Situated at the intersection of literature and science, Holland's study draws upon a diverse corpus of literary and scientific texts which testify to a cultural fascination with procreation around 1800. Through readings which range from Goethe’s writing on metamorphosis to Novalis’s aphorisms and novels and Ritter’s Fragments from the Estate of a Young Physicist, Holland proposes that each author contributes to a scientifically-informed poetics of procreation. Rather than subscribing to a single biological theory (such as epigenesis or preformation), these authors take their inspiration from a wide inventory of procreative motifs and imagery.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Introduction
Chapter Two: Poetic Procreation and Goethe’s Theory of Metamorphosis
Chapter Three: Friedrich von Hardenberg and the Discourse of Procreation
Chapter Four: The Poet as Artisan and the Instruments of Procreation
Chapter Five: Johann Wilhelm Ritter and the Writing of Life
Chapter Six: Procreative Thinking - Scientific Projects
Jocelyn Holland is Assistant Professor, Department of German and the Program for Comparative Literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
"Holland’s insightful and compelling account brings alive some important debates in Romantic science, illuminating a fascinating chapter in the history of vitalism and materialism alike." – Paul Bishop, University of Glasgow, UK, Modern Language Review