Johns Hopkins University Press

This paper explores the epistemic management of John Hunter's work, following the Crown's 1799 purchase of his specimen-collection, which made the life sciences a national trust. Hunter's work, spanning anatomy, pathology, and even geology, raised worrisome questions about the nature of life at the borders of disciplines that opened up the organization of the body and our knowledge of bodies. I trace these questions through two 'editorial' projects: Richard Owen's cataloguing and editing of Hunter, which recasts Hunter as a comparative anatomist rather than a medical-surgical thinker, and James Palmer's earlier edition, which emphasizes the writings over the specimens.


John Hunter, life sciences, philosophies of nature, editing, disciplinarity

In 1799, the british parliament granted up to 15,000 pounds for the purchase and housing of a "museum" consisting of more than 13,000 fossils, anatomical specimens, and body parts preserved in spirit, which had been privately amassed by the Scottish medical-physiological theorist, John Hunter (1728–93). This event shifted the public face of Hunter from his writings to his object-collection and from the work itself to its reception, inaugurating a multi-pronged attempt at epistemically managing one of the most unique figures in the British life sciences. Hunter's institutionalization included investment in a new building to house his collection and a lecture theater at the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS), where separate lecture series on comparative anatomy and surgery were given from 1810 onwards. The building was opened to a limited public in May 1813, the year which also saw the inauguration of an annual Hunterian Oration on Hunter's birthday; it was closed for further expansion from April 1834 to February 1837. While the "Museum has been termed Hunter's 'unwritten book,'"1 his paper archive had a very different fate. In 1823, Sir Everard Home, Hunter's brother-in-law and co-executor, burned ten folio volumes of Hunter's notes. He explained to the Conservator of the Museum, William Clift, who had been Hunter's loyal assistant, that this was Hunter's dying wish. But since Hunter had been dead for thirty years, potential charges of plagiarism were more likely the motivation, as well as a desire to 'complete' Hunter's corpus, purging it of perceived irreligious materials. For Home's actions, though primarily expedient, did also occur in the aftermath of the Abernethy-Lawrence dispute over whether Hunter and science served the cause of religion or materialism, and they were followed in the next decade by the publication of the Bridgewater Treatises, which aligned science with natural theology. Also strange is the [End Page 133] RCS's lethargy in questioning Home. Did they too want Hunter's work 'completed,' and what was so troubling in its incompletion?

After Home's destruction of the volumes, most of them comprising notes on the specimens, Richard Owen (1804–92) was appointed in 1827 to help catalogue the collection, reputationally eclipsing Clift, whose daughter he married. But my focus here will be on the writings and their arrangement rather than on the much more frequently discussed object-collection. For Home's burning of the notes furnished an alibi to forget the writings as a whole, and entrenched the priority of the object-collection as embodying either "the unspoken alphabet of nature"2 or the objectivity of science. The result has been to represent Hunter as a collector and not a thinker, denying him a place in a broader intellectual history that has been dominated by the philosophically-informed German science of the period.3 In fact, many of Hunter's texts have survived through the four-volume edition of his medical and anatomical works (1835–37) edited by James Palmer (1804?–71), and then through Owen's Essays and Observations on Natural History, etc. (1861), based on transcripts Clift made of several folio volumes before Home took the papers.4 It is clear from Palmer's edition of the longer works that Home's 'completion' of Hunter's work in his own Lectures on Comparative Anatomy (1814/1823), which he finished in the year [End Page 134] he destroyed the papers,5 atomized Hunter's work into a series of notes and queries, and grasped neither Hunter's philosophical interest in the vital principle nor his methodological sense of how empiricism troubles generalization. By contrast, Hunter's corpus is encyclopedically ambitious and speculatively untotalized, attempting to traverse, if not organize, all knowledge in the life sciences, and rivaling the more theoretical projects of Hegel's Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences (1817) and Fried-rich Schelling's Naturphilosophie. Its individual components in physiology, surgery, natural history, anatomy, pathology, and geology may not have been wholly original. But Hunter thinks about these fields in a kind of dis-integration, whose radical empiricism is its own form of theory. His collection, to which the RCS kept adding in an attempt to complete the catalogue of life that Hunter himself may have wanted to expand ad infinitum, attests to Schelling's claim that contemplating knowledge in "a system" or "form of coexistence, presupposes" that it "does not exist in a system" and is an "asystaton … something that is in inner conflict."6 His writing can be seen as what Deleuze calls a "great work": a "chaos" that "contains all the complicated series … which lead out and back in," in relations of "complication-explication-implication."7

Rather than a naive pre-disciplinarity, Hunter's corpus brings together fields that were at once distinct yet profoundly entangled. At this threshold between a Romantic interdisciplinarity and a Victorian disaggregation of disciplines anchored in the positivist separation of sciences from arts, the question arose of what to do with Hunter. The responses reflect what biopolitical theorist Roberto Esposito analyzes in Immunitas: The Protection and Negation of Life as an immunitary logic that filtered theories of life through anxieties about national health and public welfare that quarantined their more disturbing aspects. In the course of the century, Hunter was recast as a comparative anatomist rather than surgeon, although he had declined a professorship in the former to concentrate on surgery. But this choice was tangled. To study surgery, Hunter had to master physiology and comparative anatomy, and to understand the vital principle he had to study both inert and living matter and the transition between them in fossils. In the process, he opened up the vast field of life which then had to be controlled epistemically and socially. To be sure, British Idealists who took up Hunter argued that he focused on disease only to better understand the laws of health. But what Palmer calls the "alliance" [End Page 135] of physiology and pathology (Works, 3:7) is a dark thread in Hunter's work, which puts him ahead of the curve that Michel Foucault traces in The Birth of the Clinic from a medicine of classes to one of pathological anatomy. As a whole in parts, Hunter's work raised worrisome questions about the nature of life at the borders of disciplines as they opened up the organization of the body and our knowledge of bodies. His experimental focus on anatomical and medical singularities, even as he dealt with physiological systems, did not make for tidiness, nor did his reluctance to publish his works systematically. Indeed, given Hunter's struggle with systemization, his work on the body's systems has troubling implications for the systemization of knowledge. Schelling's word "asystasy," which he glosses as "disunity" in knowledge,8 best conveys this original chaos that is the condition of possibility for constructing systems that are, in Hunter's word, "figure[s]" (Works, 3:2).

This paper can only touch on the 'phenomenon' of Hunter as a symptom of anxieties that beset nineteenth-century organizations of knowledge. Hunter figures a primal scene in the British life sciences, like the one Foucault stages in moving from Pomme to Bayle, from a theater of "singularity" that explored "the dark underside of the body" to "'positive' medicine," and from a "language" in which words have not been fully abstracted from things to a rationalized "discourse," where "a grammar of signs has replaced a botany of symptoms."9 Among attempts at organizing Hunter's work, I focus here on the editions, beginning briefly with Owen's editing of Hunter in the mid-Victorian period and working back to Palmer's intellectual unbinding of Hunter's work at the tail end of the Romantic period, even as he gathered it together materially. Where Owen focused on comparative anatomy, Palmer focused on medicine, and both editions raise broader issues of reception and disciplinarity.

But to sketch other chapters of the story: the economizing of Hunter took two forms, utilitarian and philosophical. Several Hunterian Orators (Home, William Norris, David Dundas, William Blizard) absorbed Hunter into the professionalization of medicine, pragmatized him by focusing on institutions, and used encomium to avoid ideas. A recurrent theme here is the transformation of surgery from a mere "art" into a "science," within a nationalist narrative of enlightenment. At the other end of the spectrum are the idealists: John Abernethy, who contains disease as an aberration that explains health; Coleridge, whose Theory of Life narrates Hunter's Museum as a history of nature wherein nature learns to make man, without actually arriving there; and Coleridge's protégé J. H. Green, [End Page 136] whose progression from Vital Dynamics to Mental Dynamics—in his Hunterian Orations in 1840 and 1847—repeats and simplifies a Hegelian progression from matter to spirit.

