John Donne's New Science Writing

Howard Marchitello

in The Machine in the Text

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608058
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729492 | DOI:
John Donne's New Science Writing

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This chapter examines the faith–science controversy through an analysis of a major text by a confirmed believer who doubted science, John Donne's meditation on disease and the problem of embodiment, Devotions upon Emergent Occasions. This chapter argues that Donne's disease prompts him to investigate the manner of God's method—of communication, mercy, and ultimately redemption—that will serve as the model for his own critical reaction to both the epistemological and experiential crises of disease and doubt. In the face of these issues, Donne fashions a new method—of observation, analysis, and recording. In the Devotions, Donne constructs a discourse, a new science writing, that enables the apprehension of God's method and that allows for a new understanding of embodiment and materialism, together with a new model for human experience predicated upon a theology of exemplarity.

Keywords: embodiment; disease; exemplarity; doubt; devotional writing; autobiography; case study; subjective knowledge; Descartes

Chapter.  21665 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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