SA RA H S CH UET Z E University of Wisconsin–Green Bay Bodies were intimately involved in the production, circulation, and reading of the materials that scholars of early America study. Early American bod- ies, however, have become largely removed from our readings of historical texts. Recovering the interconnection between ideas and bodies in those texts reveals that, despite the resilient Cartesian separation between mind and body in the modern era, early American writers and readers saw more ﬂuidity between the components that constituted the body and the archive than we may acknowledge today. One leading eighteenth-century medical theorist, William Falconer, wrote, “The corporeal functions coincide herein with the mental”; the body and the mind were not always discrete features, but integrated parts of what he described as the “human system.” In Fal- coner’s system, the individual parts coordinate and communicate, affecting one another in ways that make the limits of each part hard to discern. Thoughts, feelings, senses, and their expression through the handling of pens and presses are bodily elements that manifest themselves in texts— making texts, to some degree, artifacts of the body. Their content represents embodied lives, and their forms bear the imprint of the
Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Nov 5, 2018
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