By Brian Muñoz, Matthew Landers
Throughout early glossy Europe, the transforming into clinical perform of dissection triggered new and insightful principles concerning the human physique. This choice of essays explores the influence of anatomical wisdom on wider problems with studying and tradition.
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Extra info for Anatomy and the Organization of Knowledge, 1500–1850
26 Published in 1615, Mikrokosmografia exceeds other contemporary examples in the sheer scope of its subjects. Like before, Crooke’s text is adapted mostly from other writers – the title-page credits Gaspar Bauhinus and Andreas Laurentius – yet, the organization structure of Mikrokosmografia matches Vesalius’s attention to systematic detail. Crooke borrows and adapts Vesalius’s illustrations, including his prolific letter-index of body parts. 27 With regard to sectioning, Crooke arranges the text of Mikrokosmografia into thirteen books, with 294 chapters.
Ong might call ‘place’ or ‘space’ logics48 – resulting from the extreme, non-linear distribution of the parts of the narrative and from the functional relations that these partitions maintain with each other. The Anatomy of Melancholy resembles Vesalian anatomies insofar as Burton’s organization of the topic relies on a physical logic of function, avoiding the difficulties raised by linear syllogistic thinking. Just as the anatomist narrates the structure of the body in a non-linear fashion, digressing frequently as he encounters organs and structures, drawing attention to function and association, Burton progresses in a manner suited to the dissection and demonstration of his topic: melancholy.
The aim of this essay has been to suggest (in a limited fashion) how deeply anatomical methodologies altered the way that Europeans went about organizing the world around them. In exposing some of the characteristics of the anatomical mode, I have tried to propose a loose set of rules that shed light on the sudden emergence of a very popular genre during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Lastly, I have attempted to describe how anatomical texts generated an aesthetic form that departed from traditional methods of scholastic examination and explanation, in favour of the new, digressive modality of anatomical demonstration, which, itself, is implied by the ‘physical logic’ that emerges from the systemic relation of parts in the body.
Anatomy and the Organization of Knowledge, 1500–1850 by Brian Muñoz, Matthew Landers