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By Geoffrey Sill

This new learn examines the function of the passions within the upward thrust of the English novel. Geoffrey Sill examines scientific, non secular, and literary efforts to anatomize the passions, paying specific consciousness to the works of Dr. Alexander Monro of Edinburgh, Reverend John Lewis of Margate, and Daniel Defoe, novelist and normal historian of the passions. He indicates that the determine of the "physician of the brain" is renowned not just in Defoe's novels, but additionally in these of Fielding, Richardson, Smollett, Burney, and Edgeworth.

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I have long thought and endeavoured to prove," says Monro secundus,"that our nerves, independent of the encephalon, possess an energy or principle of life, which The cureefthepassionsand theoriginseftheEnglishnovel AlexanderMonroand theanatomist's gaze they derive from their proper pia materand its vessels" (36). "3 8 This description of an innate sensiblity in the nervous system provides an alternative to the mechanistic explanations offered by the materialists, who argue that the body responds only to the stimuli of external objects or changes in the state of its fluids, and the metaphysical doctrines of the immaterialists, for whom the body is governed by an in-dwelling spirit.

32It is ultimately not as a novelist, but as a historian of the passions, that Defoe must be read. time never fail to hand on the thing; if not just when he callsfor it, yet at some other time. 33 The Consolidator is a satire of politics, religion, and science in England, as well as a parody of such purported histories or anatomies of mankind as Samuel Purchas' Microcosmus,Gracian's El Critic6n,and Augustine's Corifessions. The vehicle of the satire is the purported narrative of a traveler to China, a land with many marvelous inventions besides those already known to the West.

Far from ideas residing in an immaterial soul, sensations are the products of the nervous system: "Whenever the Impulse proper to the Object is regularly applied with due Force to a Nerve rightly disit posed to be impressed by it, and is communicated ... to the Sensorium, gives a true and just Idea of the Object to the Mind" (31). These sensations are not limited to pleasure and pain, but affect a sense of what is beneficial or hurtful to the body. 32 Monro's use of the Latin word "Nisus,"which means an impulse directed toward a particular end, suggests a moral sensibility imprinted in the nervous system itsel£33 This Nisus, he expects, may explain some phenomena that are not explicable under the Boerhaavian fluid theory - for example, the fact that a muscle can respond to a stimulus, such as a warm breath or pin prick, even after it has been separated from the body (38).

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