The microscope’s technical capabilities and uses expanded dramatically in the early nineteenth century, when it emerged as an important tool for medical education and played a key role in the development of the cell theory, among other advancements. Focusing on the decades surrounding this crucial period, Jutta Schickore weaves a fascinating story of microscopy by tracing the entwined history of the eye and the optical instrument.
Concentrating on Great Britain and the German lands—home to the period’s most significant developments in microscopy—The Microscope and the Eye examines debates about such subjects as the legitimacy of human trespassing on the microcosm and the nature of light. Schickore also explores the microscope’s role in investigations of the finer structure of the eye and the workings of nerve fibers and the microscopists’ reflections on vision, illusion, artifacts, and the merits of instruments. Fully considering the epistemological, metaphysical, and methodological implications of this centuries-old relationship, The Microscope and the Eye will be an important contribution to the history of the life sciences, vision studies, and scientific methodology.