Enlightenment--France, Intellectuals--France--History--19th century, Intellectuals--Health and hygiene--France--History--18th century, Intellectuals--Health and hygiene--France--History--19th century, and Intellectuals--France--History--18th century
As early as Aristotle's Problem XXX, intellectual superiority has been linked to melancholy. The association between sickness and genius continued to be a topic for discussion in the work of early modern writers, most recognizably in Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy. But it was not until the eighteenth century that the phenomenon known as the'suffering scholar'reached its apotheosis, a phenomenon illustrated by the popularity of works such as Samuel-Auguste Tissot's De la santé des gens de lettres, first published in 1768. Though hardly limited to French-speaking Europe, the link between mental endeavor and physical disorder was embraced with particular vigor there, as was the tendency to imbue intellectuals with an aura of otherness and detachment from the world. Intellectuals and artists were portrayed as peculiarly susceptible to altered states of health as well as psyche—the combination of mental intensity and somatic frailty proved both the privileges and the perils of knowledge-seeking and creative endeavor.In Suffering Scholars, Anne C. Vila focuses on the medical and literary dimensions of the cult of celebrity that developed around great intellectuals during the French Enlightenment. Beginning with Tissot's work, which launched a subgenre of health advice aimed specifically at scholars, she demonstrates how writers like Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, and Mme de Staël, responded to the'suffering scholar'syndrome and helped to shape it. She traces the ways in which this syndrome influenced the cultural perceptions of iconic personae such as the philosophe, the solitary genius, and the learned lady. By showing how crucial the so-called suffering scholar was to debates about the mind-body relation as well as to sex and sensibility, Vila sheds light on the consequences book-learning was thought to have on both the individual body and the body politic, not only in the eighteenth century but also into the decades following the Revolution.
Senses and sensation--History--18th century and Enlightenment
This volume examines the varied ways in which the senses were perceived afresh during the Enlightenment. In addition to introducing new philosophical and scientific models which sometimes upended the classic hierarchy of the senses, this period witnessed major changes in living and working habits, including urbanization, travel and exploration, the invention of new sonic and visual media, and the rise of comfort and pleasure as values that cut across a range of social classes. As this volume shows, those developments inspired a wealth of sensorially stimulating styles of design, art, music, poetry, foodstuffs, material goods and modes of worship and entertainment. The volume also demonstrates the period's countervailing concern with managing the senses, evident in fields like natural philosophy, medicine, education, religion, and public hygiene. Finally, it explores some of the Enlightenment's desensualizing tendencies, like the separation of sensuous body from discerning mind in certain arenas of science and manufacturing, and the late 18th-century shift away from a politics of publicity, or intense visual and aural scrutiny, toward the secret ballot.A Cultural History of the Senses in the Age of Enlightenment presents essays on the following topics: the social life of the senses; urban sensations; the senses in the marketplace; the senses in religion; the senses in philosophy and science; medicine and the senses; the senses in literature; art and the senses; and sensory media.