Coleridge, Green, and Owen—himself a protégé of Abernethy and Green—all read German Idealism and Naturphilosophie: Kant, Schelling, Carus, Oken, and Hegel. But British Idealism immunized its German counterpart's interest in an autotelic, even autogenetic, nature by retaining a designing power for God. The Coleridgeans, caught in the issue of science vs. religion, all wanted to foreclose the difficulties nature caused for spirit: difficulties they also encountered in Hunter. Of particular importance to their project is a disciplinary triad to which I return: Green's escalation of terms from Kant and Schelling into the sequence physiography>physiology>physiogony. Briefly, physiography describes nature's contents, while physiology deals with natura naturans or the powers of nature conceived dynamically rather than mechanistically. Finally, physiogony is the onto- and phylogenetic study of nature such that the "history of nature" becomes "a preface and portion of the history of man," as nature works her way up the Chain of Being from the polypi to the mammalia, "labour[ing] in birth with man" to "complete the evolution of the organic realm."10

In either instrumentalizing or idealizing Hunter's thought, both groups miss his exposure of the flayed and tangled human body. As I argue elsewhere, German Idealism, which wants to protect the ascent of Man from matter to Spirit but is sensitive to the pressures of the life sciences, can provide a context for unpacking Hunter's legacy and potentiating the philosophical issues raised by his empiricism.11 For Hunter's desire for "absolute knowledge" of nature, in Schelling's sense of absolute knowledge as searching "in every possible direction" and "leav[ing] everything" behind—all presuppositions and systems—opened up a nature whose "ever-increasing wealth of detail" proved "refractory to the unity of the notion," as Hegel laments with regard to his own project.12 And in Schelling's First Outline (1799), which Green knew and evokes, the hypothesis of the Stufenfolge, or graduated series of stages by which nature ascends toward spirit, thus making possible a "history of nature," is troubled by the fact that disease may have the same factors as life.13 Or as [End Page 137] Hunter's biographer Drewry Ottley concedes, diseases may be "allied to natural processes" (Works, 1:30). Medicine is at the heart of this darkness, and Hunter's case studies mostly end in death and failure.

It is this pharmakon of medicine that Owen, the last if most technical of the Idealists, closes off. Owen, who favored natural history and comparative anatomy over medicine, writes that Hunter's "setup was ruled by physiology" and the "scheme of the animal," and prefers Cuvier's, which is "taxonomic" and aligned with natural history.14 Owen did not quite follow the Idealist escalation of comparative anatomy into a claim for "the unity and inner affinity of all organisms" that "originate in one archetype,"15 since his idea of the vertebrate archetype postulates only a homological anatomy of vertebrate species. But despite this caution Owen also sometimes paid lip-service to Green's physio(theo)gony, as in the oratorical finale of his 1849 address, On the Nature of Limbs.

Owen is thus both scientific and quasi-transcendental, using each register to short-circuit the other. Beginning his career when "science" was separating itself from its earlier meaning of a systematized discipline for which, at least in the German context, philosophy provided a metadisciplinary envelope, Owen benefits from a new regime where "science" has replaced "philosophy," leading to its "de-ontologization" and increasing "empiricization."16 Benefits, because this more technical "science" relieves Owen from seeing how scientific percepts can catalyze speculation rather than being reduced to a scholastic practico-inert. Yet at the same time, Idealism in a loose sense also shields Owen from the speculative crevices opened up by nature's detail. For Owen, then, science and God become separate, compartmentalized guarantors of his desire to organize knowledge into a whole, structurally if not truly secured by the meticulous arrangement of series against the eruption of contingencies. Hunter's relation to philosophy is quite different. Though Hunter himself does not use the word, Palmer refers to the "philosophic spirit [that] pervades" his work (Works, 3:6), and Hunter stands on a threshold between a science amenable to philosophy and a more modern epistemology of fact. But this philosophic spirit is not necessarily the simplified Idealism that Green evokes in calling Hunter a "philosophical physiologist" (Vital, vi–xx). Rather, it is a kind of natural philosophy, which Hunter extends beyond its restricted Newtonian sense, and with which Idealism itself was dialogically engaged. [End Page 138]

Yet this is not how Owen wants to see Hunter. To organize Hunter's rhizomatic corpus, which he approached through the specimens, and to flatten its more disturbing aspects, Owen moved the Museum toward comparative anatomy and merged the surgery and anatomy lectures in 1837. His editing of Hunter is part of this refashioning. First, he re-edited Animal Oeconomy (1786/1792) for Palmer in 1837. Second, because the RCS would not let him include Hunter's second essay on fossils in Essays, hastily publishing it as Observations and Reflections on Geology (1859), Owen substitutes three of his own lectures on Hunter's text given at the RCS in 1855, which he entitles "Observations on Palaeontology." Owen's reclassification of Hunter's essay as paleontology rather than geology, as a positive rather than speculative science, aims to avoid any metaphysical taint. Significantly, paleontology is also the last of seven kinds of comparative anatomy that Owen details in the above lectures (Essays, 1:286). Moreover, Owen also links paleontology to William Smith's stratigraphy (Essays, 1:336), which brings the past into the present, whereas geology exposes the present to an obscure past. Hunter does indeed read fossils only as having a "connexion with the changes on [earth's] surface" and not as revealing truths about its origins (Essays, 1:299). But for Hunter, fossils are not specimens but signs of buried knowledge about climate, geohistory, and impenetrable differences between animal and vegetable matter. His Kantian reserve about knowing the thing-in-itself, which also informs his discussions of the vital spirit in matter, is deeply speculative.

Finally, there is Essays itself, which also constrains the speculative through its form and guiding notes. Hunter wrote his observations on bits of paper that his assistants transferred into notebooks. Owen largely based his edition on Clift's further transcripts of these notebooks: a copy—in a rough hand—of a miscellaneous notebook made sometime in the 1790s before Home took it, which is in its original disorder;17 and a neat arrangement of a natural history series made in 1817–24,18 whose order Owen further changes in Essays. Classification was at the heart of the Clift-Owen project, and indeed Essays opens with Hunter's discussion of this topic, which Owen, aligning Hunter with Cuvier, glosses thus: "The principle of 'unity of plan' and of 'homologous parts' is here expressed" (Essays, 1:9–10n1). Owen makes classification a topic in the Essays' Table of Contents. But he culls these comments from the Coleridgean mess of Clift's rough transcript, where they occur mixed up with other speculations, are not accorded a special section, and are not a gateway into a completed building which Hunter, like others in this period when manuscripts overlapped with their professional capture, never [End Page 139] completed. Moreover, Hunter's comments are about the difficulty of classification. He sees the difference between class, genus, and species as blurred, and also writes that "almost every subject" is "composed of parts of a great variety of other subjects," and therefore becomes "classible" with "various" and not just one of these "subjects," a comment we can apply to subjects of knowledge as well as entities in nature (Essays, 1:10). Or as Foucault puts it, a subject may figure in "distinct totalities," and "series and 'series of series.'"19 Because these "affinities" "spin out ad infinitum," classification is heuristically necessary (Essays, 1:10), but covers over an underlying asystasy.

