Literature and Science: Social Impact and Interaction

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ABC-CLIO, 2005 - Literary Criticism - 471 pages
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A survey of the interaction between science and Anglo-American literature from the late medieval period to the 20th century, examining how authors, thinkers, and philosophers have viewed science in literary texts, and used science as a window to the future.
Spanning six centuries, this survey of the interplay between science and literature in the West begins with Chaucer's Treatise on the Astrolabe and includes commentary on key trends in contemporary literature.

Beginning with the birth of science fiction, the authors examine the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne as well as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein within the context of a wider analysis of the impact of major historical developments like the Renaissance, the scientific revolution, the Enlightenment, and Romanticism. The book balances readings of literature with explanations of the impact of key scientific ideas. Focusing primarily on British and American literature, the book also takes an informed but accessible approach to the history of science, with seminal scientific works discussed in a critical rather than overly theoretical manner.

  • Gives clear explanations of scientific ideas ranging from medieval cosmology to modern concepts in astronomy
  • Organizes the material in chronological order with a chronology and bibliographic essay accompanying each chapter

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164-65 su Rappaccini's Daughter


Science and Literature in the Elizabethan Renaissance
Science and Literature in SeventeenthCentury England
Science and Literature 16801790
The Response to Science
Geology and Evolution
Science and Literature in
Themes in Science Fiction
The Two Cultures Debates
Science Wars and Imperial Ambitions
A Time for Cultural Exchange
Chronology of Significant Events
Primary Source Documents
About the Editors

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Page 123 - Do not all charms fly At the mere touch of cold philosophy ? There was an awful rainbow once in heaven : We know her woof, her texture ; she is given In the dull catalogue of common things. Philosophy will clip an Angel's wings, Conquer all mysteries by rule and line, Empty the haunted air and gnomed mine — Unweave a rainbow, as it erewhile made The tender-person'd Lamia melt into a shade.
Page 42 - The heavens themselves, the planets, and this centre, Observe degree, priority, and place, Insisture, course, proportion, season, form, Office, and custom, in all line of order...
Page 43 - In the most high and palmy state of Rome, A little ere the mightiest Julius fell, The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets : As stars with trains of fire and dews of blood, Disasters in the sun, and the moist star, Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands, Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse...
Page 112 - And he gave it for his opinion, that whoever could make two ears of corn, or two blades of grass to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.
Page 57 - This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are sick in fortune, — often the surfeit of our own behaviour, — we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars: as if we were villains by necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on: an admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to...
Page 179 - Thou makest thine appeal to me : I bring to life, I bring to death : The spirit does but mean the breath: I know no more.
Page 178 - Are God and Nature then at strife, That Nature lends such evil dreams? So careful of the type she seems, So careless of the single life...
Page 354 - ... stand and to rest himself; if the moon should wander from her beaten way, the times and seasons of the year blend themselves by disordered and confused mixture, the winds breathe out their last gasp, the clouds yield no rain, the earth be defeated of heavenly influence, the fruits of the earth pine away as children at the withered breasts of their mother no longer able to yield them relief; what would become of man himself, whom these things now do all serve ? See we not plainly that obedience...
Page 143 - Science should ever create any material revolution, direct or indirect, in our condition, and in the impressions which we habitually receive, the Poet will sleep then no more than at present, but he will be ready to follow the steps of the Man of Science, not only in those general indirect effects, but he will be at his side, carrying sensation into the midst of the objects of the Science itself.
Page 56 - Thou, nature, art my goddess ; to thy law My services are bound : Wherefore should I Stand in the plague of custom ; and permit The curiosity of nations to deprive me, For that I am some twelve or fourteen moon-shines Lag of a brother?

About the author (2005)

John H. Cartwright is senior lecturer at the University of Chester, Chester, England and a historian of science.

Brian Baker, PhD, is senior lecturer in literature at the University of Chester, Chester, England and an authority on Anglo-American film and literature.

Bibliographic information