Amazon.com description: Product Description
Lucinda ColeÃ¢ÂÂs Imperfect Creatures offers the first full-length study of the shifting, unstable, but foundational status of Ã¢ÂÂverminÃ¢ÂÂ as creatures and category in the early modern literary, scientific, and political imagination. In the space between theology and an emergent empiricism, ColeÃ¢ÂÂs argument engages a wide historical swath of canonical early modern literary texts alongside other nonliterary primary sources (including under-examined archival materials) from the period, including: William ShakespeareÃ¢ÂÂsHamlet and Macbeth, Christopher MarloweÃ¢ÂÂs The Jew of Malta, Jonathan SwiftÃ¢ÂÂsGulliverÃ¢ÂÂs Travels, Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and Journal of the Plague Year, Giambattista Della PortaÃ¢ÂÂsNatural Magick, William HarveyÃ¢ÂÂs Anatomical Exercises on the Generation of Animals; Thomas Willis'ÃÂ Cerebri Anatome andOf the Soul of Brutes, and Robert BoyleÃ¢ÂÂs Free Inquiry into the Vulgarly ReceivÃ¢ÂÂd Notion of Nature.
As Cole illustrates, human health and demographic problemsÃ¢ÂÂnotably those of feeding populations periodically stricken by hunger, disease, and famineÃ¢ÂÂwere tied to larger questions about food supplies, property laws, national identity, even the theological imperatives that underwrote humankind's claim to dominion over the animal kingdom. In this context, ColeÃ¢ÂÂs study indicates, so-called Ã¢ÂÂverminÃ¢ÂÂ occupied liminal spaces between subject and object, nature and animal, animal and the devil, the devil and diseaseÃ¢ÂÂeven reason and madness. This verminous discourse formed a foundational category used to carve out humankindÃ¢ÂÂs relationship to an unpredictable, a-rational natural world, but it evolved into a form for thinking about not merely animals but anything that threatened the health of the body politicÃ¢ÂÂhumans, animals, and even thoughts.