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    'Hermaphroditical mixtures': Margaret Cavendish on nature and art

    James, Susan (2018) 'Hermaphroditical mixtures': Margaret Cavendish on nature and art. In: Thomas, E. (ed.) Early Modern Women on Metaphysics, Religon, and Science. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107178687.

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    Cavendish is critical of two of the experimental sciences of her day: chemistry and microscopy. Rather than creating new things, as their practitioners claim, they produce 'hermaphroditical mixtures'. I trace this startling metaphor to the alchemical tradition and suggest how its origins can help us to understand Cavendish's position. In her view, the chemists and microscopists exaggerate their own power and creativity, and fail to recognise that human creativity belongs primarily to imagination. I show how this theme is worked out in Cavendish's paired texts, Observations on Experimental Philosophy and the fictional Blazing World.


    Item Type: Book Section
    Additional Information: This version is free to view and download for personal use only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. © Cambridge University Press
    School: School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Philosophy
    Depositing User: Susan James
    Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2018 13:49
    Last Modified: 14 Jun 2021 17:31


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