Curiosity: A Cultural History of Early Modern Inquiry

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University of Chicago Press, Aug 1, 2002 - Literary Criticism - 296 pages
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In this striking social history, Barbara M. Benedict draws on the texts of the early modern period to discover the era's attitudes toward curiosity, a trait we learn was often depicted as an unsavory form of transgression or cultural ambition.
  

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Curiosity: a cultural history of early modern inquiry

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Although curiosity is generally considered a virtue in Western culture, in early modern England (1660-1820) a curious person was thought to harbor social ambitions or threaten the very order of nature ... Read full review

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Chapter aren't united by any coherent theme.

Contents

INSPECTING AND SPECTATING MONSTERS RARITIESm AND INVESTIGATORS
1
REGULATING CURIOSITY
25
The Discipline of Fraud
28
Curiosity as Second Sight
52
CONSUMING CURIOSITY
71
Monstrous Modernity and Curious Art
74
The Curious Eye
92
FROM THE CURIOUS TO THE CURIO
118
CONNOISSEURSHIP IN THE MENTAL CABINET
158
Curiosities of Artful Nature
164
Collecting Culture in the Printed Museum
180
PERFORMING CURIOSITY
202
The Curious Control of Nature
206
Curiosity as Social Reform
228
TRANSGRESSION AND AMBITION
245
NOTES
255

The Inquiry of Eye
121
Women as Closetted Curiosities
134

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About the author (2002)

Barbara M. Benedict is the Charles A. Dana Professor of English, and chair of the Department of English, at Trinity College, Connecticut. She is the author of Making the Modern Reader: Cultural Mediation in Early Modern Literary Anthologies and Framing Feeling: Sentiment and Style in English Prose Fiction, 1745-1800.

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