanafi begins with an exploration of the monster's early identity as a portent or messenger from God. While monsters have always been considered 'whatever we are not', they were gradually thought of more as mechanical devices when new discoveries in science and medicine began to reveal the mechanical nature of the human body itself. In analysing the historical literature of monstrosity, magic, and museum collections, Hanafi uses contemporary theory and philosophy of technology to illuminate the timeless significance of the monster theme. She elaborates the association within medical literature between women and the monstrous and sheds new light on the work of Vico - particularly his notion of the conatus - by analysing it in relation to Vico's own personal health. By explicating obscure and fascinating texts from such disciplines as medicine and poetics, she invites the reader to the piazzas and pulpits of seventeenth-century Naples, where poets, courtiers, and Jesuit preachers used grotesque figures of speech to captivate their audiences with their monstrous wit. Drawing from a variety of texts from medicine, moral philosophy, and poetics, Hanafi's guided tour through this baroque museum of ideas will interest readers in comparative literature, Italian literature, history of ideas, history of science, art history, poetics, women's studies, and philosophy. N° de réf. du libraire B9780822325680

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