Citation

"Accidents of Verte": Thomas Browne and the Aesthetics of Vegetal Life

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Abstract:

How is aliveness known? This paper argues that the essays of Thomas Browne grant special purchase on that most basal and subsensible of vital phenomena, vegetative life. Much is at work in Browne's lavishly constructed prose, not the least of which is a theory of knowledge invested in the real potential of rigorous imaginative conjecture to possess, in some imaginative form, what has yet to be empirically determined—or, in the case of vegetal life, what has yet to be manifested. At the same time, Browne inverts classical ontological paradigms, transfiguring the vegetal not as the lowermost stratum in the hierarchy of life processes (the very stratum or line, as critics of biopolitics have shown, from which human life is understood to bifurcate), but as the apex of biological being. Finally, this life, as pursued in Browne's investigative aesthetics, invites us to ponder anew if we have ever been modern—or human.

Author's Keywords:

Thomas Browne, Agamben, Science, Plant Studies
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Association:
Name: RSA Annual Meeting
URL:
http://www.rsa.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p525229_index.html
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MLA Citation:

OConnell, Caryn. ""Accidents of Verte": Thomas Browne and the Aesthetics of Vegetal Life" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the RSA Annual Meeting, Grand Hyatt, Washington, DC,, <Not Available>. 2014-11-24 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p525229_index.html>

APA Citation:

OConnell, C. ""Accidents of Verte": Thomas Browne and the Aesthetics of Vegetal Life" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the RSA Annual Meeting, Grand Hyatt, Washington, DC, <Not Available>. 2014-11-24 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p525229_index.html

Publication Type: Panel Paper
Abstract: How is aliveness known? This paper argues that the essays of Thomas Browne grant special purchase on that most basal and subsensible of vital phenomena, vegetative life. Much is at work in Browne's lavishly constructed prose, not the least of which is a theory of knowledge invested in the real potential of rigorous imaginative conjecture to possess, in some imaginative form, what has yet to be empirically determined—or, in the case of vegetal life, what has yet to be manifested. At the same time, Browne inverts classical ontological paradigms, transfiguring the vegetal not as the lowermost stratum in the hierarchy of life processes (the very stratum or line, as critics of biopolitics have shown, from which human life is understood to bifurcate), but as the apex of biological being. Finally, this life, as pursued in Browne's investigative aesthetics, invites us to ponder anew if we have ever been modern—or human.


Similar Titles:
Sculptures on Life Support: Marc Quinn's Medical Aesthetics

The Resurrection and Life of Thomas Jefferson's Bible

The Mystical and the Mundane in Thomas Browne's Late Prose

Thomas Malthus and the Aesthetics of Wealth Consumption

A Will to Youth: The Aesthetic Component to the Life-extension Project


 
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