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VISITING SPEAKER: Friends of the Library Speaker

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Friends of the Library Speaker : Passions for Learning Other events...
Passions for Learning and of the Unreasonably Learned in the Eighteenth Century

The Dutch physician and Latin poet, Gerard Nicolaas Heerkens (1728-1801), published in Groningen in 1790 an expanded edition of his Latin didactic poem on ‘the health of men of letters’ (‘De valetudine literatorum’), which he originally composed as a medical student in Paris some forty years earlier and published in 1749. Heerkens’ work belongs to a long tradition of humanist theorising and worrying about the occupational safety of the learned. In the years between the first and second editions, Samuel Auguste André David Tissot (1728–1797), Lausanne physician, professor, and public health advocate (best known to posterity for his writings on migraine and masturbation) had also published a Latin academic oration on ‘the health of men of letters’. Heerkens does not neglect to assert the priority of his own ‘De valetudine literatorum’. It must have been galling for Heerkens to see that Tissot’s oration stigmatised as pathological precisely the sort of life of learning -- and life-long learning! -- in which Heerkens himself was engaged. In my lecture I shall review his Heerkens’ rather testy engagement with Tissot, his defence of the passion for learning, and advice to the learned on moderating their passions. Were scholars and scientists inherently unreasonable?

About the Speaker

Yasmin Haskell is Cassamarca Foundation Chair in Latin Humanism at the University of Western Australia and a Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre for the History of Emotions 1100-1800. She has published on neo-Latin literature, the early modern Society of Jesus, and the history of psychiatry. In the Centre for the History of Emotions she is co-ordinating projects on ‘Jesuit Emotions’ and ‘Passions for Learning’. Her most recent (edited) book, 'Diseases of the Imagination and Imaginary Disease in the Early Modern Period’, is published by Brepols.

Free parking is available via Entrance 1, Car Park No. 3

If glass door is unmanned, please enter via spiral staircase to 1st floor, then go downstairs to the ground floor meeting room.

Members: Free, Non Members $5 donation
Speaker(s) Prof Yasmin Haskell, Cassamarca Foundation Chair in Latin Humanism, UWA
Location Reid Library ground floor meeting room (Enter via glass sliding staff door - ground floor - facing car park)
Contact David Thatcher <[email protected]> : 6488 2326
Start Tue, 10 Jul 2012 19:30
End Tue, 10 Jul 2012 21:30
Submitted by Susan O'Connor <[email protected]>
Last Updated Wed, 04 Jul 2012 08:12
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