Since Stephen Greenblatt published Marvelous Possessions: The Wonder of the New World in 1991, a flurry of books has appeared that examine the responses of early modern spectators, readers, and thinkers to novelty. Often, novelties appear threatening or transgressive because they unsettle the pieties of conventional institutions. Roger Shattuck's Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography (1996), for example, rehearses the age-long tradition of sequestering or concealing information deemed unsuitable by conventional authorities for public consumption. Lorraine Daston and Katherine Park's Wonders and the Order of Nature (1998) traces the proximity that moral commentators detected of wonder to greed and lust, reprehensible appetites around strange phenomena. One of many case studies, Dennis Todd's relatively early Imagining Monsters: Miscreations of the Self in Eighteenth-Century England (1995) explores contemporary reactions to the surprising birth of seventeen and a half rabbits and parts of a cat...

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