Chapter

Johann Christian Reil 's Romantic Theories of Life and Mind, or Rhapsodies on a Cat-Piano

in The Romantic Conception of Life

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2002 | ISBN: 9780226712109
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226712185 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226712185.003.0007
Johann Christian Reil 's Romantic Theories of Life and Mind, or Rhapsodies on a Cat-Piano

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Johann Christian Reil, one of the most famous medical theorists and physicians of his time, followed an intellectual path paralleling that of Kielmeyer. Reil advanced a quite materialistic and mechanistic conception of organic processes. The fundamental operations of assimilation, growth, and reproduction occurred by way of external matter (in the form of food), first being electively attracted to the right parts of an animal body and then being chemically altered through a kind of “crystallization of animal matter.” Reil's metaphor of crystallization spread through all parts of his treatment of biological phenomena. Romantic Naturphilosophie held powerful appeal for those whose imaginations exalted in the fresh, bright air in which the poets dwelt.

Keywords: Reil; external matter; organic process; romantic; animal matter

Chapter.  16439 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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