By Bernhard Kuhn
Set opposed to the backdrop of a quickly fissuring disciplinary panorama the place poetry and technological know-how are more and more considered as irreconcilable and unrelated, Bernhard Kuhn's research uncovers a formerly neglected, basic connection among autobiography and the typical sciences. studying 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.' fairly, those 3 writers are exemplary in that their autobiographical and medical writings could be learn now not as separate or maybe antithetical yet as jointly constitutive initiatives that problem the newly rising obstacles among medical and humanistic suggestion through the Romantic interval. analyzing each one writer's existence tales and nature works facet by means of aspect - as they have been written - Kuhn unearths the medical personality of autobiographical writing whereas demonstrating the autobiographical nature of average technology. He considers all 3 writers within the context of medical advancements of their personal instances in addition to ours, exhibiting how every one marks a particular level within the transforming into estrangement of the humanities and sciences, from the confident epistemic harmony of Rousseau's time, to the splintering of disciplines into competing methods of figuring out lower than the pressures of specialization and professionalization throughout the past due Romantic age of Thoreau. His e-book therefore strains an unfolding drama, within which those writers and their contemporaries, every one located in an highbrow panorama extra fragmented than the final, search to maintain jointly what smooth tradition is set to damage aside.
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Additional info for Autobiography and Natural Science in the Age of Romanticism
Through botany, Rousseau advances his own understanding of the complex encounter between the self and the other—in this case, a botanical, scientific other—during a time of profoundly-felt estrangement from what he saw as the increasingly atomized world of his contemporaries. In the botanical writings, Rousseau offers a more organic vision of the world by insisting on the complex interrelation between reason and imagination, the intellectual and the sensuous, the sciences and the arts that for him serves as a basis for any genuine apprehension of the natural world and of the self.
Why is his wife Therese, for whom he professes strong affection and respect, left out of the list? And how do we explain the absence of Mme de Warens, arguably the Natural Science and the Self in Rousseau’s Confessions 35 most significant woman in his life and the first with whom he had sexual relations? This difficult task Rousseau leaves entirely up to the reader. The attentive reader, like the attentive botanist, is compelled to return to these flowers of Rousseau’s memory to examine their similarities and differences.
What after all is the connection between women as different as the austere and regal Mme Basile and the “piquant” courtesan Zulietta? Why is his wife Therese, for whom he professes strong affection and respect, left out of the list? And how do we explain the absence of Mme de Warens, arguably the Natural Science and the Self in Rousseau’s Confessions 35 most significant woman in his life and the first with whom he had sexual relations? This difficult task Rousseau leaves entirely up to the reader.
Autobiography and Natural Science in the Age of Romanticism by Bernhard Kuhn