Hybrid Philosophers: Cavendish’s Reading of Hooke’s Micrographia

  • Ian Lawson
Part of the Palgrave Handbooks of Literature and Science book series (PAHALISC)


The animals which appear in Robert Hooke’s Micrographia (1665) and Margaret Cavendish’s The Blazing World (1666)1 illustrate the two authors’ very different ideas about the relationship humans have with nature. In this paper I will argue that the human-animal hybrid characters who are a memorable part of Cavendish’s story were in fact a response to and parody of Hooke’s drawings and descriptions of insects enlarged with a microscope. The two lots of creatures can be seen as emblems of conflicting ideas about the correct methodology for natural philosophy.


Royal Society Seventeenth Century Natural Philosopher Experimental Philosophy Natural Knowledge 
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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian Lawson
    • 1
  1. 1.Unit for History and Philosophy of ScienceUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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