In the hub-and-ray pattern, adopted by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in Biographia Literaria , the observer is placed at the centre of a series of radical lines each formed by items of knowledge. Each model constructs a different power relationship between the observer and the knowledge spread around or below them.
In her approach, the notion of space itself is broad and describes the scientific advances made around key issues such as atoms and molecules, and the nature of light, electricity, and magnetism. It uses contemporary poetry, essays, and fiction as well as scientific papers, textbooks, and journalism to give a new account of nineteenth-century literature's relationship with science. There are some problems with the book, mostly minor. It seems too simple to say that the increase of knowledge was the only driving force. Literature and the Physical Sciences in Britain, As Jenkins mentions p.
At a time when increasing specialization threatened the unity of the physical sciences, the spatial metaphor of nature as a homogeneous field was used by William Whewell and others to counter the notion that science could be carved up into artificial disciplinary areas. The separation of the physical sciences into discrete disciplines also presented challenges for those, like Mary Somerville, who wanted to keep the educated general reader informed about new developments in science.
Somerville, Jenkins argues, promoted the conception of an organic, holistic science without internal boundaries in her On the Connection of the Physical Sciences , which provided her with a means for making the relationship between scientific concepts in different fields more comprehensible. Here she looks at geometry and the concept of abstract space, the pure space of emptiness in physics, and representations of chaotic space in epic poetry. Geometry was a highly privileged form of discourse in the early nineteenth century. The ability of humans to use their powers of reasoning to obtain absolute truth gave geometry its special status.
Intellectuals, such as Coleridge and Whewell, saw geometry as offering access to a world of abstract space beyond the human and material world. But at the same time new theories about the relationship between matter and force led to a redefinition of physical space. Space was filled with forces interacting in complex patterns rather than with solid material bodies. Jenkins then shifts her focus from space as reliable, ordered and ideal to space as random, unstable and chaotic, concentrating on one literary genre. Here Jenkins explores Biblical epic poems, a virtually neglected aspect of early nineteenth-century literature.
She analyses Creation epics and their renderings of the space existing before the Creation of the earth. Was Chaos an unregulated, unharmonious mixture of qualities, as Milton had pictured it, or was it a radical emptiness, in accordance with new scientific theories? Biblical epic was an important site for working out the implications of controlling the flood of new information demanded by the new reading public p. First, what role did developments in the s, s and s play in the way literature and science interacted in the latter half of the century?
Around , she claims, the attempt to cope had been given up and literature and science settled into considering one another as different systems of knowledge that could not be mastered by a single individual.
linawycatuzy.gq: Space and the 'March of Mind': Literature and the Physical Sciences in Britain (): Alice Jenkins: Books. Space and the march of mind”, is the title of Alice Jenkins' latest captivating book “March of Mind” - Literature and the Physical Sciences in Britain,
By framing the situation in this way, Jenkins has given great weight to the impact of increasing specialization. But her book generally demonstrates that the boundaries between science and literature in the second quarter of the nineteenth century were quite permeable.
How did the development of new concepts of space contribute specifically to the specialization process? It seems too simple to say that the increase of knowledge was the only driving force. Second, Jenkins declares that mid-nineteenth-century field theories, and their concept of how bodies affect other bodies in space, could provide a useful means of describing the interrelations between elements in the complex systems of novels in the latter half of the century.
Middlemarch , she asserts, was the first great artistic expression of a sensibility influenced by field theory.
By purchasing, you will be able to view this book online, as well as download it, for the chosen number of days. A downloadable version of this book is available through the eCampus Reader or compatible Adobe readers. Add to Cart Free Shipping. We're Sorry Sold Out. Summary This book is about the idea of space in the first half of the nineteenth century.
It uses contemporary poetry, essays, and fiction as well as scientific papers, textbooks, and journalism to give a new account of nineteenth-century literature's relationship with science. In particular it brings the physical sciences--physics and chemistry--more accessibly and fully into the arena of literary criticism than has been the case until now. Writers whose work is discussed in this book include many who will be familiar to a literary audience including Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Hazlitt , some well-known in the history of science including Faraday, Herschel, and Whewell , and a raft of lesser-known figures.
Alice Jenkins draws a new map of the interactions between literature and science in the first half of the nineteenth century, showing how both disciplines were wrestling with the same central political and intellectual concerns--regulating access to knowledge, organizing knowledge in productive ways, and formulating the relationships of old and new knowledges.
Space has become a subject of enormous critical interest in literary and cultural studies. Space and the 'March of Mind'gives a wide-ranging account of how early nineteenth-century writers thought about--and thoughtwith--space.
Burgeoning mass access to print culture combined with rapid scientific development to create a crisis in managing knowledge.