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Janina Wellmann

The Form of Becoming

A cultural history of embryology, 1760-1830

429 pages, 68 illustrations
Format: 14 x 22,2
ISBN 978-3-8353-0594-6

The beginnings of modern thoughts on developmental biology between 1760 and 1830, from the perspective of the history of culture and science.

The epoch around 1800 was a decisive point in time, when the perception of living things changed in a fundamental way. Nature and all its creations were no longer seen within the framework of a rigid and timeless order, but from the perspective of coming into being, being continually reorganised and undergoing new developments.
Janina Wellmann puts forward the theory that a new epistemic category - that of rhythm - became established within various areas of knowledge such as music theory, literary theory and philosophy between 1760 and 1830. It is only against this background that the emergence of new biological theories can be understood. Around 1800 the living world, especially the idea of development, was newly conceptualised in terms of rhythmical patterns, rhythmical movement and rhythmical representation.
Wellmann also shows that the growing importance of rhythm in the living world was related not only to the theory but also to the visual representation of movement, and how this was adopted in the scientific portrayal of living processes.

The Authoress
Janina Wellmann studied History and Philosophy in Hamburg, Paris and Berlin. Doctorate at the TU (Technical University) Berlin and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences) in Paris.