Ignoring this asystasy, Owen takes considerable liberties with Clift's transcripts. In converting Hunter's notes into a 'book,' he rarely omits anything from the (mediated) original, but moves material around to rationalize contingent reflections within an orderly progression from the general to the specific. In organizing the more specific material, Owen, whose passion was museums, then compartmentalizes Hunter's work into fields or subfields constructed as galleries. Within disciplinary divisions like comparative anatomy, he constructs series that mask a troublesome biodiversity, as he also did in his catalogues. Where he cannot construct a series, as in "Psychology," he aggregates heterogeneous materials as specimens, whose classification stands in place of the more organic (a)systematicity that Hunter's work has, in however intentionally tangled a form. Owen's selection is also biased toward comparative anatomy and natural history, omitting any mention of the notebooks containing surgical cases, which were not destroyed and many of which Clift retranscribed. Cases are fundamentally different from the specimens that were Owen's model for conceptualizing Hunter's notes; they are more like what Giorgio Agamben calls examples. If classification "transforms singularities into members of a class, whose meaning is defined by a common property," the example confutes this antinomy of the singular and the universal.20 Every example is a "real particular case," but also holds for "all cases of the same type."21 The case is thus both typical and utterly singular, and its role is to traverse and keep open this difference. But the specimen, while singular, exists only to be classified.

Palmer's edition could not be more different from Owen's in its multiple-editor format and emphasis on an expansively defined medicine. While collecting all Hunter's published work, it also includes the Lectures on the Principles of Surgery, which Hunter intended to publish, and which Palmer [End Page 140] edited from a version by Nathaniel Rumsey, whose thoroughness led Palmer to wonder if Rumsey "had access" to Hunter's manuscript (Works, 1:201). But before turning to Palmer, we should consider other manuscript versions of these lectures, often consisting of notes taken at the time, resynthesized and recopied by someone else years later. There are eighteen versions at the RCS alone, and others elsewhere, varying in structure and emphasis. Thus, the version by the Lincolnshire surgeon Twigge is oriented to practical surgery:22 it abbreviates the lengthier discussion of sympathy in the Rumsey/Palmer version, and omits its discussion of irritability, material that treads a fine line between the physiological and the psychological or social, especially since Smith's and Hume's discussions of sympathy precede its medical use by Hunter. The line between body and body politic can be crossed in either direction, and another term with this mixed physiological-political archeology is constitution, taken up by Coleridge in On the Constitution of Church and State (1830), Green (Vital, xiii, xxii–xxiii, 41, 59, 61), and before them Abernethy, whose Surgical Observations on the Constitutional Origin and Treatment of Local Diseases (1817) tries to contain the more disturbing implications of this topic in Hunter (Works, 1:338–64). Hunter himself never quite crosses the line leading back from the body to the body politic. But the greater sensitivity to the psychosomatic in Rumsey's version discloses an interdisciplinary plasticity in Hunter's thought, while the presence of so many different versions of the lectures materially indexes the possibility of reading him in multiple ways.

These versions, sometimes checked against notes by other students and recopied in a fair hand, point to a particularly Romantic genre that we also see in the work of Hegel, Schelling, and Coleridge: the lecture as speculative rather than definitive semi-publication. For such lectures, recopied with the aim of preservation but passed from hand to hand in an overlapping of manuscript with print culture, are a form of what Barthes calls "text." Whereas the "work" "closes upon a signified," and is "part of the space of books (in a library for example)," the text is a "weave" of possibilities allowing for further thought.23 Lectures, as a passage back and forth between notes and something with the scope but not finality of a book, were often published posthumously or even by authors themselves. Thus, Schelling published his Outline but wrote that the "same demands" could not be made on "a treatise" written purely "as a guide for lectures" as upon "a text intended for the public at large" (Outline, 3). Two versions of Hunter's lectures are worth describing because their organization lets us see them as a beginning rather than finalization. The [End Page 141] Hopkinson version, later transcribed by John Whitsed (fl.1801–62) and retranscribed for Clift, consists of 1235 aphoristic principles.24 Hopkinson begins by saying that he has used only Hunter's technical terms and not his "language," and has reordered the lectures according to his "own plan." He (or Whitsed) starts by providing headings for groups of aphorisms, but stops doing so, perhaps because of the resistance of Hunter's thought to classification. The version by Hunter's student Charles Bran-don Trye (1757–1811), copied in 1800 by Charles Seager (1779–1844) but donated to the RCS only in 1920 (and so unavailable to Palmer), consists of 1754 aphorisms.25 Trye also excuses himself from following Hunter's "language" and arrangement. From the similarity of his aphorisms (and even their order) to Hopkinson's, we can infer that aphorisms were part of the way Hunter delivered his lectures; indeed, Trye quotes Hunter himself as describing one of his axioms as an "aphorism."

Aphorisms may seem part of an induction that builds on empirical details to synthesize and fix knowledge, which may be why Clift congratulated Whitsed on having reduced Hunter's lectures "into a book."26 But given the contradictions between some of Hunter's aphorisms, they are also experimental stabilizations of thought meant to provoke further consideration. Thus, the Trye version includes elaborations of the aphorisms and details of Hunter's experiments which complicate certainty rather than providing proof. Trye's format resembles the way Hegel's students would publish his lectures in the mid-nineteenth century, for instance in K. L. Michelet's texts of the Philosophy of Nature (1842, 1847), which consist of the condensed propositions from the Encylopedia with extensive Zusätze (additions) from Hegel's lectures over many years. This Satz-Zusatz organization, which sharply differs from the later standard of final authorial intention, reflects both how Hegel gave his lectures and the compounding complexity of his additions—additions or self-interpretations that he himself made part of [End Page 142] his text in preparing the 1812 Science of Logic for republication in 1831. Schelling uses a similar format in his Outline, which cannot therefore be attributed just to later student editors. The text has a "Principle" (Satz), accompanied with an "Elucidation" (Erläuterung) or sometimes "Remark" (Anmerkung), which usually complicates matters. Indeed, the terminology for this process of supplementation is itself supplemented, and there are further complicating insertions that Schelling's son recovered from the handwritten manuscript and included (with Schelling's permission) as footnotes in his collected edition of Schelling's work. Jean-Luc Nancy discusses the inherently speculative nature of the Satz-Zusatz form, when he writes that in the proposition (Satz) the "difference [is] suppressed," but through the addition or "remark" a "plasticity" is released in thought, as "an economy of Remarks … double[s] up the economy of logical discourse"—a "subordinated, 'detached,' dispersed economy that does not obey the strict progression of the concept but rather chance encounters."27

This speculative potential is embedded differently in Palmer's edition, which has sub-editors for individual texts—a format unusual at the time. In addition to the surgical lectures in volume 1, Palmer also edited volume 3, including Hunter's most famous work, A Treatise on the Blood, Inflammation, and Gunshot Wounds (1793) and some further related but uncollected papers. Volume 2 contains the Treatise on the Natural History of the Human Teeth (1771–78), edited by Thomas Bell (1792–1880), a dental surgeon who later switched to zoology, and the Treatise on the Venereal Disease (1786), edited by George Babington (1795–1856), a cousin of Thomas Babington Macaulay, who was interested in syphilis. Volume 4 is Owen's expanded version of Animal Oeconomy, and the entire collection is prefaced by Ottley's Life, which includes an account of the Museum galleries, which were still under construction. Because of the contiguous effect of the latter, the edition itself can be seen as an assemblage of work that is still in process, rather than a collected edition that is the capstone of a career.

