Monday, March 23, 2015

Curiouser and Curiouser

When a friend of mine interviewed a pagan who wanted to know more about easter eggs, easter bunnies and easter foxes, this lead me to Georg Franck von Franckenau, a medical doctor and personal attendant to Christian V of Denmark, who wrote some 20+ Medical dissertations in the style of Latin Satires, published posthumously by his son in 1722, where Satire #19 is the first discussion of the easter egg and the easter bunny, with Latin and German quotes (p.396 in the book, p.413 in the PDF). The work of Franckenau, especially his analysis of the sexual and the erotic in these dissertations, is discussed in this paper, which places Franckenau squarely into the Baroque tradition of curiosity literature (p.88 Fn 14). The author makes a good case for the relationship between the extreme and marvelous and the Baconian inductive method on the other, which required these outliers to adjust the conceptual framework (p.96 Fn 55).

Among books that discuss the curiosity literature is Christoph Daxelmüller (1979), Barockdissertationen und Polyhistorismus. Die Curiositas der Ethnica und Magica im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert. Würzburg, 117–186, which is available at the Vienna FB for European Ethnography.

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