By Hisao Ishizuka

This booklet presents a whole account of the idea that of fiber and fiber idea in eighteenth-century British drugs. It explores the pivotal function fiber performed as a defining, underlying proposal in anatomy, body structure, pathology, therapeutics, psychology, and the existence sciences. With the sluggish loss of life of old humoralism, the forged fibers seemed at the clinical scene either because the uncomplicated construction unit of the physique and as a dynamic agent of existence. As such, fiber stands on the middle of eighteenth-century medication, either iatromechanism and iatro-vitalism. relating the cultural elements of fiber, the Baroque, and the tradition of sensibility, this ebook additionally demanding situations the commonly held assumption that the eighteenth century used to be the age of the nerve and as an alternative deals an alternate version of fiber.

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Extra resources for Fiber, Medicine, and Culture in the British Enlightenment

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Nehemiah Grew, Cosmologia Sacra: or, a Discourse of the Universe as It Is the Creature and Kingdom of God (London, 1701), 18. 55. Grew, Anatomy, 121. Contemporaries also observed that Grew discovered the more minute fibers composing the bladders, which made up the Pith; see the editor’s notes to Leeuwenhoek’s letter in Philosophical Transactions (660). 56. , 59, 62. 57. Other examples are “as it were…a Diversified Woof” (for the uniform contexture of the parenchymous part of the barque), “Threds…Braced together in the form of Net-Work” (for the texture of the barque), “Fine and close Needle-work” (for the fibrous structure of the pith), “a piece of Linsy-Woosly Work, or like manner other Manufactures in which the Warp and the Woof are of different Sorts of Stuff” (for the insertions in the wood) (64, 65, 77, 114).

In the present context, Connor’s book is important in that he presented a rudimentary idea of fiber anatomy. 3 The “vessels” refer to the veins, arteries, nerves, and lymph ducts, which, according to most medical writers of that time, compose the entire body. Nevertheless, Connor argues that the countless “vascular filaments” also participate in the composition of the body by comprising bones, cartilages, ligaments, membranes, tendons, muscles, and glands. 5 Because Connor died in 1698, soon after this publication, his research was unfortunately not extended.

From this context, it could be argued that the figure of the fiber was evoked as the minima of the solid body in tandem with the renewed interest in the body as wholly composed of vessels. Strictly speaking, the fiber differs from the vessels, but the terminology employed by anatomists was far from precise, especially in the field of microscopic anatomy, because anatomists relied on everyday language (such as ropes, strings, filaments, threads, pipes, bushes, and forests) to describe the newly discovered micro-worlds.

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