Research Programs: Fellowships

Period of Performance

7/1/2018 - 6/30/2019

Funding Totals

$50,400.00 (approved)
$50,400.00 (awarded)

Divining Nature: Aesthetics of Enchantment in Enlightenment France, 1750-1800

FAIN: FEL-257164-18

Tili Boon Cuille
Washington University (St. Louis, MO 63130-4862)

Completion of a book-length study on 18th-century innovations in opera, poetry, and the visual arts that demonstrate continuities between art, religion, and science in Enlightenment France.

The Enlightenment and modernity remain indelibly associated with the notion of disenchantment. Divining Nature is the first book to question the absolute nature of the rift between science, art, and religion in Enlightenment France, contributing to the recent anti-rationalist trend in eighteenth-century studies. The perception of nature as spectacle allowed for both scientific and religious explanations of natural phenomena. I investigate theories of aesthetics and affect that natural historians and philosophers, artists and composers derived from the spectacle of nature in the years 1750-1800. The works I examine, including natural history, painting, opera, and the novel, enjoyed unprecedented popular success, leading to a significant rereading of the era. The notion of disenchantment, I argue, was fundamentally at odds with the aesthetic reforms of the period, designed to enable audiences to believe in the truth of fiction. An NEH fellowship will enable me to complete my manuscript.

Media Coverage

Cuillé, Martin, Miller Win NEH Fellowships (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Liam Otten
Publication: The Source (online publication at Washington University in St. Louis)
Date: 1/22/2018
Abstract: Three faculty members at Washington University in St. Louis have won prestigious research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Cuillé, Martin and Miller are among 74 scholars from across the United States to receive NEH fellowships, which were announced Dec. 12. In all, the NEH awarded $12.8 million to support 253 humanities projects. “The humanities offer us a path toward understanding ourselves, our neighbors, our nation,” said NEH acting chair Jon Parrish Peede. “These new NEH grants exemplify the agency’s commitment to serving American communities through investing in education initiatives, safeguarding cultural treasures and illuminating the history and values that define our shared heritage.” Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the NEH supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation.

Associated Products

Divining Nature: Aesthetics of Enchantment in Enlightenment France (Book)
Title: Divining Nature: Aesthetics of Enchantment in Enlightenment France
Author: Tili Boon Cuillé
Abstract: Forthcoming
Year: 2020
Publisher: Stanford University Press
Type: Single author monograph