Chapter

Epilogue: New Mythologies of the Ancient Earth

in The Earth on Show

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2008 | ISBN: 9780226616681
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226616704 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226616704.003.0012
Epilogue: New Mythologies of the Ancient Earth

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This chapter presents some concluding thoughts from the author, beginning with a review of late Victorian narratives of earth history. It then discusses how the historical significance of early Victorian geological writing goes beyond questions of literary influence or of how the ancient earth was imagined. Geology became so popular among the British middle classes that it came to be seen as the paradigmatic science, the yardstick by which other disciplines measured their scientific rigor and imaginative power. Exploring the uses of narrative devices and literary forms in the production of scientific knowledge offers historians a powerful conceptual tool for understanding the rise of public science, and offers scientists the means to cultivate a higher level of self-awareness when constructing scenarios and hypotheses.

Keywords: public science; literary forms; scientific writing; geology; Victorian geological writing

Chapter.  8005 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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