Advertisement

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

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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Royal Society Seventeenth Century Natural Philosopher Experimental Philosophy Natural Knowledge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Bibliography

  1. Adams, Thomas. 1619. The happines of the Church. Or, a aescription of those spirituall prerogatives wherewith Christ Hath endowed her. London.Google Scholar
  2. Alpers, Svetlana. 1983. The art of describing: Dutch art in the seventeenth century. London: John Murray.Google Scholar
  3. Ashworth, William B. Jr. 1996. Emblematic natural history of the Renaissance. In Cultures of natural history, ed. Nicholas Jardine, James A. Secord, and Emma C. Spary, 17–37. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bacon, Francis. 2004. Novum Organum. In The Oxford Francis Bacon, XI, ed. Graham Rees, and Maria Wakely. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Battigelli, Anna. 1998. Margaret Cavendish and the Exiles of the mind. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bennett, J.A. 1980. Robert Hooke as mechanic and natural philosopher. Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 35(1): 33–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bennett, Jim. 2006. Instruments and ingenuity. In Robert Hooke: Tercentennial studies, ed. Michael Cooper, and Michael Hunter, 65–76. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  8. Bowerbank, Sylvia. 1984. The spider’s delight: Margaret Cavendish and the “Female” imagination. English Literary Renaissance 14(3): 392–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Boyle, Robert. 1999. Usefulness of natural philosophy. In The works of Robert Boyle, vol 3, ed. Michael Hunter, and Edward B. Davis. London: Pickering & Chatto.Google Scholar
  10. Browne, Thomas. 1964. Religio Medici. In The works of Sir Thomas Browne, ed. Geoffrey Keynes, 3–93. London: Faber and Faber.Google Scholar
  11. Casaubon, Meric. 1669. A letter of Meric Casaubon, D. D. &c. To Peter Du Moulin D. D. and prebendarie of the same Church: Concerning natural experimental philosophie, and some books lately set out about it. Cambridge.Google Scholar
  12. Cavendish, Margaret. 1664. Philosophical letters; Or, modest reflections upon some opinions in natural philosophy, maintained by several famous and learned authors of this age, expressed by way of letters. London.Google Scholar
  13. ———. 1668. Observations upon experimental philosophy: To which is added, the description of a new blazing world, 2nd edn. London.Google Scholar
  14. Clucas, Steven (ed). 2003. A princely brave woman: Essays on Margaret Cavendish, duchess of newcastle. Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  15. Cottegnies, Line. 2010. Utopia, millenarianism, and the Baconian programme of Margaret Cavendish’s “the blazing world”. In New worlds reflected: Travel and Utopia in the early modern period, ed. Chloë Houston, 71–94. Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  16. Cowles, Thomas. 1934. Dr. Henry Power’s poem on the microscope. Isis 21(1): 71–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dear, Peter. 2007. A philosophical duchess: Understanding Margaret Cavendish. In Science, literature, and rhetoric in early modern England, ed. Juliet Cummins, and David Burchell, 125–144. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  18. Freedberg, David. 2002. The eye of the lynx: Galileo, his friends, and the beginnings of modern natural history. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Harrington, James. 1657. The prerogative of popular government. London.Google Scholar
  20. Harrison, Peter. 2007a. The fall of man and the foundations of science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. ———. 2007b. “The fashioned image of poetry or the regular instruction of philosophy?”: Truth, utility, and the natural Sciences in early modern England. In Science, literature, and rhetoric in early modern England, ed. Juliet Cummins, and David Burchell, 15–35. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  22. Hooke, Robert. 1665. Micrographia: Or some physiological descriptions of minute bodies made by magnifying glasses. With observations and inquiries thereupon. London.Google Scholar
  23. ———. 1705. The posthumous works of Robert Hooke, ed. Richard Waller. London.Google Scholar
  24. Hunter, Michael. 1989. Establishing the new science: The experience of the early Royal Society. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press.Google Scholar
