Fact and Feeling: Baconian Science and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination
Focusing on the status of Francis Bacon and his inductive methodology, Smith shows that literary figures were involved, both directly and indirectly, in the effort to construct a methodology that would serve both science and literature by bringing together fact and feeling, reason and imagination. Smith opens with a historical overview of the debate that includes such figures as_ Samuel Coleridge, John Herschel, William Whewell, J.S. Mill, Thomas Macaulay, G.H. Lewes, John Tyndall, Stanley Jevons, and Karl Pearson. Then, in a series of chapters that spans the century, Smith examines the various and complex ways in which a wide range of writers reacted to and participated in this Baconian debate. From the prose of Wordsworth and Coleridge to the fantasy of Edwin Abbott's Flatland and the detective fiction of Arthur Conan Doyle, from the travel narrative of Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle to the art criticism of John Ruskin and the novels of George Eliot, Smith uncovers more convergence than divergence in nineteenth-century scientific and literary methods.
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