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Response to Brian Vickers, "Francis Bacon, Feminist Historiography, and the Dominion of Nature"

From: Journal of the History of Ideas
Volume 69, Number 1, January 2008
pp. 143-146 | 10.1353/jhi.2008.0003


Professor Vickers extracts two or three sentences out of a long article I wrote on a completely different topic and misreads them, attributing to me statements I never made and positions I have explicitly argued against. When Francis Bacon used the metaphor of rape to refer to the Baconian natural philosopher's relationship to nature, which he did relatively infrequently, he invoked the classical, "heroic" sense of rape as the act whereby gods and heroes found dynasties and empires, as in the rape of the Sabine women, the rape of Europa, and the rape of the daughters of Leucippus.

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