Culture of Accidents: Unexpected Knowledges in Early Modern England

Stanford University Press (2001)
Collapsing buildings, unexpected meetings in the marketplace, monstrous births, encounters with pirates at sea - these and other unforeseen 'accidents' at the turn of the seventeenth century in England acquired unprecedented significance in the early modern philosophical and cultural imagination. Drawing on intellectual history, cultural criticism, and rhetorical theory, this book chronicles the narrative transformation of 'accident' from a philosophical dead end to an astonishing occasion for revelation and wonder in early modern religious life, dramatic practice, and experimental philosophy. Alongside texts by such canonical figures as Shakespeare and Bacon, this study draws on several lesser known authors of sensational news accounts about accidents that occurred around the turn of the seventeenth century. The result is a cultural anatomy of accidents as philosophical problem, theatrical conceit, and spiritual landmark.
Keywords Accidents History  Philosophy, English
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Call number BD701.W44 2001
ISBN(s) 0804735565   9780804735568  
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