Artful Experiments: Ways of Knowing in Victorian Literature and Science

Artful Experiments: Ways of Knowing in Victorian Literature and Science

by Philipp Erchinger


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What is the connection between Victorian writing and experiment? Artful Experiments seeks to answer this question by approaching the field of literature and science in a way that is not so much centred on discourses of established knowledge as it is on practices of investigating what is no longer or not yet knowledge. The book assembles various modes of writing, from poetry and sensation fiction to natural history and philosophical debate, reading them as ways of knowing or structures in the making, rather than as containers of accomplished arguments or story worlds. Entwining innovative readings of the works of George Eliot, Robert Browning, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Wilkie Collins and William Morris, alongside in-depth studies of philosophical and scientific texts by writers such as John S. Mill, William Whewell, Thomas H. Huxley, George H. Lewes, F. Max Müller and Edward B. Tylor, Artful Experiments explicates and re-conceives the relations between the arts and the sciences, experience and language as well as practice and theory. For many Victorians, the book argues, experimentation was just as integral to the making of literature as writing was integral to the making of science.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781474438957
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Publication date: 12/01/2018
Series: Edinburgh Critical Studies in Victorian Culture Series
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 6.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Philipp Erchinger is senior lecturer in the Department of English and American Studies at the University of Düsseldorf, Germany.

Table of Contents

Series Editor's Preface vi

Acknowledgements viii

Introduction: Experiment and the Art of Writing 1

1 The Art of Science: Nineteenth-Century Theory and the Logic of Practice 17

2 Learning by Experiment: T. H. Huxley and the Aesthetic Nature of Education 47

3 Following the Actors: G. H. Lewes's and George Eliot's Studies in Life 76

4 Steps Towards an Ecology of Experience: Empiricism, Pragmatism and George Eliot's The Spanish Gypsy 107

5 Speech in Action: Victorian Philology and the Uprooting of Language 139

6 William Morris's 'Work-Pleasure': Literature, Science and Fine Art 163

7 Robert Browning's Experiment: Composition and Communication in The Ring and the Book 186

8 The Making of Sensation Fiction 216

Clothing Matter Thomas Carlyle's Sartor Resartus 259

Bibliography 272

Index 297

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