Thesis ID: CBB001567589

A Universe of Forces: Energy in Early Twentieth-Century Theory and Literature (2014)


Badia, Lynn Ann (Author)

Curtain, Tyler
Grossberg, Lawrence
Curtain, Tyler
Thrailkill, Jane F
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Grossberg, Lawrence
Curtain, Tyler
Lenoir, Timothy
Taylor, Matthew A.
Thrailkill, Jane F
Grossberg, Lawrence
Lenoir, Timothy
Taylor, Matthew A.

Publication Date: 2014
Edition Details: Advisor: Grossberg, Lawrence, Curtain, Tyler; Committee Members: Grossberg, Lawrence, Curtain, Tyler, Lenoir, Timothy, Taylor, Matthew A., Thrailkill, Jane F.
Physical Details: 202 pp.
Language: English

Focusing on the historical conjuncture at the turn of the twentieth century, this dissertation examines how theorists in the humanities and social sciences were engaging with energetics and thermodynamic theory in their work. Following the radical developments of nineteenth-century physics, philosophers, sociologists, and literary authors reconceived "non-material" phenomena (mind, society, culture) as part of the natural world through related concepts of energy, force, vibration, and rhythm. An energetic materialism emerged in which theorists reimagined matter as energy and contended with the dynamic relationships this ontology implied. While dynamic and developmental accounts of nature are often associated with evolutionary theory in the nineteenth century, this study demonstrates that the science of energy contributed equally to a metaphysics of transformation. Both philosophical and literary naturalism are considered in this analysis with a focus on Henri Bergson's theory of mind and matter, Emile Durkheim's theory of the social, Henry Adams's theory of history, and Jack London's aesthetics of force and rhythm. In each case, important developments in twentieth-century thought emerged as revised notions of matter and interaction were elaborated in a new discourse of energetic materialism.


Description Cited in Dissertation Abstracts International-A 76/01(E), Jul 2015. Proquest Document ID: 1622898873.

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Authors & Contributors
Pohl Valero, Stefan
Laidler, Keith James
Emch, Gérard G.
Chuang, Liu
Cotterrell, Roger B. M.
Cuddy, Lois A.
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Transactions - Newcomen Society for the Study of the History of Engineering and Technology
Canadian Journal of History
Revue d'Histoire des Sciences
Victorian Literature and Culture
Oxford University Press
Edinburgh University Press
Bucknell University Press
MIT Press
Editorial Universidad Javeriana
Energy (physics)
Science and literature
Philosophy of science
London, Jack
Durkheim, Émile
Planck, Max
Howells, William Dean
Ward, Lester Frank
Mach, Ernst
United States
Great Britain
19th century
20th century, early
Great Britain. Royal Navy

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