Book ID: CBB273148572

Coming To: Consciousness and Natality in Early Modern England (2020)


In Coming To, Timothy M. Harrison uncovers the forgotten role of poetry in the history of the idea of consciousness. Drawing our attention to a sea change in the English seventeenth century, when, over the course of a half century, “conscience” made a sudden shift to “consciousness,” he traces a line that leads from the philosophy of René Descartes to the poetry of John Milton, from the prenatal memories of theologian Thomas Traherne to the unresolved perspective on natality, consciousness, and ethics in the philosophy of John Locke. Each of these figures responded to the first-person perspective by turning to the origins of how human thought began. Taken together, as Harrison shows, this unlikely group of thinkers sheds new light on the emergence of the concept of consciousness and the significance of human natality to central questions in the fields of literature, philosophy, and the history of science.

Reviewed By

Review Shelby N. Oubre (Spring 2022) Review of "Coming To: Consciousness and Natality in Early Modern England". Renaissance Quarterly (pp. 346-347). unapi

Review Emma Gilby (2022) Review of "Coming To: Consciousness and Natality in Early Modern England". Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences (pp. 439-440). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Boccaccini, Federico
Trubowitz, Rachel
Gorman, Cassandra
Lipking, Lawrence
Silverman, William John, Jr.
Marmodoro, Anna
British Journal for the History of Philosophy
Journal of the History of Philosophy
ELH: English Literary History
Cambridge University Press
Oxford University Press
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of California, Irvine
Science and literature
Poetry and poetics
Natural philosophy
Milton, John
Locke, John
Descartes, René
Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm von
Hume, David
Harvey, William
Time Periods
17th century
18th century
Early modern
20th century
19th century
16th century
Great Britain
Royal Society of London

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