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Imperfect Creatures: Vermin, Literature, and the Sciences of Life, 1600-1740
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Bibliographic Detail
Publisher Univ of Michigan Pr
Publication date February 26, 2016
Pages 240
Binding Paperback
Book category Adult Non-Fiction
ISBN-13 9780472052950
ISBN-10 0472052950
Dimensions 0.50 by 6 by 9 in.
Weight 0.85 lbs.
Original list price $39.95
Other format details university press
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Summaries and Reviews
Amazon.com description: Product Description:
Lucinda Cole’s Imperfect Creatures offers the first full-length study of the shifting, unstable, but foundational status of “vermin” as creatures and category in the early modern literary, scientific, and political imagination. In the space between theology and an emergent empiricism, Cole’s 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 Shakespeare’sHamlet and Macbeth, Christopher Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta, Jonathan Swift’sGulliver’s Travels, Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and Journal of the Plague Year, Giambattista Della Porta’sNatural Magick, William Harvey’s Anatomical Exercises on the Generation of Animals; Thomas Willis' Cerebri Anatome andOf the Soul of Brutes, and Robert Boyle’s Free Inquiry into the Vulgarly Receiv’d Notion of Nature.

As Cole illustrates, human health and demographic problems—notably those of feeding populations periodically stricken by hunger, disease, and famine—were 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, Cole’s study indicates, so-called “vermin” occupied liminal spaces between subject and object, nature and animal, animal and the devil, the devil and disease—even reason and madness. This verminous discourse formed a foundational category used to carve out humankind’s 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 politic—humans, animals, and even thoughts.



Editions
Hardcover
Book cover for 9780472072958
 
from Univ of Michigan Pr (February 26, 2016)
9780472072958 | details & prices | 240 pages | 6.25 × 9.25 × 1.00 in. | 1.20 lbs | List price $75.00
About: Lucinda Cole’s Imperfect Creatures offers the first full-length study of the shifting, unstable, but foundational status of “vermin” as creatures and category in the early modern literary, scientific, and political imagination.
Paperback
Book cover for 9780472052950
 
The price comparison is for this edition
from Univ of Michigan Pr (February 26, 2016)
9780472052950 | details & prices | 240 pages | 6.00 × 9.00 × 0.50 in. | 0.85 lbs | List price $39.95
About: Lucinda Cole’s Imperfect Creatures offers the first full-length study of the shifting, unstable, but foundational status of “vermin” as creatures and category in the early modern literary, scientific, and political imagination.

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