Science and American Literature in the 20th and 21st Centuries: From Henry Adams to John Adams

Editor Maniez, Clare et al
Year 2012
Publisher Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
ISBN 9781443835190
Number of pages 220


Amazon (2013): Since its origin, American literature has always had an uneasy relationship with science: born at a time when science was becoming a profession, it repeatedly referred to it, implicitly or explicitly, in order to assert its difference or, on the contrary, to gain a certain form of legitimacy. The purpose of this book is to show how scientific discourse informs literary writing, and to consider the relationship the two types of discourse have maintained: mutual metaphorization, questioning or legitimating. Focusing on the literary production of the United States in the 20th and 21st centuries, the book is organized in four parts: the first one, which concerns the works of Henry Adams and Thomas Pynchon, examines the way in which literature writes a history of science; the second deals with the relationship between literature and the developing field of neurosciences, first from a theoretical perspective, then through the study of science-fiction novels; the third one includes essays which, one way or another, raise the issue of the ethics of science and offer a literary answer to the dilemmas raised by scientific progress; the two essays in the last part analyze how digital technology has influenced recent American writing and the consequences of this new mode on reading procedures.