“Sweet Science”: Poetic Biologies around 1800


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Comparative Literature


Examining literary, scientific, and hybrid experiments on the development of living bodies after the French Revolution, this dissertation traces attempts at what Goethe named “tender Empiricism” and Blake “sweet Science”: poetic physiologies and physiological poetics that sought to revise the scene of empirical observation and contest the then-deepening distinction between the natural and human sciences. From Diderot to Goethe, E. Darwin, and Marx, the project seeks out historically-available alternatives to the idealist conceptions of “life,” “matter,” and “figure” that have dominated the twentieth century’s reception and deconstruction of romantic aesthetics, inhabiting various hylozoist positions, and investigating the afterlives of pre-Newtonian, active matter.