Though the other sub-editors in Palmer's edition had RCS connections, Palmer, who was Senior Surgeon to the St. George's and St. James's Dispensary and well-connected (he was a great-nephew of Sir Joshua Reynolds), was not part of the RCS inner circle, while Ottley (1803–83) and Rumsey (1766–1843) had no RCS connections at all. Indeed, Clift was displeased with not being consulted about Palmer's edition,28 and Owen was reluctant to participate in it (Works, 4:xiii), [End Page 143] perhaps because it emphasized surgery rather than comparative anatomy. This may also be why Owen's volume was made available for separate purchase,29 though Palmer conceives of surgery expansively, as embedded in a larger physiology of which animal economy is a part. The Palmer edition operates outside the RCS enclave in another way. From 1827–35, when its first two volumes were published (the remaining two appeared in 1837), Clift collected as many versions of Hunter's surgery lectures as he could, discarding several because they were superficial or were ample but uninformed,30 and copying and correcting those he retained. But as with other fair copies he made, including the surgical cases,31 Clift did not publish any results of his labors. In the case of the surgical lectures, perhaps this was because a shorter version by James Parkinson, who discovered Parkinson's disease, had been published in 1833 and dedicated to Clift. But perhaps Clift identified his role as "conservator" of Hunter's legacy with the Museum, as he seems to have seen the writings simply as annotating the collection.32 In that case, the surgical lectures were only a supplement to the specimens, and not the most useful one.

The writings and object-collection formed a hermeneutic circle for those who wanted to know definitively what Hunter thought about the nature and progression of life. Each promised to be the key to the other, but they did not necessarily synchronize. The notes copied by Bell and Clift were related to the collection, but the medical writings were autonomous. In his unpublished Theory of Life, Coleridge expresses frustration with this non-correspondence. In 1816–19 (the date range for the Theory), organization of the Museum had not yet been wrested away from Home: the published texts were largely medical, and the galleries (if Coleridge saw them) would have followed Home's plan of presenting "the gradations of nature" from the most "simple state" of life to the most "perfect" and "complex," "man himself."33 As the published texts reveal no such plan, Coleridge complains about their "obscurities" [End Page 144] and "contradictions," describing writing as an "unfriendly medium" for Hunter.34 Turning to the objects in the Museum, which provide "a more perfect language" than "words—the language of God himself as uttered by Nature," Coleridge senses that the object-collection also may not give him what he wants.35 He complains about Hunter's "stupendous industry" as a collector and his "inconversance with the arts and aidances of logical arrangement" which would have helped him organize the specimens into a theory of life.36 In The Friend, Coleridge again laments the absence of a "directing thought" in Hunter's writing.37 But he breaks the hermeneutic circle through hyperbolic fiat, proclaiming that in "the astonishing preparations for his museum" Hunter constructed "the idea" "for the scientific apprehension out of the unspoken alphabet of nature."38 Nor can Coleridge himself complete this "idea" discursively in his own text.

Hunter's "language" is a frequent topic of complaint, probably because it is speculative and not determinative. Hunter himself draws attention to the space between words and "the things meant," writing that because "many of my ideas, and the arrangement of my subject are new … my terms become in part new, for two ideas cannot be expressed in the same terms" (Works, 1:208). On the other hand, he also argues for economy in terms, and eschews "coin[ing]" a new word for every idea, suggesting that one word may have to do double duty. Thus, he borrows the word "consciousness" from philosophy to describe "actions in the body" which are homologous with actions "of the mind," because there is no "language … answerable to all my views of the animal oeconomy" (Works, 1:236). One could explain this transference of terms from another field through Kant's suggestion that a science in its infancy, lacking "indigenous" principles (domestica), must borrow from another science, but will domesticate these "foreign" principles as the new science is consolidated.39 Hunter likewise writes that the "most familiar" science is "commonly used to explain the most unintelligible" (Essays, 1:4). But this use of approximations concedes the asystasy underlying knowledge, making knowledge metaphorical and speculative. When Hunter gives as an example the use of Mechanics "to explain the effects" of Chemistry (Essays, 1:4), he also raises the question of which discipline(s) we should use [End Page 145] to focalize life, especially since vitalism, with which he is commonly linked, is associated with a biology irreducible to chemistry.

The fact that language becomes an issue reflects the difficulty of reducing medicine to a "science" in the sense of systematic, axiomatic knowledge. Moreover, the projection of a term from one science to another generates an interzone where the second science may retroact on the first, opening up problems and possibilities not envisioned by either. Sympathy is such a term (Works, 1:317–37). In crossing between the social and physiological, it opens a dialogue, creative and disturbing, between inter- or intrapersonal networks and the unknown complexity of the body's concealed systems. Sympathy also provides an example of how a foreign term may not be entirely domesticated as the discipline develops. As medicine was professionalized, the naming of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems rendered sympathy a more purely medical concept. Yet in addition to its social use, the term "sympathies" also had an occult reference, which persists disturbingly even in our more technical understanding of an autonomic nervous system that is one of many points where medicine eludes complete positivism.

It is such ambiguities in Hunter's writings that bothered those committed to the idea clara and plain style. In contrast to the RCS's focus on the object-collection, Palmer's edition gives priority to the writings, and indeed frees them from having to answer to the collection or its public role. These writings do not present a "theory of life" in terms of what Green calls "gradative evolution" (Vital, 39). The Lectures on Surgery do not move vertically up the Chain of Being but horizontally across the elements of physiology—organs, muscles, nerves, blood. But in truth the specimens were no different: they were not like the objects presented in botanical illustration but were body parts, often diseased, cryptically separated from the whole body, and preserved in spirits or in desiccated form. If, then, there is a dialectical circuit between specimens and writings we could also say that the obscurity of the writings reflects back on the opacity of the object collection, where object does not mean we have arrived at fact or objectivity, still less a way of theorizing facts.

Hunter's arrangement of his specimens was deeply unconventional. As even Home concedes, Hunter arranged his collection not in terms of "particular animals" but "the various organizations," such as digestion and generation, "by which the functions of life are performed."40 Comparative anatomy may therefore be a better term than natural history to describe Hunter's intentions, but with two provisos: that for Hunter comparative anatomy was not morphology, as it was for Goethe and later Owen; and that there is no synthesizing imperative behind the term "comparative," which does not establish the "unity and inner affinity of all organisms," as in the Idealist [End Page 146] escalation of morphology into an argument from design. Indeed, comparative physiology, a "science not yet attempted" according to Schelling (Outline, 50), might be a better term. Yet here too we must recognize two things: that much of Hunter's physiology is pathological anatomy (a mode not recognized in Owen's seven types of anatomy), and that Hunter's method in his preparations and writings is dissection rather than totalization. Dissection need not be understood only literally but can also describe a mode of analysis, as is the case with the double—medical and conceptual—use of "anatomy."41 Going beyond anatomy, Hunter's method, I suggest, was specifically dissection. Whereas anatomy generally presents the parts within a whole, dissection is a form of anatomy that cuts out the part. Dissection, as a methodology, is a crucial part of Hunter's experimentalism.

