"Inter inextricabiles... difficultatum tenebras": Ficino's Pimander and the Gendering of Cartesian Subjectivity

Michael Keefer


After reviewing the evidence that Descartes' philosophical itinerary was to a significant degree shaped by a reading of the Hermetic writings translated by Ficino, this article proposes that, in the Cartesian and Hermetic texts alike, the body from which an emergent autonomous subjectivity seeks to separate itself is gendered female. Some of the implications of this argument are explored through a reading of Marvell's poem "The Garden," which is seen here as a parallel response to the Hermetic texts.

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