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Literature and Science in the Nineteenth…
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Literature and Science in the Nineteenth Century: An Anthology (Oxford… (edição 2009)

por Laura Otis

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'It has been said by its opponents that science divorces itself from literature; but the statement, like so many others, arises from lack of knowledge.' John Tyndall, 1874Although we are used to thinking of science and the humanities as separate disciplines, in the nineteenth century that division was not recognized. As the scientist John Tyndall pointed out, not only were science and literature both striving to better 'man's estate', they shared a common languageand cultural heritage. The same subjects occupied the writing of scientists and novelists: the quest for 'origins', the nature of the relation between society and the individual, and what it meant to be human. This anthology brings together a generous selection of scientific and literary material toexplore the exchanges and interactions between them. Fed by a common imagination, scientists and creative writers alike used stories, imagery, style, and structure to convey their meaning, and to produce work of enduring power.The anthology includes writing by Charles Babbage, Charles Darwin, Sir Humphry Davy, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Michael Faraday, Thomas Malthus, Louis Pasteur, Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Shelley, Mark Twain and many others, and introductions and notes guide the reader through the topic's manystrands.… (mais)
Membro:hansel714
Título:Literature and Science in the Nineteenth Century: An Anthology (Oxford World's Classics)
Autores:Laura Otis
Informação:Oxford University Press, USA (2009), Edition: Reissue, Paperback, 624 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:****1/2
Etiquetas:victorian studies

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Literature and Science in the Nineteenth Century: An Anthology (Oxford World's Classics) por Laura Otis

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An enjoyable anthology that will be a welcome resource in the future. In the introduction, Laura Otis writes that science and literature were much more intertwined in the 19th c. (p. xvii), something I think we've mostly lost. One had scientific papers with good writing that was accessible as well as a public dialogue between literature and science, with writers exploring the implications and ethics of the science. In addition to the brief introduction, each of the section introductions were amazing. One of the best was the introduction to "Sciences of the Body (pp. 130-5).

The text selections are broad and many, and some caught special attention from me. From the Science pieces, I enjoyed Proctor's "The Photographic Eyes of Science (1883) (p. 84). I was wowed reading an excerpt of Roentgen's original paper (1895) on the discovery of X-rays (p. 88). In our times of coronovirus, Oliver Wendell Holmes piece on "The Contagiousness of Puerperal Fever (1843) was quite good (pp. 177-181). There is a fascinating excerpt from Thomas de Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1822), especially useful during the present-day opiod crisis (pp. 331-4). An interesting piece on what I would call phantom limb syndrome was included from Mitchell's The Case of George Dedlow (1866) (p. 358-363). I can totally relate to Frances Power Cobbe's "Unconscious Cerebration: A Psychological Study" (1871) that suggests we can sometimes do our best work when we are asleep (pp. 424-7). Kekulé's "Address to the German Chemical Society" (1890) furthers this idea in that he explains how he came up with the structure of the benzene molecule: he had a dream about a snake swallowing its own tail (pp. 431-3)!

Of the Literature pieces, I liked Dickens's (1847-8) description of train travel from "Dombey and Son" (p. 116). I laughed out loud at George Eliot's Middlemarch (1871-2) excerpt: "A liberal education had of course left him free to read the indecent passages in the school classics" (p. 156)! Of course, I loved Poe's (1842) Mask of the Red Death (pp 171-7). I enjoyed H.G. Wells The Stolen Bacillus (1895), something I'd never read before (p. 197-203). May Kendall's poem "Lay of the Trilobite (1885) was really enjoyable (pp. 303-5). I liked the introduction from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (1813) (pp 306-8), even though I usually prefer the Brontës. I was also taken with Thomas Hardy's (1891) "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" (pp. 318-324). I may even pick up a copy of Mary Elizabeth Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret (1862) after reading an excerpt (pp. 353-8). Finally, I enjoyed the excerpt from Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), so much so that I might have to revisit my copy of the novel (pp. 521-5). ( )
  drew_asson | Dec 3, 2020 |
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'It has been said by its opponents that science divorces itself from literature; but the statement, like so many others, arises from lack of knowledge.' John Tyndall, 1874Although we are used to thinking of science and the humanities as separate disciplines, in the nineteenth century that division was not recognized. As the scientist John Tyndall pointed out, not only were science and literature both striving to better 'man's estate', they shared a common languageand cultural heritage. The same subjects occupied the writing of scientists and novelists: the quest for 'origins', the nature of the relation between society and the individual, and what it meant to be human. This anthology brings together a generous selection of scientific and literary material toexplore the exchanges and interactions between them. Fed by a common imagination, scientists and creative writers alike used stories, imagery, style, and structure to convey their meaning, and to produce work of enduring power.The anthology includes writing by Charles Babbage, Charles Darwin, Sir Humphry Davy, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Michael Faraday, Thomas Malthus, Louis Pasteur, Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Shelley, Mark Twain and many others, and introductions and notes guide the reader through the topic's manystrands.

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