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The Machine in the TextScience and Literature in the Age of Shakespeare and Galileo$
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Howard Marchitello

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199608058

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608058.001.0001

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John Donne's New Science Writing

John Donne's New Science Writing

(p.116) 5 John Donne's New Science Writing
The Machine in the Text

Howard Marchitello

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the faith–science controversy through an analysis of a major text by a confirmed believer who doubted science, John Donne's meditation on disease and the problem of embodiment, Devotions upon Emergent Occasions. This chapter argues that Donne's disease prompts him to investigate the manner of God's method—of communication, mercy, and ultimately redemption—that will serve as the model for his own critical reaction to both the epistemological and experiential crises of disease and doubt. In the face of these issues, Donne fashions a new method—of observation, analysis, and recording. In the Devotions, Donne constructs a discourse, a new science writing, that enables the apprehension of God's method and that allows for a new understanding of embodiment and materialism, together with a new model for human experience predicated upon a theology of exemplarity.

Keywords:   embodiment, disease, exemplarity, doubt, devotional writing, autobiography, case study, subjective knowledge, Descartes

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