Despite van Leeuwenhoek's observation in the mouth of an old man of "an unbelievably great company of living animalcules
," or bacteria, no connection had yet been made between them, or the other microorganisms he discovered, and human disease.
Microbiologist and science writer Dixon collects 69 of his columns from the American Society for Microbiology's Microbe; columns he has been publishing since 1996 under the title "Animalcules
" being the term used by 18th century microscopist Antony van Leeuwenhoek to describe the microbes he discovered).
With each answer, researchers move closer to creating a new breed of animalcules
to swim the microrealm.
Steele's rhetorically pronounced awe of nature reveals itself to be merely obligatory; his invective against "insects, reptiles, and animalcules
," continues a literary trope of devalued small "natural" (as opposed to commodified) objects.
But Emerson's revised argument is tricky: "Our planet," he writes, "before the age of written history, had its races of savages, like the generations of sour paste, or the animalcules
that wriggle and bite in a drop of putrid water.
His first observations on free living protozoa probably began with his discovery of little animals, or "animalcules
," in fresh water from a lake, which he recorded in a 1674 letter to the secretary of the Royal Society, Henry Oldenburg.
In the late 17th century, lens grinder Anton van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) observed that "animalcules
" appeared under the lens of the microscope he had invented.
(56) To comprehend this relation is perhaps to write a poem such as William Carlos Williams's Paterson, (57) which turns from life as "Rolling up, rolling up heavy with / numbers," "so that never in this / world will a man live well in his body / save dying--and not know himself/dying," to "shells and animalcules
/ generally and so to man, / to Paterson"--that is, to human life and identity as one with the place of a city and its history:
Phylum 1 Actinopoda ("Sun Animalcules
," Marine Planktic AxopodFormers)
However, DNA studies of these microminiature animalcules
is still in its infancy, and the pharmaceutical industry isn't talking.
Leaves by themselves seem to be animalcules
, shell-like in the ginkgo leaf, flame-like in the maple, given a gliding shape in the chestnut leaf, a sharp, quick one in the pine needle.