By Zakiya Hanafi
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Extra info for The Monster in the Machine: Magic, Medicine, and the Marvelous in the Time of the Scientific Revolution
And ﬁnally, it also mutilates the specimen. Purely as a ‘‘gedanken’’ experiment, imagine this same monster born during the Roman Republic. Let us unfocus our eyes a little, blur the image, and step back some distance. An animal of some kind is brought into a ﬁeld; a group of eminent, highly learned men appears and gathers around. They examine the creature, take careful monstrous matter 25 figure 1 Glass jars with monstrous fetuses displayed along with ethnographic curiosities, jewelry and other artiﬁcialia in the Levin Museum.
This assumption is what leads to an interest in describing the exact arrangement of limbs and organs of the anomalous being. Other formulations of the relation of spirit to form and matter give rise to different reactions, which we will examine later. A patient reading of Benedetto Varchi’s lesson will not only make this evident, it will also set up the parameters for the discussion that follows. ’’≥∞ Neither artiﬁcial nor natural beings (‘‘all things, including those produced by art, that are generated by Nature’’) can be products of chance or fortune.
Above’’ and ‘‘below,’’ ‘‘more tender’’ and ‘‘more hard,’’ Varchi’s description is a densely packed set of attributes that compares and contrasts while ranging freely over the extension of the visible body. A prose of comparison, a prose of astonishing perplexity: the monster challenges Varchi both conceptually and stylistically, stretching the use of parallel structure to the limits of intelligibility. When we have ﬁnished reading this passage, difference and identity, one and other, two and one, have been exchanged so often, and played against each other so incessantly, that they begin to resemble each other.
The Monster in the Machine: Magic, Medicine, and the Marvelous in the Time of the Scientific Revolution by Zakiya Hanafi