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    Love, wind eggs, and mere conceptions: non-generation in William Harvey’s De conceptione

    Davis, Isabel (2019) Love, wind eggs, and mere conceptions: non-generation in William Harvey’s De conceptione. Textual Practice 33 (8), pp. 1321-1340. ISSN 0950-236X.

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    This essay offers a new reading of William Harvey’s De conceptione, considering for the first time its interest in non-generative conception. Further, it considers the way that Harvey entangles observations about erotic and maternal love in his discussions of the conceiving body. Love provides a context which Harvey reads for information about conception. But, for Harvey, conception and generation are not synonymous. Conceptions can be without as well as with a foetus, and Harvey is at least as interested in non-generation as he is in generation, and false pregnancy as pregnancy. Harvey’s notion of an immaterial or ‘mere’ conception, on which he builds an intricate analogy about the relation of uterus and brain, is designed to accommodate un-reproductive as well as reproductive experience. Reading signs of love – desires, devotions, intimacies – gives Harvey a way of distinguishing between different kinds of reproductive non-events, health and pathology. He offers an extended consideration of wind eggs and uses fictions of the wind to credit the loves of those that produce no offspring as nonetheless creatively conceiving and biologically demonstrative.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis, available online at the link above.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): William Harvey, false pregnancy, conception, uterus, wind eggs, psychophysiology
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2019 09:38
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:46


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