Fairy-tale Science

Fairy-tale Science

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qBetween 1550 and 1650, marvellous stories of women giving birth to animals, young girls growing penises, and valiant men slaying dragons appeared in Europe. Circulated in scientific texts and in the first two collections of fairy tales published on the continent, Giovan Francesco Straparolas Le piacevoli notti and Giambattista Basiles Lo cunto de li cunti, the stories invigorated readers and established a new literary genre. Despite the fact that the printed European fairy tale was born in Italy, however, contemporary readers tend to think of France or Germany as the genres place of origin.Fairy-Tale Science looks at the birth of the literary fairy tale in the context of early modern discourses on the monstrous, and explains how scientific discourse and literary theories of the marvellous limited the genre's success on its native soil. Suzanne Magnanini argues that men of science positioned the fairy tale in opposition to science and fixed it as a negative pole in a binary system. This system came to define both a new type of scientific inquiry and the nascent literary genre. Magnanini also suggests that, by adopting theories of the monstrous as metaphors for their own literary production, Straparola and Basile aligned the literary fairy tale, the feminine, and the monstrous, and essentially marginalized the new genre.Fairy-Tale Science expands our understanding of the early modern European imagination and investigates the complex interplay between scientific discourse and marvellous literature.qHe argues that the scientific explanations of female-to- male spontaneous sex change similar to that of Varchi gained wide ... Italy and Andreas Vesalius in Belgium offered visual a#39;proofa#39; of the homology of the male and female reproductive organs. ... of female genitalia a#39;labeled so as to make clear once again ... the correspondences between male and female organs. ... In their review of Making Sex, they contend that his assesment overemphasizes the influence of the Galenic model byanbsp;...

Title:Fairy-tale Science
Author: Suzanne Magnanini
Publisher:University of Toronto Press - 2008

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