“Jenny Davidson’s new book of cultural criticism, entitled Breeding: A Partial History of the Eighteenth Century, is one of the strangest and most elliptical works of its kind I’ve ever read.”—Joseph Kugelmass
“After challenging the reader’s expectations about the forms of scholarly inquiry, the book [Breeding] nevertheless ends up reaffirming some very traditional notions about why historical scholarship is not only useful, but necessary.”—Miriam Burstein
“In its close attention to the nuances of language, rhetoric, and historical change, this book opposes itself to the broader, more continuously narrated accounts of the nature/culture divide found in the history of science, cultural studies and critical theory. Whether she has left these rival accounts behind, however, or simply swerved around them, remains to be seen.”—Scott Eric Kaufman
The above quotes are just some of the reactions to Jenny Davidson’s Breeding: A Partial History of the Eighteenth Century, the subject of what has become a very lively discussion/book event over at The Valve.
Many of the responses to Breeding have focused on Davidson’s methodology and the literariness of her scholarship. Thus, John Holbo has viewed her work in light of Franco Moretti’s Graphs, Maps, Trees while Miriam Burstein reads Breeding in light of Davidson’s novel Heredity.
There are still a few days left to the discussion and we’ll post more about it soon. For more on Breeding, you can read the book’s introduction and you might also want to visit, Jenny Davidson’s always-entertaining blog Light Reading.