Sins Against Science: The Scientific Media Hoaxes of Poe, Twain, and Others

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New York 2006 Hardcover First Printing Very Good with no dust jacket 0791468771. Slight rubbing to board surface.; Suny Series, Studies in Scientific and Technical ... Communication; tall 8vo 9"-10" tall; 296 pages; Media (1 copy) studio (1 copy), black/white, fictcat soccat scicat tem. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Lynda Walsh explores a provocative era in American history-the proliferation of fake news stories about scientific and technological discoveries from 1830 to 1880. These hoaxes, which fooled thousands of readers, offer a first-hand look at an intriguing guerilla tactic in the historical struggle between arts and sciences in America. Focusing on the hoaxes of Richard Adams Locke, Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, and Dan De Quille, the author combines rhetorical hermeneutics, linguistic pragmatics, and reader-response theory to answer three primary questions: How did the hoaxes work? What were the hoaxers trying to accomplish? And-what is a hoax?

About the Author:
Lynda Walsh is Assistant Professor of English at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

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Meet the Author

Lynda Walsh is Assistant Professor of English at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.

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Table of Contents


List of Illustrations     vii
Acknowledgments     xi
Introduction     1
Previous Work     2
Relevance of Hoaxes to Current Scholarly Concerns     4
Chapter Summaries     15
A Brief Natural History of Hoaxing     17
Swift's Hoax and Satires     18
Parody     21
Nineteenth-Century Fraud, Tall Tales, and Science Fiction in America     23
Kairos     27
Method     35
The Traditional Genealogy     35
The Subversive Genealogy     39
Optimality Theory     42
Poe's Hoaxing and the Construction of Readerships     51
Overview of Poe's Scientific and Rhetorical Acculturation     52
The Contest between Hans Phaall and Locke's Moon Hoax: Revealing Reader Expectations     60
Collecting Reader Expectations     66
Ranking Reader Expectations     85
The Balloon-Hoax     90
"The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar"     97
"Von Kempelen and His Discovery"     102
Solutions to Problems in Poe Scholarship     107
Poe's Relationship to Science and to His Readership: How the Hoaxes Interact with Eureka     114
Mark Twain andthe Social Mechanics of Laughter     121
Rhetorical Acculturation     122
Scientific Acculturation     127
The Petrified Man     132
Adjusting the Filter of Expectations to Account for Twain's Hoaxing     154
Applying the Analysis to Problems in Twain Scholarship     157
Relationship of the Hoax to Twain's Scientific Thinking     161
The Social Mechanics of Laughter     166
The Hoaxes of Dan De Quille: Building and Defending the West     173
Rhetorical Acculturation     173
Scientific Acculturation     176
De Quille's Hoaxes     179
Summary of Reading Expectations Based on De Quille's Hoaxes     204
De Quille's Hoaxes Build and Defend His Ideal West     206
The Mechanics of Hoaxing     213
How Did the Hoaxes Work?     214
What Were the Hoaxers Trying to Accomplish?     215
The Hoax as a Machine     220
Tuning Up: The Hoax Then and Now     224
Conclusion: The Sokal Hoax     227
Exploiting the Conventions of the Cultural Studies Article     228
Sokal's Hoax Constructs Him as a Notorious Expert     232
The Hoax as a Computer Virus     235
How to Read Tables in Optimality Theory (OT)     241
What the Parts of the Table Mean     241
The Results of the Syllabification of/ans[epsilon]t/     242
Optimality Theory Applied to a Decision about a Hoax's Truth-Value     242
Reader Responses to the Moon Hoax     245
Notes     253
Glossary     275
Bibliography     279
Index     291
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