Bridges to science fiction, Volume 1979 by George Edgar Slusser, George Robert Guffey, Mark Rose

By George Edgar Slusser, George Robert Guffey, Mark Rose

Ten new severe essays written for presentation on the first Eaton convention on technology Fiction and delusion Literature held 24–25 February 1979, on the college of California, Riverside. While serious dialogue of technological know-how fiction has turn into more and more refined up to now decade, there is still an inclination between a few academics and readers to think about technological know-how fiction as an autonomous phenomenon that exists unconnected to the mainstream of our cultural inheritance. those essays—by Harry Levin, Irving Babbitt Professor of Comparative Litera­ture at Harvard collage; Kent T. Kraft, Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature on the college of Georgia, Athens; Stephen Potts, author and teacher at San Diego nation Univer­sity; Gregory Benford, author and affiliate Professor of Physics on the college of California, Irvine; Robert Hunt, an editor at Glencoe Publishing; Eric S. Rabkin, Professor of English on the college of Michigan; Patrick Parrinder, teacher on the college of examining, England; Thomas Keeling, Lecturer in English on the collage of California, l. a.; Carl D. Malmgren, teacher on the college of Oregon, Eugene; and Thomas Hanzo, Professor of English and Chairman of the de­partment on the collage of California, Davis—suggest the connections that exist among technological know-how fiction and different features of Western cultural tradition. Ranging in curiosity from the particularly philosophical to the in particular literary, the essays relate technology fiction to such top­ics as medieval cosmological discourse, classical empirical phi­losophy, fairy story, epic, and Gothic fiction. rising from the quantity as a complete are either a coherent view of technology fiction as a style and a heightened experience of its complicated relation to our cultural history.

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Taking naturalism as his novelistic slogan was to intensify the rigor of his Page 11 philosophical determinism. In the mean time the Darwinian theory had intervened, and its anti-anthropocentric reductionism went even farther to undermine the status of human dignity than the astronomical reductions of the Renaissance. Theodore Dreiser's rising tycoon, Frank Cowperwood, learns the lessons of social Darwinism by watching an aquarium and musing: "Things lived by each otherthat was it. Lobsters lived on squid and other things.

Blake was voicing a mystical reaction to Newtonian rationalism; for, as Marjorie Nicolson has demonstrated in her monograph Newton Demands the Muse (the title being a quotation from a minor poet, Richard Glover), Newton's Opticks had profoundly affected the treatment of light and color in eighteenth-century English poetry. ) Goethe had wrong-headedly devised a color-theory of his own, challenging optical instruments and mathematical physics as well as Newton in person. " And in his preface to Lyrical Ballads he pledged that the poet would follow the man of science, whenever the latter's investigations led to a further enlargement of man's consciousness: The remotest discoveries of the Chemist, the Botanist, or Mineralogist, will be as proper objects of the Poet's art as any upon which it can be employed, if the time should ever come when these things shall be familiar to us, and the relations under which they are contemplated by the followers of these respective sciences shall be manifestly and palpably material to us as enjoying and respecting beings.

When Verne went on to deplore Poe's alcoholic tendencies, he failed to recognize that Poe's overemphasis on "ratiocination" was like the heavy drinker's effort to convince his sober interlocutors that he is in a rational frame of mind. It is ironicin view of such emotional Gallic responsesthat, when Poe came to portray his past master of deduction and cerebration, he could not make him other than a Frenchman: M. Auguste Dupin. For the mysteries Poe conjured up there would invariably be éclaircissements, practical solutions to his riddles, enigmas, and parlor tricks.

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