Article ID: CBB462902340

Barock zoologi: Ktonisk distansering i Haquin Spegels Guds werk och hwila (2020)


By looking at scientific, religious, and aesthetic ideas concerning animals that were regarded as occupying a low position in ‘the great chain of being’ in early modernity, the article analyses how, and for what reasons, the Swedish poet Haquin Spegel (1645–1714) treats these kind of animals in his work on the seven days of creation, Guds werk och hwila (The work and rest of God, 1685). Since Aristotle, these creatures— e.g., different reptiles, amphibians, and insects—had been connected to the element of the earth and, as such, had become associated with materiality, chaos, and, in a later Christian context, immorality and sin. The article shows how their ambivalent and paradoxical nature during the seventeenth century on the one hand was used to convey baroque aesthetics and ideas, but on the other hand could be very problematic in a more classicist perspective. In the cultural milieu of Sweden, to associate oneself with these animals could present a liability to both authors and readers alike. Thus, when forced to deal with them as parts of the creation, Spegel employs several rhetorical and poetic strategies to weaken their baroque ‘power’. This to a large extent confirms the resistance to baroque expressions among Swedish seventeenth-century authors, noted by earlier scholars, but also shows how ‘the baroque’ in the guise of material animals, was not always possible to avoid, and had to be addressed in each text.

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Authors & Contributors
Kemp, Martin
Morse, Deborah Denenholz
Danahay, Martin A.
Schmitt, Cannon
Rothfels, Nigel T.
Bernstein, Susan David
Science-Fiction Studies
French History
Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies
Atti e Memorie, Rivista di Storia della Farmacia
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Journal of the History of Ideas
University of Chicago Press
University of Illinois Press
Walter de Gruyter
Human-animal relationships
Animals in literature
Science and literature
Natural history
Science and culture
Perrin, Pierre,
Shakespeare, William
Great Britain
Mediterranean region
17th century
18th century
16th century
19th century
20th century, late
Jesuits (Society of Jesus)

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