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Author Davidson, Jenny

Title Breeding : a partial history of the eighteenth century / Jenny Davidson
Published New York : Columbia University Press, [2009]


Description 1 online resource (xviii, 292 pages) : illustrations
Contents Introduction: Breeding Before Biology 1 -- The language of human nature -- The concept of heredity -- Airs, waters, places -- The "Design of Lengthening and Whitening His Posterity" -- Perfectibility and Englightenment -- Looking-glass determinism -- The Ghost Structure -- Archeologies of ashes -- A nuance exercise -- Partial history -- Chapter 1 The Rules of Resemblance 14 -- The question of scale -- Theatrical adaptations as cultural indicators -- Inheriting properties -- Why Children Look Like Their Fathers -- The Winter's Tale -- Marrying scions and stock -- "Art thou my boy?" -- "The whole matter / And copy of the father" -- The Rules of Resemblance -- Aristotle's carpenter -- The maternal imagination -- Jacob and Laban's sheep -- Aristoteles Master-Piece -- The organs of Adam and Eve -- Taffeta breeches -- "Nature's Bastards" -- Perdita's gillyflowers -- "The art itself is Nature" -- Egalitarian eugenics -- Grafting as metaphor -- Literary criticism and the science of genetics -- "Her Royal Image Stampt on Thee" -- Garrick's Florizel and Perdita -- "This pretty abstract of Hermione" -- Biparental heredity -- Why girls look like their mothers -- Burney's Evelina -- Inchbald's A Simple Story -- Darwin's novel-reading -- "To the memory of the fractured leg of my dear mother" -- Chapter 2 Bent 39 -- The blank slate -- "God has stampt certain Characters upon Mens Minds" -- The two cultures -- The Blank Slate -- Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding -- The mind as white paper -- Original tempers and native propensities -- "Adam's Children" -- Sinners by Descent -- Augustine's generatione non imitatione -- The Pelagian heresy -- Genetic perfectibility -- Timothy Nourse's "Original Curse" -- "A Meer Errant Cat" -- "AEsopes Damosell" -- Blood and kind -- "Gentlemen born" -- Chapter 3 Cultures of Improvement 58 -- Habit as second nature -- Fantasies of improvement, fears of degeneration -- Deucalion's Kin -- The Georgics -- Dryden's translation -- Jethro Tull and The New Horse-Houghing Husbandry -- Prose georgics and savage nature -- "A Living Magazine" -- Defoe's Robinson Crusoe -- "An education according to nature" -- The work of Providence -- Perfect Wildness -- The Wild Boy of Hamelin -- Defoe's Mere Nature Delineated -- "A lump of soft Wax" -- The Wolf Girls of Midnapore -- Original sin -- Forbidden experiments -- "A Perfect Yahoo" -- Species thinking -- Swift's Gulliver's Travels -- Locke's parrot -- "Teachableness, Civility and Cleanliness" -- "The Females had a natural Propensity to me as one of their own Species" -- Prolific mixtures -- The Perfectibility Problem -- Gulliver redux -- Putting an end to the species -- Plato's Republic -- More's naked women -- A Modest Proposal -- The calculus of breeding -- "Properties Descend!" -- Osmer versus Wall on equine improvement -- "Ascertaining What Species Can Procreate Together" -- Bradley's "cross Couplings" -- Bonnet and Spallanzani ponder the mystery of fecundation -- Maupertuis and the Earthly Venus -- Frederick of Prussia and the beautification of the nation -- Hybrids, varieties and human polygenesis -- La Mettrie prunes man like a tree -- Vandermonde and Gregory improve the human species -- Differences of Climate -- Sheep-rearing -- "The old hairy Tegument" -- Climate theory and Hartley's alterations -- Bodily organs -- Man as a domestic animal -- "The Management of Human Creatures" -- Proto-eugenicist arguments -- Hume's "Of the Populousness of Ancient Nations" -- Multiplying the species -- Wallace on the numbers of mankind -- Diderot's Supplement au Voyage de Bougainville and global experiments in breeding -- Crabs and Brambles -- Smollett's The Expedition of Humphry Clinker -- Raymond Williams country -- Georgic fantasies and filthy realism -- The reproductive life -- "The Blackberry is the fruit of the Bramble" -- Dunghills -- "A crab of my own planting" -- Fruit of a peculiar flavor -- Chapter 4 A Natural History of Inequality 112 -- Splitting the culturalist consensus -- The Difference between One Man and Another -- Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality -- The idea of perfectibility -- The origin of difference -- The savage and the domesticated condition -- Civilization largely responsible for misery -- "We Are Born Twice Over" -- Rousseau's Emile -- "Nature's characters" -- "The present confusion between the sexes" -- "Nature's Own Pencil" -- The elocutionists -- "A natural tendency to degeneration" -- Thomas Sheridan and the language of Nature -- Condillac -- Harris's Hermes -- Herries' The Elements of Speech -- Human improvement -- Bound feet and misshapen heads -- Hippocratic habit -- "Nature framed her self to that Custome" -- The Natural Inequality of Man -- Monboddo's