Erasmus Darwin, Henry Fuseli, and 'The Temple of Nature': Religion, Poetry, and Art in Enlightenment Natural History Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Kessler, Samuel Joseph
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Religious Studies
  • Using methodologies developed by current practitioners in religion-science studies, this thesis attempts a new reading of Erasmus Darwin's didactic poem 'The Temple of Nature' (1803). Through a combined analysis of the volume's four engravings (designed by Henry Fuseli) and written verse, the thesis makes a broad argument for the book's place as an indicator of forgotten Enlightenment epistemologies, specifically as they impact philosophical and scientific speculations on the meaning and origin of human culture and the natural world. The thesis is an attempted reinterpretation of Darwin and Fuseli's Enlightenment positioning, seeing in them an un-preferred line of thought concerning both methodologies of natural historical study and theoretic speculations about human social origins.
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  • Styers, Randall
  • Master of Arts
Graduation year
  • 2013

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