Anamorphosis in Early Modern Literature explores the prevalence of anamorphic perspective in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in England. Jen Boyle investigates how anamorphic media flourished in early modern England as an interactive technology and mode of affect in public interactive art, city and garden design, and as a theory and figure in literature, political theory and natural and experimental philosophy. Anamorphic mediation, Boyle brings to light, provided Milton, Margaret Cavendish, and Daniel Defoe, among others, with a powerful techno-imaginary for traversing through projective, virtual experience. Drawing on extensive archival research related to the genre of "practical perspective" in early modern Europe, Boyle offers a scholarly consideration of anamorphic perspective (its technical means, performances, and embodied practices) as an interactive aesthetics and cultural imaginary. Ultimately, Boyle demonstrates how perspective media inflected a diverse set of knowledges and performances related to embodiment, affect, and collective consciousness.
'…a masterful study of political, philosophical, and epistemological spaces in English literature from Eikonoclastes and Leviathan to Defoe's Journal of the Plague Year. Ranging from 17th century Epicureanism to the invention of calculus, from early modern political theory and epistemology to baroque allegory, Boyle's monograph is intellectually adventurous.' Graham Hammill, SUNY at Buffalo, USA 'Boyle's rigorously intellectual and well-research work will appeal to readers interested in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literature and techno-science. It is also a perfect example of a monograph that every humanities PhD student should study.' Parergon 'The book’s general organization demonstrates a care for introducing, arranging, and following the development of anamorphosis from the second half of the seventeenth century to the first part of the eighteenth, and with major figures familiar to readers.' Philological Quarterly
Contents: Introduction: the anamorphic image; Early modern anamorphosis: ' practical perspective', Lucy Hutchinson's epicurean bodies, and Thomas Hobbes' 'vanishing point'; John Milton and the (new) media image: affect and the anamorphic imaginary; Margaret Cavendish's double perception: affective technics and biopolitical fictions; The observer in Milton's garden and the body of anamorphosis; Projecting the modern: new perspective, the spaces of nationalism, and anamorphic territory; Affect and perceptual technics in Daniel Defoe's A Journal of the Plague Year; Bibliography; Index.