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Instead of Children: Legacy and Embodied Interpretation in the Woodwardian Museum

Instead of Children: Legacy and Embodied Interpretation in the Woodwardian Museum <p>Abstract:</p><p>John Woodward&apos;s collection of geological specimens, bequeathed to Cambridge University in 1728, was one of the first public institutional collections of its kind. The collector himself led a checkered career and was frequently accused of self-importance and arrogance by contemporaries. Studies of Woodward&apos;s legacy project have hence tended to characterize his bequest as an exercise in self-aggrandizement at the expense of its usefulness to subsequent generations of geologists. However, I propose that by resituating Woodward&apos;s elaborate will and testament in the context of his distinctive collecting and taxonomic practices, the Woodwardian Museum can be reframed as his attempt to perpetuate an embodied methodology for understanding the natural world. By recontextualizing Woodward&apos;s legacy project, I offer a reassessment of a prolonged discourse that has conflated his childlessness with a desire to replicate himself, suggesting that his collection tries to foster a meaningful intellectual progeny rather than to merely construct an elaborate funerary monument.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Studies in Philology University of North Carolina Press

Instead of Children: Legacy and Embodied Interpretation in the Woodwardian Museum

Studies in Philology , Volume 118 (4) – Oct 5, 2021

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © Studies in Philology, Incorporated
ISSN
1543-0383

Abstract

<p>Abstract:</p><p>John Woodward&apos;s collection of geological specimens, bequeathed to Cambridge University in 1728, was one of the first public institutional collections of its kind. The collector himself led a checkered career and was frequently accused of self-importance and arrogance by contemporaries. Studies of Woodward&apos;s legacy project have hence tended to characterize his bequest as an exercise in self-aggrandizement at the expense of its usefulness to subsequent generations of geologists. However, I propose that by resituating Woodward&apos;s elaborate will and testament in the context of his distinctive collecting and taxonomic practices, the Woodwardian Museum can be reframed as his attempt to perpetuate an embodied methodology for understanding the natural world. By recontextualizing Woodward&apos;s legacy project, I offer a reassessment of a prolonged discourse that has conflated his childlessness with a desire to replicate himself, suggesting that his collection tries to foster a meaningful intellectual progeny rather than to merely construct an elaborate funerary monument.</p>

Journal

Studies in PhilologyUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Oct 5, 2021

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