Strange Science: Investigating the Limits of Knowledge in the Victorian Age

Front Cover
Lara Karpenko, Shalyn Claggett
University of Michigan Press, 2017 - Literary Criticism - 293 pages
The essays in Strange Science examine marginal, fringe, and unconventional forms of scientific inquiry, as well as their cultural representations, in the Victorian period. Although now relegated to the category of the pseudoscientific, fields like mesmerism and psychical research captured the imagination of the Victorian public. Conversely, many branches of science now viewed as uncontroversial, such as physics and botany, were often associated with unorthodox methods of inquiry. Whether ultimately incorporated into mainstream scientific thought or categorized by 21st century historians as pseudo- or even anti-scientific, these sciences generated conversation, enthusiasm, and controversy within Victorian society.
To date, scholarship addressing Victorian pseudoscience tends to focus either on a particular popular science within its social context or on how mainstream scientific practice distinguished itself from more contested forms. Strange Science takes a different approach by placing a range of sciences in conversation with one another and examining the similar unconventional methods of inquiry adopted by both now-established scientific fields and their marginalized counterparts during the Victorian period. In doing so, Strange Science reveals the degree to which scientific discourse of this period was radically speculative, frequently attempting to challenge or extend the apparent boundaries of the natural world. This interdisciplinary collection will appeal to scholars in the fields of Victorian literature, cultural studies, the history of the body, and the history of science.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Introduction Lara Karpenko and Shalyn Claggett
1
New Frontiers in the Natural World
17
Rethinking Physiology
103
Reconceptualizing the Physical Universe
179
Contributors
279
Index
285
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2017)

Lara Karpenko is Associate Professor of English at Carroll University.
Shalyn Claggett is Associate Professor of English at Mississippi State University.

Bibliographic information