In arguing that Hunter's collection was designed to illustrate "physiological function" and not "taxonomic principles," and that his work cannot be reduced to comparative anatomy understood as morphology, A. J. E. Cave emphasizes this "experimentation."42 But Hunter did not experiment within the contained procedures of induction. By taking apart the body and putting an organ (such as the stomach) into a series, but then putting another organ into another series, Hunter broke up the body and redistributed it into different series in which the same organism might not always occupy the same place in the scale. If, then, he was arranging these series as an ascent from the simplest to the most complex, this procedure experimented with, rather than resolving, the question of whether the graduated stages of nature moved uniformly up the Chain of Being across all series. The Museum dissected organisms into elements that were then arranged in series, based on principles of ordering that Home and Clift had seen when the objects were in Hunter's house. There are no series in the writings published by Palmer, but they too work by dissection, as Hunter breaks down the body into elements such as organs, bones, muscles, nerves, tissues, and blood. But in both cases, we have "dissection" without a firmly established "articulation," to borrow Barthes' terms in "The Structuralist Activity."43 The bodies that are taken apart are not reassembled in an integrated view of life, though dissection does produce "mobile fragments, whose differential situation engenders" shifting meanings,44 which can include the hypothesis of an ascent toward man. Or as Samuel J. M. M. Alberti has pointed out, the bodies reassembled from their dissected parts are "partible" and "dividual" bodies rather than individual [End Page 147] bodies that can be referred back to the "complete[ness]" of an "originating person."45 In this respect Hunter's work differs strongly from Green's Vital Dynamics and Green's earlier Hunterian lectures (1824–28), which combine a simplified German Idealism with Cuvier, to forward an organicist and evolutionary view of life.

It is worth dwelling on this point about articulation, since in the seven types of anatomy that Owen outlines in his "Observations on Paleontology" (Essays, 1:281–340)—perhaps to find Hunter a clear place in the organization of knowledge about the life sciences—Owen does hypothesize one type in which dissection is followed by articulation. This is precisely the arrangement of organs in series, which Owen describes as proceeding "analytically" through a descent of man that "trace[s] down the simplifying modifications presented by the animals as they progressively departed from the perfection of the human type," and then "reverses the order" to proceed "in synthetical order" from the simplest to the most complex, "culminating, in most cases … in the human body" (Essays, 1:282). Yet the phrase "most cases" is significant: even if we can impute to Hunter the intention of "follow[ing] out organ after organ, till he had embraced, the whole scheme of organs in the most complicated organism" (Essays, 1:282), Hunter nowhere reassembled the discrete organs into a functioning whole in any single organism. He arguably also did not confirm the "synthetical route" through a "zoological" anatomy that puts complete organisms in an ascending series (Essays, 1:282–83), nor did Owen prepare a zoological catalogue for the RCS.46 Articulation therefore remains no more than a desideratum in Owen's positioning of Hunter within comparative anatomy. Indeed, Owen's own account of seven different types of anatomy dissects Hunter's work and the life sciences generally into several different kinds of arrangement.

The form of Palmer's edition analogously eschews any synthetic articulation of Hunter's work. The edition aligns with a vogue for collected works as a way of creating literary authority. Yet its decentralized format is at odds with the "author function" as a fashioning of the name into a sign for something simpler than the actual work. Indeed, Alberti's account of the dividual, [End Page 148] "multi-authored" body, composed of "different, separated parts" with multiple inputs and outputs, invites extension to the body of Hunter's work and its division among editors and cataloguers.47 The edition's center is physiology, in Green's broad sense of natura naturans, since Hunter's surgical lectures begin with the matter of the globe and include vegetable and animal matter. But in this general economy of physiology, such processes as crystallization, for example, can cast light on physiological processes (Works, 2:55). George Qvist cites a footnote on geology in the treatise on the blood (Works, 3:15), in which rivers are used to think about the arterial system.48 This speculative breadth is why Palmer credits Hunter with a "philosophic spirit" (Works, 3:5). That said, Green's "physiology" as natura naturans is a kind of transcendental vitalism. Pivoting around the point where surgery and medicine make an incision into physiology, Hunter's work is a far more disturbing inquiry into the vital principle. Differences within and between his topics of inquiry expose the uncertain boundaries between materialism and vitalism in his thinking, and in vitalism itself. These differences are at the heart of the Abernethy-Lawrence debate, and if Abernethy gives vitalism a transcendental seal that is hard to confirm from Hunter's writing, the debate is a symptom of the ideological struggle over the name "Hunter." The diversity of editors in the Palmer edition signals that there may be no definitive synthesis of Hunter's work.

For instance, Bell's Preface to Hunter's treatise on teeth notes "the obscure and anomalous structure" of these "organs" which differ "from other bones" in not having a power of self-restoration (Works, 2:xiii). Bell sees this as Hunter's least interesting text, since teeth have hitherto been the province of the "ignorant mechanic," though he commends Hunter for considering every body part worth "attention" (Works, 2:xi–xii). His reading of the text as early, and inconsistent with Hunter's other work can be considered against Qvist's argument that some of Hunter's most important concepts originated here, including referred pain (the basis for sympathy) and transplantation (or more generally the union of parts in a living body).49 But in recognizing points of discord with Hunter's corpus, Bell, though not a speculative thinker, points us to a philosophic problem raised by teeth: that because of their difference from other bones they are "extraneous bodies," even though they exhibit the "living principle." In conjunction with the many surgical cases in which the doctor cannot count on the body's healing powers, teeth raise the question of whether the "living principle" obtains unevenly across the body, whether self-restoration is intrinsic to life, and thus the larger problem of whether medicine maintains health or discloses its limits. Yet it is not that Hunter uniformly takes the bleak view of Bichat for whom life is simply the [End Page 149] "totality of functions" resisting death, so that disease, in Hegel's words, becomes "the inborn germ of death."50 Bichat is a vitalist rather than mechanist, but finally a materialist. In Hunter's case, the work on teeth opens doors to a more complex and unresolved understanding of the living principle that we find in other work in the edition that is still in dialogue with itself.

If the simultaneous collection of Hunter's work and its dis-integration into separately edited texts marks the fact that his corpus cannot be fully synthesized, there is nevertheless something comprehensive and encyclopedic about Hunter's efforts, and here it is significant that Palmer, unlike Owen, published mostly large works. As Alex Csiszar argues, in discussing changing forms of scientific dissemination, in the Victorian period the "metaphor of nature as a book" that subtended nature's "intelligibility and accessibility" yielded to a conception of science "as a series of discrete discovery events."51 The "Book of Nature was generally single-authored … and treated subjects in a cohesive, comprehensive manner."52 But subsequently, Csiszar suggests, borrowing a metaphor from James Maxwell, nature becomes "a magazine," leading to concerns about synthesizing "isolated facts" and coordinating "the growing expanse of scientific papers."53 Hunter is far from organizing his books according to the Book of Nature, though the trope underpins readings of his corpus by Green, Coleridge, and Owen. Yet the scope of his project makes him part of an earlier intellectual culture, where parts—body parts, papers, or parts of books—are not thought of separately but in relation to an ever-complexifying whole. Hunter himself points to such larger ambitions, in writing that he has tried to "form" his treatise on blood and gunshots wounds "into a regular system" which, like Kant, he defines as a whole where "one part exactly depend[s] on another," while also describing the text "as a new figure composed from rough materials" (Works, 3:2). In his Romantic Encyclopedia Novalis articulates a different form of systematicity that better captures this paradox. This system is not the Kantian "architectonic," and is not panlogical, as it involves the "application of the system to the parts" but also "the parts to the system and the parts to the parts."54

Owen's Preface to Animal Oeconomy brings the perspective of the unified system to the thinking Palmer's edition opens up, although Animal Oeconomy really consists of "detached memoirs" (Works, 4:iii). In this, Owen's arrangement resembles Essays, whose external ordering in terms of the Book [End Page 150] of Nature internally disintegrates into a magazine. His Preface attributes to Hunter "one concatenated system of comparative anatomy" (Works, 4:v). Yet Owen can do no more than assemble the papers in a more rational order, even as he compounds their disparateness by including twenty-one additional papers. He puts essays on generation at the beginning, followed by those on digestion "and other physiological subjects," then "descriptive" papers connected with "comparative anatomy and zoology" (4:iii)—headings whose generality shows him struggling to systematize the papers. It is partly as a supplement to what he cannot accomplish here that Owen later outlines his seven forms of anatomy, beginning with the most rudimentary: the "monographical," which anatomizes one animal singly (Essays, 1:281–82). He associates Hunter with the next three, more comparative modes—the organical (arrangement by organs rather than species), the embryological, and the zoological (arrangement by particular animals following Cuvier's four classes). But as we have seen, since the organical and embryological are dissective methods, Hunter can be put on a truly "synthetical route" only through the zoological "series of entire animals" in "ascending order" (Essays, 1:282–84), which may not have been part of his original design.55 Animal Oeconomy itself, which has no introduction, is obstinately monographical and non-comparative. Indeed, the papers do not focus on entire animals but on single, dissected parts, as noted in the full title: Observations on Certain Parts of the Animal Oeconomy. If Hunter sometimes speculates on putting a part into an organical series, as Owen claims (Works, 4:iv) with reference to one passage (4:292), this is not his main goal.

