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Divining NatureAesthetics of Enchantment in Enlightenment France$
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Tili Boon Cuillé

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781503613362

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9781503613362.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM STANFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.stanford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Stanford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in SSO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021

The Spectacle of Nature

The Spectacle of Nature

(p.1) Introduction The Spectacle of Nature
(p.iii) Divining Nature

Tili Boon Cuillé

Stanford University Press

Opening with the Abbé Pluche’s best selling Spectacle de la nature, the introduction distinguishes characterizations of nature as book, clock, and spectacle. Questioning lingering associations of the Enlightenment with disenchantment, it considers the fate of the marvelous in eighteenth-century France. Affective responses to nature’s spectacle—traditionally associated with religion or religious fanaticism—including wonder, enthusiasm, and melancholy, were systematically linked to the faculties of reason, imagination, and memory that structured Diderot and D’Alembert’s Encyclopédie. The introduction lays the groundwork for this study by surveying developments in Enlightenment science and aesthetics, particularly empiricism, sensationalism, vitalism, and the theorization of the sublime, traced not to Longinus but to Lucretius.

Keywords:   Spectacle of nature, marvelous, disenchantment, empiricism, sensationalism, vitalism, aesthetics, sublime

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