FT 07-R Frankenstein and Beyond: Intersections Between Science and Literature
Crystal Benedicks, Department of English
"The clashing point of two subjects, two disciplines, two cultures - of two galaxies, so far as that goes - ought to produce creative changes." -C.P. Snow, The Two Cultures
What happens when literature goes into the laboratory? From eighteenth-century researchers running electrical currents through cadavers to twentieth-century experiments with nuclear power, scientific explorations have had a profound impact on the way people think about the world and our place in it. In this class, we will focus on the intersections between literary and scientific ways of interpreting reality. While this is not specifically a science fiction course, we will study both the ways literary texts imagine science and the ways scientific writing incorporates elements of fiction. We will read a wide variety of texts from different genres and periods, including, among others, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Darwin's The Origin of Species, Tennyson's In Memoriam, Bertolt Brecht's Galileo, selections from modern science writing, and recent film version of Michael Frayn's new play about quantum physics, Copenhagen.