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Experimental Life
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summary
If the objective of the Romantic movement was nothing less than to redefine the meaning of life itself, what role did experiments play in this movement? While earlier scholarship has established both the importance of science generally and vitalism specifically, with regard to Romanticism no study has investigated what it meant for artists to experiment and how those experiments related to their interest in the concept of life. Experimental Life draws on approaches and ideas from contemporary science studies, proposing the concept of experimental vitalism to show both how Romantic authors appropriated the concept of experimentation from the sciences and the impact of their appropriation for post-Romantic concepts of literature and art. Robert Mitchell navigates complex conceptual arenas such as network theory, gift exchange, paranoia, and biomedia and introduces new concepts, such as cryptogamia, chylopoietic discourse, trance-plantation, and the poetics of suspension. As a result, Experimental Life is a wide-ranging summation and extension of the current state of literary studies, the history of science, cultural critique, and theory.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-5
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Introduction: Three Eras of Experimental Vitalism
  2. pp. 1-13
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  1. 1. Romanticism, Art, and Experiments
  2. pp. 14-42
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  1. 2. Suspended Animation and the Poetics of Trance
  2. pp. 43-73
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  1. 3. Life, Orientation, and Abandoned Experiments
  2. pp. 74-103
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  1. 4. Nausea, Digestion, and the Collapsurgence of System
  2. pp. 104-143
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  1. 5. The Media of Life
  2. pp. 144-189
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  1. 6. Cryptogamia
  2. pp. 190-217
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  1. Conclusion: Biopolitics and Experimental Vitalism
  2. pp. 218-230
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 231-270
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 271-294
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 295-309
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