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Extra info for Science and the Human Comedy: Natural Philosophy in French Literature from Rabelais to Maupertuis
There has been a trend, perhaps inevitable, towards seeking quick results by a high degree of specialization, not only within the various phenomena of a single culture or the narrow limits of a single method of analysis, but even in the broader fields of comparative literature. Still claiming to be humanists, scholars have become adepts in the trivial, confining their attention to the details of scientific bibliography, to the sociology of a brief period of a national literature, to a 'new criticism' narrowly applied, neglecting the general principle that a true picture of phenomena can only be established if the background is broad and the perspective accurate.
Likewise, since we are speaking of educational issues, one cannot expect a teacher concerned with linguistic fact or biographic detail, readily absorbed and remembered, to have much time for the identification and discussion of intellectual themes, the tensions between religion and science, body and soul, SCIENCE AND THE ARTIFACT 15 ethics and the passions, in the authors he explicates. Yet there is no doubt that these issues of meaning, these questions of ends, are much closer to the heart of artist and author.
D. What should have been puzzling is the attribution of its 'invention' to Rabelais. The date of the drawing ¡81537;! have found no earlier attempt to F I G U R E 3 Glossocomion or Glottocomon drawn by the art of Master François Rabelais, Doctor of Medicine. In this surgical instrument, the fractured leg was placed in a kind of trough, firmly attached by ropes which exerted tension by the winding of a single axis (a), to which all four ends of the two ropes (/) were fastened; b indicates the channel in which the tension is exerted, c a platform which keeps the patient's foot in position, d the reversed tension exerted on the upper part of the leg; and e the two pulleys by which the direction of the tension is reversed.