The Wild Girl, Natural Man, and the Monster: Dangerous Experiments in the Age of Enlightenment

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University of Chicago Press, 2002年6月15日 - 314 頁
This study looks at the lives of the most famous "wild children" of eighteenth-century Europe, showing how they open a window onto European ideas about the potential and perfectibility of mankind. Julia V. Douthwaite recounts reports of feral children such as the wild girl of Champagne (captured in 1731 and baptized as Marie-Angélique Leblanc), offering a fascinating glimpse into beliefs about the difference between man and beast and the means once used to civilize the uncivilized.

A variety of educational experiments failed to tame these feral children by the standards of the day. After telling their stories, Douthwaite turns to literature that reflects on similar experiments to perfect human subjects. Her examples range from utopian schemes for progressive childrearing to philosophical tales of animated statues, from revolutionary theories of regenerated men to Gothic tales of scientists run amok. Encompassing thinkers such as Rousseau, Sade, Defoe, and Mary Shelley, Douthwaite shows how the Enlightenment conceived of mankind as an infinitely malleable entity, first with optimism, then with apprehension. Exposing the darker side of eighteenth-century thought, she demonstrates how advances in science gave rise to troubling ethical concerns, as parents, scientists, and politicians tried to perfect mankind with disastrous results.
 

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內容

Introduction
1
Wild Children ESTABLISHING THE BOUNDARIES OF NATURE AND SCIENCE
11
Defining the Human
14
Idiot or Idol?
21
Monstrous Femininity
29
The Last Natural Man
53
The Animated Statue and the Plasticity of Mankind
70
Sensibility and Animated Statues
71
Defoe Kirkby Beaurieu and Dulaurens
115
Raising the Rational Child REALLIFE EXPERIMENTS AND ALTERNATIVES TO ROUSSEAU
134
Three Famous Cases
136
Alternative Schemes for Raising the Rational Child
145
Perfectibility in the Revolutionary Era UTOPIAN POLITICS AND DYSTOPIAN FICTIONS
161
The Revolutionary Homme Régénéré
163
Edgeworth and Fenwick
182
Bévéroni SaintCyr and Sade
192

Experimental Methods in Flux
82
Political Dimensions
87
Compromised Idylls NATURAL MAN AND WOMAN ENCULTURED
93
Locke and Rousseau
95
Monstrous Imperfection
205
Notes
223
Index
303
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關於作者 (2002)

Julia V. Douthwaite teaches French and comparative literature at the University of Notre Dame. She is the author of Exotic Women: Literary Heroines and Cultural Strategies in Ancien Régime France.

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