Research Programs: Summer Stipends

Period of Performance

6/1/2004 - 8/31/2004

Funding Totals

$5,000.00 (approved)
$5,000.00 (awarded)

William Blake and Medicine

FAIN: FT-52386-04

Richard Chih-Tung Sha
American University (Washington, DC 20016-8200)

"Blake and Medicine" will help fill a large void in Blake Studies by showing how this important poet and artist's mythological universe is grounded in extraordinary ways by medical theories of his time. We cannot fully understand Blake's theories of liberation and why the body is so central to that liberation without knowing about medical science and where he got his notions of the body, sexuality, and gender from.

Media Coverage

Perverse Romanticism (Review)
Publication: TLS
Date: 2/12/2010

Associated Products

"Blake, Liberation, and Medicine" (Article)
Title: "Blake, Liberation, and Medicine"
Author: Richard C. Sha
Abstract: This essay situates Blake's works in the medical thought of his time.
Year: 2009
Format: Other
Periodical Title: Liberating Medicine
Publisher: Pickering and Chatto

Perverse Romanticism: Aesthetics and Sexuality in Britain, 1750-1832 (Book)
Title: Perverse Romanticism: Aesthetics and Sexuality in Britain, 1750-1832
Author: Richard C. Sha
Abstract: Richard C. Sha's revealing study considers how science shaped notions of sexuality, reproduction, and gender in the Romantic period. Through careful and imaginative readings of various scientific texts, the philosophy of Immanuel Kant and Longinus, and the works of such writers as William Blake, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Lord Byron, Sha explores the influence of contemporary aesthetics and biology on literary Romanticism. Revealing that ideas of sexuality during the Romantic era were much more fluid and undecided than they are often characterized in the existing scholarship, Sha's innovative study complicates received claims concerning the shift from perversity to perversion in the nineteenth century. He observes that the questions of perversity—or purposelessness—became simultaneously critical in Kantian aesthetics, biological functionalism, and Romantic ideas of private and public sexuality. The Romantics, then, sought to reconceptualize sexual pleasure as deriving from mutuality rather than from the biological purpose of reproduction. At the nexus of Kantian aesthetics, literary analysis, and the history of medicine, Perverse Romanticism makes an important contribution to the study of sexuality in the long eighteenth century.
Year: 2009
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 0-8018-9041-1