Reading and writing the prolongation of life. (360G-Wellcome-088250_Z_09_Z)
This research examines the role of writing in seventeenth-century works on the prolongation of life. It examines the relationship between knowledge and the extension of experience presented by authors, and situates such projects within a wider natural philosophical endeavour to use artifice to overcome man s natural limitations. It proposes that what appear to be practical schemes for prolonging life are in fact about the feat of longevity that is made possible only by the artifice of writing. This research will offer a new understanding of the relationship between natural philosophy and medicine by providing a new reading of these works. It will show that these works conceive knowledge and long life to be fundamentally connected, and reads them as an intervention in contemporary debates about progress. These authors present prodigious old age as a feature of the experience accumulated in the library, rather than chronological precedence. In doing so, they make literary and i ntellectual endeavour rather than the arts the site of progress through experience. The key goal of this research is a monograph on feats of the library, bringing together my thesis research on extending experience through space with the proposed research on extending experience through time.
£112,995 26 Mar 2009