Article ID: CBB000932146

Calculating the Limits of Poetic License: Fictional Narrative and the History of Mathematics (2007)

unapi

This essay seeks to clarify the role played by poetic license in the triangular relationship involving mathematics, the history of mathematics, and mathematics in fiction. This relationship can be analyzed, in the first place, from the perspective offered by the well-known Aristotelian distinction between history and poetry. It can also be analyzed from the point of view of the kind of language typically used in texts produced in each of these realms, or, alternatively, from the point of view of the nature of their expected audiences. It will be seen, however, that the most illuminating perspective for this analysis is the one related to the kind of attitude that is expected from the reader in each case, whether critical or based on a suspension of disbelief. To the considerations that pertain to this latter perspective when it comes to texts of any kind, the peculiarities of mathematical texts add some unique twists.

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Authors & Contributors
Maroscia, Paolo
Perrone Capano, Lucia
Lolli, Gabriele
Brown, Daniel Walter
Emerson, Lori
McCartney, Mark
Journals
Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology
19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century
British Society for the History of Mathematics Bulletin
Journal of Literature and Science
ELH: English Literary History
Science and Education
Publishers
UTET
Stanford University
University of California, Davis
Carocci Editore
Bollati Boringhieri
Peter Lang
Concepts
Science and literature
Poetry and poetics
Mathematics
Metaphors; analogies
Science and religion
Interdisciplinary approach to knowledge
People
Alighieri, Dante
Pound, Ezra Loomis
Maxwell, James Clerk
Shakespeare, William
Valéry, Paul
Milton, John
Time Periods
20th century
Medieval
19th century
20th century, late
21st century
20th century, early
Places
Italy
Germany
Prague (Czechia)
Hellenistic world
Egypt
Alexandria (Egypt)
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