savages -- Acquired habits -- Custom a second nature -- Natural inequality -- "A Purity, Hwich Coarts Doo Not Always Bestow" -- Orthoepy -- Orthography -- Waistcoats and cucumbers -- "The onliest way to rise in the world" -- Vocabularies unintelligible to eye and ear -- Elphinston's Propriety Ascertained in her Picture -- Priestley on the laws of language and the laws of government -- The tacit obligations of language -- Noah Webster on the "ipse dixit of a Johnson, a Garrick, or a Sheridan" -- "I would have all the birds of the air to retain somewhat of their own notes" -- The Edgeworths' Essay on Irish Bulls -- "If an Englishman were born in Ireland" -- The logic of shibboleth -- Chapter 5 Blots on the Landscape 149 -- Promethean thinking on population -- "A monster, a blot upon the earth" -- Sidelining sexual reproduction -- "This Blot in Our Country Increases" -- Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia -- "Twenty of the best geniuses will be raked from the rubbish annually" -- The varieties of man -- "The extermination of the one or the other race" -- Color mixture -- Subjects of natural history -- "The Incessant Improveableness of the Human Species" -- Godwin's An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, and Its Influence on General Virtue and Happiness and other writings on education -- Priestley on man's unbounded improvement -- Condorcet on the progress of perfectibility -- Gulliver's Travels and original sin -- Mind's tendency to rise -- Helvetius on the importance of education -- Physical influences on man -- The perverseness of institutions -- Differences between human beings -- Hercules and his brother -- "Human creatures are born into the world with various dispositions" -- Physiognomy as fatalism -- "Encumbering the World with Useless and Wretched Beings" -- The animal function of sex (Godwin, Condorcet) -- Malthus's Essay on Population -- The restraining bonds of society -- Cabanis and others on human improvement -- Chapter 6 Shibboleths 189 -- Edwidge Danticat's The Farming of Bones -- Handfuls of parsley -- Shibboleths -- Walker's Intermarriage -- Pinker's The Language Instinct -- Genes and culture -- The Ebonics controversy -- Race and voice -- The Blackmail of Enlightenment -- Foucault's "What Is Enlightenment?" -- Gestures of hospitality -- Accessibility and difficulty -- The problem of disciplines -- Conclusion: The Promise of Perfection 199 -- "Where is now, the progress of the human Mind?" -- Adams versus Jefferson on the natural equality of mankind -- Sandel, Zizek, and Passmore on the allure of perfectibility -- Overrating talent -- The realm of causation
Summary "The Enlightenment commitment to reason naturally gave rise to a belief in the perfectibility of man. Influenced by John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, many eighteenth-century writers argued that the proper education and upbringing & -breeding & -could make any man a member of the cultural elite
Yet even in this egalitarian environment, the concept of breeding remained tied to theories of blood lineage, caste distinction, and biological difference. Turning to the works of Locke, Rousseau, Swift, Defoe, and other giants of the British Enlightenment, Jenny Davidson revives the debates that raged over the husbandry of human nature and highlights their critical impact on the development of eugenics, the emergence of fears about biological determinism, and the history of the language itself. Combining rich historical research with a keen sense of story, she links explanations for the physical resemblance between parents and children to larger arguments about culture and society and shows how the threads of this compelling conversation reveal the character of a century. A remarkable intellectual history, Breedingnot only recasts the fundamental concerns of the Enlightenment but also uncovers the seeds of thought that bloomed into contemporary notions of human perfectibility."--Jacket
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 253-279) and index
Notes In English
Print version record
Subject English literature -- 18th century -- History and criticism
Breeding -- Great Britain -- Philosophy -- History -- 18th century
Education and heredity -- Philosophy -- History -- 18th century
Nature and nurture -- Great Britain -- Philosophy -- History -- 18th century
Breeding in literature.
Heredity in literature.
Biology in literature.
Eugenics in literature.
Eugenics -- History -- 18th century
Literature and science -- Great Britain -- History -- 18th century
HISTORY -- Modern -- 18th Century.
Biology in literature
Breeding in literature
English literature
Eugenics in literature
Heredity in literature
Literature and science
Erziehung Motiv
Eugenik Motiv
Vererbung Motiv
Literatuur (fictie en non-fictie)
Voortplanting (biologie)
Erfelijkheid en omgeving.
Great Britain
Verenigd Koninkrijk van Groot-Brittannië en Noord-Ierland.
Genre/Form Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Form Electronic book
ISBN 9780231511117