Literature and science

David Amigoni

in Interventions

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print August 2017 | ISBN: 9781784995102
Published online January 2018 | e-ISBN: 9781526128287 | DOI:

Series: Interventions Rethinking the Nineteenth Century

Literature and science

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In this chapter David Amigoni focuses on Arnold Bennett’s essay entitled 'The Rising Storm of Life' written for the popular magazine T.P's Weekly in 1907. While there has emerged a canon of Victorian literature and science writers, shaped substantially by the work of Gillian Beer and George Levine and their focus on Darwin, a focus on Bennett's essay permits a concentration on the retrospective and prospective moods that structured the self-conscious end of century transition. Bennett's essay enables a reconsideration of science's contribution to the experience of modernity through technological development and the harnessing of energy sciences (the work of Crosbie Smith on 'North British' science is also considered). The relative impacts of evolutionary thinkers is also explored, and Bennett's sense of the importance of Herbert Spencer's evolutionism provides an opportunity to discuss some of the revisionist work that has appeared on Spencer (from Thomas Dixon and Chris Renwick), to balance against the dominance of Darwin. Finally, Bennett's use of the popular essay/popular magazine format provides an opportunity to review developments in the 'history of the book', and contributions to Victorian literature and science studies, from the work of James Secord to the work of Gowan Dawson

Keywords: Arnold Bennett; Science; Herbert Spencer; Charles Darwin

Chapter.  7535 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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