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Flaubert's TentationRemapping Nineteenth-Century French Histories of Religion and Science$
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Mary Orr

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199258581

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199258581.001.0001

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Bones of Contention

Bones of Contention

(p.207) 7 Bones of Contention
Flaubert's Tentation

Mary Orr (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This final chapter reconsiders the famous set‐pieces of the ‘Sphinx and the Chimera’ and the ‘être la matière’ epiphany closing the text by close attention to real ‘monsters’ of Antoine's imagination now that the Devil and Hilarion have left him to his solitary human condition. By arguing that Antoine equates to a Cuvier pitched against Saint‐Hilaire (and his theories of teratology) in the famous ‘querelle des analogues’ of 1832, the chapter investigates for the first time how the two famous sections above and the ‘parade of the monsters’ mesh with Cuvier's wide‐ranging contributions to comparative anatomy and palaeontology. The chapter thus identifies and reconstructs ‘real’ imaginary monsters (fossils), and adds science intertexts—Humboldt's Cosmos for example—to Flaubert's famous library for the first time. Further contemporary scientist interlocutors aptly replace Saint‐Hilaire and Laplace as the final (reference) matter of the chapter, the contributions of the Pouchets to theories of spontaneous generation and micropalaeontology.

Keywords:   Sphinx and Chimera, être la matière, epiphany, Cuvier, Saint‐Hilaire's teratologies, Querelle des analogues, monsters, Cosmos, Félix Andromède Pouchet, spontaneous generation, George Pouchet, micropalaeontology

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