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This volume highlights the connections that link both literary discourse and the discourse about literature to the conceptual or representational frameworks, practices, and cognitive results (the ‘truths’) of disciplines such as psychology, medicine, epistemology, anthropology, cartography, chemistry, and rhetoric. Literature and the sciences, embedded as they are in specific historical circumstances, thus emerge as fields of inquiry and representation which share a number of assumptions and are determined or constructed by several modes of cross-fertilization. The range of authors examined includes Richard Brome, Margaret Cavendish, Aphra Behn, Shaftesbury, Defoe, Swift, Richardson and Smollett, while emphasis is placed on how authors of literature regard the practices, practitioners and findings of science, as well as on how ‘mimesis’ intersects with scientific discourse.

Contributors are Bernhard Klein, Daniel Essig García, George Rousseau, Jorge Bastos da Silva, Kate De Rycker, Maria Avxentevskaya, Miguel Ramalhete Gomes, Mihaela Irimia, Richard Nate, and Wojciech Nowicki.
Author: Scott DeShong
In Encountering Ability, Scott DeShong considers how ability and its correlative, disability, come into existence. Besides being articulated as physical, social, aesthetic, political, and specifically human, ability signifies and is signified such that signification itself is always in question. Thus the language of ability and the ability of language constitute discourse that undermines foundations, including any foundation for discourse or ability. Drawing on Gilles Deleuze’s theory of primary differentiation and Emmanuel Levinas’s philosophy of ethical relationality, Encountering Ability finds implications of music, theology, and cursing in the signification of ability, and also examines various literary texts, including works by Amiri Baraka and Marguerite Duras.