Open Fields: Science in Cultural Encounter

Front Cover
Science always raises more questions than it can contain. These challenging essays explore how ideas are transformed as they come under the stress of unforeseen readers. Using a wealth of material from diverse nineteenth- and twentieth-century writing, Gillian Beer tracks encounters between science, literature, and other forms of emotional experience. Her analysis discloses issues of chance, gender, nation, and desire. A substantial group of essays centres on Darwin and the incentives of his thinking, from language theory to his encounters with Fuegians. Other essays include Hardy, Helmholtz, Hopkins, Clerk Maxwell, and Woolf. The collection throws a different light on Victorian experience and the rise of modernism, and engages with current controversies about the place of science in culture.
 

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Contents

Touch Sight
13
Can the Native Return?
31
Travel Narratives
55
Relativism and Authority
71
Darwin and the Growth of Language Theory
95
Interdisciplinary Stories
115
Problems of Description in the Language of Discovery
149
Translation or Transformation? The Relation
173
Parable Professionalization and Literary Allusion
196
Victorian Solar Physics
219
Leaps
242
Lots Sorts and Futures
273
I3 Wave Theory and the Rise of Literary Modernism
295
Chemistry
321
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About the author (1996)

Gillian Beer is Emeritus Professor of English Literature at the University of Cambridge.

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