Indeed, the papers reflect a different intellectual culture from ordering and classification: the interest in anatomical curiosities which drives Hunter's object-collection. Owen denies that Hunter sees "the uncommon structures which he discovered in his dissections … as individual peculiarities" (Works, 4:iii). But although Owen tries to neutralize the papers by presenting them as a scientific series, he cannot close out an excess of singularity over system, which correlates with the plethora of exceptional medical cases in Hunter's writings. That singularity is forcefully present in Hunter's own two editions of Animal Oeconomy in 1786 and 1792, which include several plates and the commentaries on them, so that, "An Account of the Free-Martin" occupies twenty pages in Hunter's 1792 edition but only ten in Owen's. These components were also not in the papers originally published in Philosophical Transactions, and the Owen edition transfers them to a fifth quarto volume of the Works (though this might have been a publishing decision). Hunter by contrast, not unlike Blake, had both original editions of Animal Oeconomy printed and sold at his house, commissioning Jan Van Rymsdyk to produce [End Page 151] full-page plates and designing Animal Oeconomy as an illustrated volume. This layout makes the book collection a kind of museum collection, constructing Animal Oeconomy as a cabinet of curiosities in which the articles are also objects. That each article begins on a new page, while the plates and commentaries each occupy separate pages, both increases the visual impact of the plates, which leap out of their containment in a book, and emphasizes the articles' monographic separateness.

Of course, Palmer's collection contains Owen's edition, not Hunter's. Owen uses a logic of bibliographic and epistemic updating, and does not describe earlier editions. But Babington includes variants and mentions previous editions of Hunter's treatise on venereal disease in connection with the issue of language, informing us that to render his work more "intelligible," Hunter had his first edition "correct[ed]" and gentrified (Works, 2:123–24). Babington chooses the second edition over Home's posthumous third edition which reverts to the first, because Home added passages, claiming he had drawn on material left by Hunter. Yet Babington is uneasy over this version of final authorial intention, not ruling out that Home's additions were legitimate, and commenting that though the second edition is more "lucid and elegant," it is "less forcible" (Works, 2:123–24). Babington puts Hunter on the threshold of the shift Foucault describes between Pomme and Bayle: between a resistant "language" whose words have the force and density of things, and a more rationalized discourse.

In short, while choosing the last print text approved by Hunter (under duress), Babington gives other editorial choices a penumbral life. The Palmer edition's multiple editors thus make it an archive of editing and printing practices reflecting differences about science, textuality, and reading audiences. Its decentralized format lets us see Hunter's work and its interpretation as still in process. At the beginning of the writing- and reception-process are the (un)published surgical lectures which sympathetically transmit their unfinalized status to the whole corpus. As Sean Franzel argues, lectures replace "information" with "embodied 'living' knowledge," enabling "experimentation" with "discourses of linkage, syntheticization, systematization, and 'entanglement,'" a term he borrows from my own distinction between smooth and tangled organizations of knowledge.56 At the late end of the reception-process, Palmer's notes to Hunter's treatise on blood and inflammation, which intersects with the surgical lectures, are [End Page 152] unusually intensive. Where Owen's notes lead Hunter toward a conventionally desirable meaning, Palmer's unpack the complexity of Hunter's thinking. For instance, Palmer points to differences in Hunter's discussions of the vital principle, because of his "always keeping his mind open to conviction" (Works, 3:121n). In praising these notes, one reviewer recognizes that they do not so much complete Hunter's work as keep the work alive as part of the conversation arising from a continuing incompleteness of knowledge, in which Hunter "opened up a vast mine; in working which both he and those who succeeded him have already reaped abundant treasure but no one vein has yet been followed out in its various windings, so as to enable us to judge of its true relation to other parts."57

In addition to the notes, Palmer includes bibliographies ranging from the seventeenth century up to 1836, thus placing Hunter's work within a synchronic space of discussion that does not automatically privilege the present over the past. Palmer's apparatus includes work in Latin, German, and French, as well as English, and is cosmopolitan rather than (inter)nationalistic, as Owen's Preface to Animal Oeconomy is. For although Owen, unlike the more parochial Hunterian Orators (Home, Dundas, Blizard), puts Hunter in a European context, he argues that because Hunter has been praised for discoveries that were not original, it has been easy for the more polished French to dismiss his reputation as inflated. Owen therefore delimits Hunter's specific experimental contributions: "to prove that Hunter was a discoverer, we must … state what he was not" (Works, 4:iv–xv). Against this competitive (inter)nationalism, which atomizes Hunter's work into discrete discoveries, Palmer simply assumes Hunter's parity within a pan-European Republic of scientific letters,58 where the former role of Latin as lingua franca continues as a common market of more recent vernacular streams: a conversation at odds with the monolingualism we now project on the past.

The broader context of the scientific public sphere in Palmer's time is also relevant. Medical journals into the 1830s were more miscellaneous yet more comprehensive than present-day learned journals, taking after newspapers and gazettes.59 A typical journal contained new discoveries but also obituaries, legal decisions, book reviews, lectures, and correspondence; thus, journals like The Lancet and The British and Foreign Medical Review (BMFR) had sections on "Medical Intelligence" or "Medical Politics and Intelligence." Journals had a synoptic function as part of [End Page 153] which The Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal and the BFMR, to take two examples which are not unique, also published reviews of foreign work, especially French and German. The BFMR also published selections from foreign and other British journals, and some British journals were translated into German. A relevant example from earlier in the period is the Transactions of a Society for the Improvement of Medical and Chirurgical Knowledge, in which Hunter published, and whose first two (of only three) issues were brought out by the radical publisher Joseph Johnson.60 Johnson's interest in medicine and Anglo-German intellectual commerce is well-known.

Hunter's articles appeared only in Johnson's Transactions and the Philosophical Transactions, not the gazettes and journals. "Transactions" were expensive volumes, containing papers by members of the particular learned society, though the link to Dissenting culture through Johnson is worth noting. In contrast to this limited diffusion, Palmer's apparatus evokes the broader journal culture in putting Hunter in a European context, and in its synoptic aim of summarizing the breadth of scholarship on topics Hunter discusses. His inclusion of an extensive Life and publication of a more readily available collected edition, as registered by reviewers of the time, were part of putting Hunter in the public sphere and establishing him as a scientific name. But this act of institution, a concept to which we return, occurs against the background of a more porous boundary between manuscript and print culture, a porousness signalled by the inclusion in Ottley's Life of lectures and correspondence with Jenner and Banks—both, again, evoking the journal culture.