  25. Iyengar, Sujata. 2002. Royalist, romancist, racialist: Rank, gender, and race in the science and fiction of Margaret Cavendish. ELH 69(3): 649–672.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Keller, Eve. 1997. Producing petty gods: Margaret Cavendish’s critique of experimental science. English Literary History 64(2): 447–471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lawson, Ian. 2015. Bears in Eden, Or, this is not the garden you’re looking for: Margaret Cavendish, Robert Hooke, and the limits of natural philosophy. British Journal for the History of Science 48(4): 583–605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lilley, Kate (ed). 2002. The blazing world and other writings. New York: Penguin Classics.Google Scholar
  29. Locke, John. 1690. An essay concerning human understanding. London.Google Scholar
  30. Lüthy, C.H. 1996. Atomism, Lynceus, and the fate of seventeenth-century microscopy. Early Science and Medicine 1(1): 1–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Malcolmson, Cristina. 2013. Studies of skin color in the early Royal Society: Boyle, Cavendish, Swift. Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  32. Newman, William R. 2008. Promethean ambitions: Alchemy and the quest to perfect nature. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  33. Orrje, Jacob. 2009. Reading art, reading nature. How microscopic literature formed seventeenth-century readers. Lychnos: 91–116.Google Scholar
  34. Pepys, Samuel. 1972. The diary of Samuel Pepys, ed. Robert Latham, and William Matthews. London: G. Bell and Sons.Google Scholar
  35. Picciotto, Joanna. 2010. Labors of innocence in early modern England. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Pope, Alexander. 1891. Essay on man. London: Cassell & Company.Google Scholar
  37. Power, Henry. 1664. Experimental philosophy, in three books: Containing new experiments microscopical, mercurial, magnetical. London.Google Scholar
  38. Ripa, Cesare. 1618. Nova Iconologia […] Nella Quale Si descrivono diverse imagini Di Virtu, Vitij, Affetti, Passioni Humane, Arti, Discipline, Humori, Elementi, Corpi Celesti, Provincie d’Italia, Fiumi, Tutte Le Parti Del Mondo, Ed’altre Infinite Materie.… Padova.Google Scholar
  39. Rossi, Paolo. 1996. Bacon’s idea of Science. In The Cambridge companion to Bacon, ed. Marku Peltonen, 25–46. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sarasohn, Lisa T. 2010. The natural philosophy of Margaret Cavendish: Reason and fancy during the scientific revolution. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Seamon, David. 1998. Goethe’s way of science: A phenomenology of nature. New York: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  42. Smellie, William, 1785 trans. Natural history, general and particular, by the Count de Buffon; Translated into English; Illustrated with above three hundred copper-plates, and occasional notes and observations, 2nd ed., vol. 5. London.Google Scholar
  43. Spiller, Elizabeth. 2004. Science, reading, and Renaissance literature: The art of making knowledge, 1580–1670. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sprat, Thomas. 1667. The history of the Royal Society of London, for the improving of natural knowledge. London.Google Scholar
  45. Swift, Jonathan. 2002. Gulliver’s travels, ed. Albert J. Rivero. New York/London: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
  46. Taylor, Paul Beekman. 1993. Chaucer’s eye of the lynx and the limits of vision. The Chaucer Review 28(1): 67–77.Google Scholar
  47. Walters, Lisa. 2014. Margaret Cavendish: Gender, science and politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Webster, Charles. 1967. Henry Power’s experimental philosophy. Ambix 14: 150–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. ———. 1975. The great instauration. Science, medicine and reform 1626–1660. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
  50. Wilkins, John. 1649. A discourse concerning the beauty of providence, in all the rugged passages of it. London.Google Scholar
  51. Wilson, Catherine. 1995. The invisible world: Early modern philosophy and the invention of the microscope. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  52. ———. 2015. Aesthetic appreciation of nature in early modern science. In Vision and its instruments: Art, science, and technology in early modern Europe, ed. Alina Payne, 49–68. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Wren, Stephen. 1750. Parentalia: Or, memoirs of the family of the Wrens; Viz. of Mathew Bishop of Ely, Christopher Dean of Windsor, &c., but Chiefly of Sir Christopher Wren, Late Surveyor-General of the Royal Buildings, President of the Royal Society, &c. &c. London.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations