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Science, Reading, and Renaissance Literature

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Table of Contents

List of figures; Acknowledgements; Introduction: making early modern science and literature; 1. Model worlds: Philip Sidney, William Gilbert and the experiment of worldmaking; 2. From embryology to parthenogenesis: the birth of the writer in Edmund Spenser and William Harvey; 3. Reading through Galileo's telescope: Johannes Kepler's dream for reading knowledge; 4. Books written of the wonders of these glasses: Thomas Hobbes, Robert Hooke and Margaret Cavendish's theory of reading; Afterword: fiction and the Sokal hoax; Notes; Index.

About the Author

Elizabeth Spiller is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at the Department of English, Texas Christian University. She has published in a number of journals including Renaissance Quarterly, Criticism, Studies in English Literature, and Modern Language Quarterly.


'Nowadays, we tend to think of science and literature as two cultures which have little in common, but Elizabeth Spiller's excellent study, Science, Reading, and Renaissance Literature, explores an age when these disciplines were united by a 'shared aesthetics of knowledge'. Spiller skilfully dismantles our current assumption that 'literature is fiction and science is fact', arguing that early modern writers understood that 'knowledge involves form as well as content ... Spiller's perceptive parallel readings of texts usually kept separate is a valuable addition to scholarship on the early modern period, as well as to the study of science and literature.' Times Literary Supplement 'Original, learned and compelling. Spiller's superb discussion of Cavendish places her appropriately in very serious company.' Studies in English Literature '... richly-documented pages, written in a clear and pleasant style ...' Cahiers Elisabethains '... a rewarding contribution to the intersections between literature and natural philosophy. ... powerful and rewarding, in large part thanks to her striking combinations of authors within chapters and her vigorous readings of a wide range of texts.' Minerva

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