Ottley's Life concludes by describing the Museum as a hermeneutic for the corpus itself, as what Deleuze calls a "great work." Where others present the Museum as planned out, Ottley presents it as still being organized by three people, in a curious mirroring of the edition. Indeed, he describes it as having been (dis)organized by Hunter himself, whose addition of "accessory departments" to an "original design" that was "strictly physiological" both served and exceeded that design (Works, 1:148–49). After listing eight "departments" including the Physiological (Works, 1:148–49), Ottley goes through the six parts of the General Catalogue compiled by four people (1830), quoting from Owen's later Descriptive and Illustrated Catalogue of the Physiological Series (1833–40). When Ottley wrote, Owen had only catalogued the first two (of seven) subdivisions of the first division of this series, and the first of these alone contained "thirteen series" (Works, 1:158). We will not reproduce Ottley's labyrinthine account, which looks forward to the completion of [End Page 154] the Museum building, and by implication the architectonic it signifies. But two points are worth making.

First, the way "departments," "galleries," "divisions," and "series" fold into each other mirrors Hunter's own sense of the overlapping of class, genus, species, and varieties (Essays, 1:12), which makes organizing his work a collapsing heuristic supplement. In Essays Owen uses a gallery-structure to arrange Hunter's thought in classifications that are mere simulacra of order. His separate streams of short texts bypass the embeddedness of these micro-elements in larger issues. Paradoxically, by publishing small bits in a mechanically clean order, Owen closes up Hunter's work, whereas by publishing substantial work, Palmer conveys a sense of it as unfinished and open-ended. In contrast to Essays' gallery-structure, Ottley's account of the actual galleries as they were being organized conveys how the relations between series are "multi-serial," as "the terms of each" are in "perpetual relative displacEment" to others, allowing connections that do not conform to a centralized organization61 and instead yield a number of intersecting systems. Such systems, rather than forming into a totality, risk producing new openings or hemorrhages through the "anastomosis" or lateral connections that Hunter himself analyzes in the circulatory system, where veins open sideways into each other (Works, 3:207–10).

Second, in the account of the Museum, physiology gets its due, but pathology, the subject of most of the writings, is under-described. As Jessie Dobson says, Hunter had no "definite plan" for morbid anatomy and this section was "never in any determined sequence." Hunter's "general plan" was to introduce the collection of 1800 preparations (the estimate varies) through a group illustrating the principles of bodily repair, inflammation, growths etc., the remainder being arranged by "the tissue or organ which was the seat of the disease," in the order of the Physiological Series, so that "the original design for the main parts of [Hunter's] collection" would not be "completely lost."62 But associating pathological with "corresponding normal specimens" proved impractical.63 Physiological structures and functions could be ordered to mirror the Chain of Being, but the very discipline of pathology is ontologically incompatible with gradative evolution.

Given the unfinished comprehensiveness of Hunter's work, the role of medicine and pathology in life and the life sciences remain unresolved. "Life" itself appears differently depending on the field through which it is [End Page 155] focalized, and classifying Hunter based on a collection whose own boundaries are unclear is difficult. Ottley describes Hunter as a "physiologist" but does not rule out seeing him as a naturalist or even a "natural philosopher" (Works, 1:135–36). Owen (like Home and the RCS itself) would see Hunter as a naturalist and comparative anatomist, because anatomy was closer than surgery to "pure science" and also cleaner.64 By contrast, Palmer's "Prospectus" assembles multiple blurbs on Hunter, including by Lavater, which all, except for Owen's, represent Hunter as a medical-surgical thinker. Indeed, Charles Bell insists (in his Hunterian anatomy lectures) that "Hunter was not a comparative anatomist, nor merely an anatomist," but deployed these fields in the service of pathology.65

Together with the Hunterian Orations, lectures, and Museum, Palmer's edition participated in Hunter's institution as a scientific name in a wider medical public sphere. But institution should be understood differently from the process criticized by Hunter's contemporary William Godwin, for whom institutions and their underlying habitus are a form of coercive reification.66 Instead, the edition institutes Hunter as Merleau-Ponty envisions when he writes, against Husserl, that "historical institution" is the field of a "becoming," functioning as a "hinge" "between others and myself." Institution "endow[s] experience with durable dimensions," and gives it a "future."67 But because institution(s) can petrify, as Ottley felt had happened in the Hunterian Orations (Works, 1:46n), one must reactivate the instituting force, as Palmer's edition does four decades after Hunter's death. For as Merleau-Ponty writes, the institution of a domain of knowledge does not "posit … a concept," but opens "a field" to "set underway" a task that remains incomplete.68

Tilottama Rajan
University of Western Ontario
Tilottama Rajan

Tilottama Rajan is Canada Research Chair and Distinguished University Professor at the University of Western Ontario, and founded the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism in 1991. She is the author of over a hundred articles on Romantic literature and philosophy and on contemporary theory, and has published four books: Dark Interpreter: The Discourse of Romanticism (Cornell University Press, 1980), The Supplement of Reading: Figures of Understanding in Romantic Theory and Practice (Cornell University Press, 1990), Deconstruction and the Remainders of Phenomenology (Stanford University Press, 2002), and Romantic Narrative: Shelley, Hays, Godwin, Wollstonecraft (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010). She has also edited or co-edited eight collections and scholarly editions, most recently Godwin's Mandeville (Broad-view Press, 2015), and the forthcoming William Blake: Modernity and Disaster (University of Toronto Press). She is currently working on organizations of knowledge in the long Romantic period, with a particular emphasis on the pressure that the life sciences bring to bear on philosophy.


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Zammito, John. The Gestation of German Biology: Philosophy and Physiology from Stahl to Schelling. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017.


3. See Robert Richards, The Romantic Conception of Life: Science and Philosophy in the Age of Goethe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002); John Zammito, The Gestation of German Biology: Philosophy and Physiology from Stahl to Schelling (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017); Andrea Gambarotto, Vital Forces, Teleology and Organization: Philosophy of Nature and the Rise of Biology in Germany (Cham, Switzerland: Springer, 2017); and Joan Steigerwald, Experimenting at the Boundaries of Life: Organic Vitality in Germany Around 1800 (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019). Adrian Desmond, while connecting British and German traditions and discussing the politics of "transcendental anatomy" in the context of material culture, takes up Owen and Coleridge's friend Joseph Henry Green but not Hunter in The Politics of Evolution: Morphology, Medicine, and Reform in Radical London (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989), 260–94, 335–72. My own article "The Asystasy of the Life Sciences: Schelling, Hunter, and British Idealism," puts Hunter's work in dialogue with Friedrich Schelling's First Outline of a System of the Philosophy of Nature (1799), and takes up Green and Coleridge, but to question whether German science can be reduced to an idealized transcendental anatomy. Kabiri: The Official Journal of the North American Schelling Society 1 (2018): 47–68.

4. The Works of John Hunter. F. R. S., ed. James F. Palmer, 4 vols. (London: Long-man, Rees, Orme, 1835–37); a fifth quarto volume of plates was issued separately. All subsequent references to The Works of John Hunter are cited parenthetically as Works, and prefaces to individual volumes are also cited parenthetically, as are Drewry Ottley's The Life of John Hunter, F. R. S. (Works 1:1–188), and Essays and Observations on Natural History, Anatomy, Physiology, Psychology, and Geology, ed. Richard Owen, 2 vols. (London: John Van Voorst, 1861), cited as Essays.

5. Home published a further "Supplement" to his lectures, in effect a fifth volume, in 1828.

13. Schelling, First Outline of a System of the Philosophy of Nature, trans. Keith Peter-son (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2006), 53, 158–60; cited parenthetically as Outline.

