Victorian Science and Literature Part II: Vol. 7: Science as Romance

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The romance of Victorian science could be found in switching on a new electrical light, inspecting an anthill, contemplating the heavens, visiting a panoramic show, or analysing a drop of water. The distant past, the potentially dystopian future, and the domestic environment were all written about and experienced as full of the spirits, forces, and wonders of nature and technology. This selection of extracts places fictional and non-fictional texts by well-known historical figures alongside little-known prose, poetry and songs. These writings demonstrate how dreams and visions, local folklore and Arabian fairytale, heroic adventuring and obsessive invention, star-crossed lovers and grisly monsters were exploited in capturing and presenting science as romance. ‘The fairyland of science’ became a focal point for Victorian science writing, sparking off the creation of new literary genres and the mutation of existing ones: late Victorian scientific romance itself grew out of experiments with fictional forms in more explicitly didactic forms of science writing, such as the popular devices of making nature ‘speak for herself’ or taking the reader on imaginary voyages.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPickering & Chatto
Number of pages420
ISBN (Print)978 1 84893 092 6
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2012

Bibliographical note

I am the sole editor of vol. 7 of an 8-volume anthology of rare primary sources under the title 'Victorian Science and Literature', general eds Gowan Dawson and Bernard Lightman. I am the author of the volume's introduction, the introductory essays to each of the texts collected in this book, and detailed endnotes.


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