VISITING SPEAKER: Friends of the Library Speaker
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
Prof Yasmin Haskell, Cassamarca Foundation Chair in Latin Humanism, UWA
Reid Library ground floor meeting room (Enter via glass sliding staff door - ground floor - facing car park)
: 6488 2326
Tue, 10 Jul 2012 19:30
Tue, 10 Jul 2012 21:30
Susan O'Connor <[email protected]>
Wed, 04 Jul 2012 08:12
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