14. Nicolaas Rupke, Richard Owen: Biology Without Darwin (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994), 16.

15. Schelling, On University Studies, trans. E. S. Morgan (Athens, OH: University of Ohio Press, 1965), 148.

17. MS0007/1/7/2/9, RCS. Owen recopied this in 1854–56, preparatory to editing Essays, see MS0025/1/6/3/4, RCS.

18. MS0007/1/7/2/1, RCS.

19. Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge, trans. A. N. Sheridan-Smith (London: Tavistock, 1972), 10.

20. Agamben, The Coming Community, trans. Michael Hardt (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1993), 9–10.

21. Agamben, The Coming Community, 9–10.

22. MS0007/1/7/4/2, RCS.

23. Roland Barthes, "From Work to Text," in Image, Music, Text, trans. Stephen Heath (New York: Hill and Wang, 1977), 156–59.

24. MS 0007/1/7/5/2, RCS: a copy of Whitsed's copy (RCS MS0194) made for Clift and corrected by him. It includes Clift's history of the volume (August 11, 1832), explaining that Whitsed had made his copy from notes taken some time between 1781 and 1785 (Hunter gave his lectures from 1775 until his death, but most copies are from the mid 1780s). The notes are attributed to a Mr. Hopkinson, of whom nothing is known. Whitsed was a member of the RCS and the author of works on fetal monstrosity.

25. MS0198, RCS. Trye's version probably contains more aphorisms because he included the lectures on venereal disease, which others omit because they were (or shortly would be) available in print. Trye practiced in Gloucester and published work on the urinary tract, inflammation, and limb injuries. Seager was a founding member of the RCS.

26. MS 0007/1/7/5/2. Clift makes the comment in a "Memorandum" sent to Whitsed when he returned the manuscript on September 15, 1835, after keeping it for seven years. The aphoristic organization is probably Hopkinson's rather than Whitsed's.

27. Nancy, The Speculative Remark (One of Hegel's Bons Mots), trans. Celine Surprenant (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001), 48, 82.

28. Jessie Dobson, William Clift (London: Heinemann, 1954), 93–94, 109.

29. MS 00014/9, RCS.

30. MS0007/1/7/5/2. We do not know if Rumsey's version fell in this category.

31. MS0007/1/7/2/8, RCS. Though these cases remain unpublished, there are also several cases in Hunter's own handwriting, which have now been published.

32. See the transcripts of notes of John Hunter's lectures in MS0007/1/7/5/2, RCS. Though these cases remain unpublished, there are also several cases in Hunter's own handwriting which have now been published. See The Case Books of John Hunter, F. R. S, ed. Elizabeth Allen, J. L. Turk and Sir Reginald Manley (London: Royal Society of Medicine, 1993).

33. Home, "A Short Account of the Life of the Author," in Hunter, A Treatise on the Blood, Inflammation, and Gunshot Wounds (London: John Richardson, 1794), xxxviii. Even Home's own account of the arrangement (xxxviii–xlv) complicates this neat summary.

34. Coleridge, Hints Towards the Formation of a More Comprehensive Theory of Life, in Shorter Works and Fragments, ed. H. J. Jackson and J. R. de J. Jackson (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995), 1:486.

35. Coleridge, Hints Towards, 1:486.

36. Coleridge, Hints Towards, 1:486.

37. Coleridge, The Friend, 1:474.

38. Coleridge, The Friend, 1:474.

39. Immanuel Kant, Critique of the Power of Judgment, trans. Paul Guyer and Eric Matthews (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 252.

40. Home, "Life," vi.

41. Andrew Cunningham, "The Kinds of Anatomy," Medical History 19, no. 1 (Jan. 1, 1975): 5–9.

42. Cave, "The Hunterian Method," The British Medical Journal 1, no. 4134 (March 30, 1940): 544.

43. Barthes, "The Structuralist Activity," in Critical Essays, trans. Richard Howard (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1972), 216.

44. Barthes, "The Structuralist Activity," 216.

45. Alberti, Morbid Curiosities: Medical Museums in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 7, 98. Alberti's use of medical museums as a synecdoche for an organization of bodies that uncannily fragments and hybridizes them (6–7) is very much at odds with the tradition of "Romantic biology" traced by Maurizio Esposito from Kant to the twentieth century, in which organisms are complexly self-organizing wholes that reorganize themselves adaptively in relation to their environment. See Esposito, Romantic Biology 1890–1945 (London: Routledge, 2013), 13–32, 58. Whether Hunter can be decisively aligned with either model is an open question.

46. For a list of Owen's catalogues for the RCS see Rupke, "Richard Owen's Hunterian Lectures on Comparative Anatomy and Physiology, 1837–55," Medical History 29, no. 3 (1985): 241.

47. Alberti, Morbid Curiosities, 8.

48. Qvist, John Hunter (London: Heinemann, 1981), 58–59.

49. Qvist, John Hunter, 81–83.

50. Xavier Bichat, Physiological Researches Upon Life and Death, trans. Tobias Watkins (Philadelphia: Smith and Maxwell, 1809), 1; Hegel, Nature, 441.

51. Csiszar, The Scientific Journal: Authorship and the Politics of Knowledge in the Nineteenth Century (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018), 8.

52. Csiszar, The Scientific Journal, 8.

53. Csiszar, The Scientific Journal, 8.

54. Novalis, Notes for a Romantic Encyclopedia: Das Allgemeine Brouillon, trans. David W. Wood (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2007), 76.

55. Others added to the collection after Hunter's death, and Owen himself added animals that had died in the Zoological Gardens. See Dobson, Clift, 81.

56. Franzel, "Romantic Encyclopedics and the Lecture Form: Schelling, A. W. Schlegel, A. von Humboldt," European Romantic Review 25, no. 3 (2014): 349. Franzel refers to a lecture of mine subsequently published as "Smooth and Tangled Systems: Philosophy as Metadiscipline in German Idealism," in Romanticism and the Philosophical Tradition, ed. Thomas Constantinesco and Sophie Laniel-Musitelli (Nancy, Fr.: Presses Universitaires de Nancy, 2015), 19–43.

57. Unsigned review of The Works of John Hunter, F. R. S., Vol. 3, by John Hunter, The London Medical Gazette 1839, 593–94.

58. All Hunter's original works were almost immediately translated into German, and some were translated into Dutch and Latin. The Palmer edition was translated into both German and French.

59. Csiszar, The Scientific Journal, 5, 27.

60. See W. R. LeFanu, "British Periodicals of Medicine: A Chronological List," Bulletin of the Institute of the History of Medicine 5 (1937): 741.

61. Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, trans. Mark Lester (London: Athlone Press, 1990), 37–39.

62. Dobson, John Hunter (Edinburgh: E. and S. Livingstone, 1969), 188–89.

63. Dobson, John Hunter, 190.

64. Rupke, "Owen's Hunterian Lectures," 237–58.

65. Palmer, MS 00014/9, RCS; Bell, "Anatomy and Physiology Lectures on the Hunterian Preparations at the Royal College of Surgeons, London," The Lancet (1833–34), 1:280. Palmer mistakenly attributes Bell's comment to James Wardrop.

66. Godwin, Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and its Influence on Morals and Happiness, ed. F. E. L. Priestley (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1946), 1:4–5, 65.

67. Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Institution and Passivity: Course Notes from the Collège de France (1954–5), trans. Leonard Lawlor and Heath Massey (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2010), 77.

68. Merleau-Ponty, Institution and Passivity, 61n103.

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