Book ID: CBB161989848

Victorian Contingencies: Experiments in Literature, Science, and Play (2021)


Choi, Tina Young (Author)

Stanford University Press

Publication Date: 2021
Physical Details: 264
Language: English

Contingency is not just a feature of modern politics, finance, and culture―by thinking contingently, nineteenth-century Britons rewrote familiar narratives and upended forgone conclusions. Victorian Contingencies shows how scientists, novelists, and consumers engaged in new formal and material experiments with cause and effect, past and present, that actively undermined routine certainties. Tina Young Choi traces contingency across a wide range of materials and media, from newspaper advertisements and children's stories to well-known novels, scientific discoveries, technological innovations. She shows how Charles Lyell and Charles Darwin reinvented geological and natural histories as spaces for temporal and causal experimentation, while the nascent insurance industry influenced Charles Babbage's computational designs for a machine capable of responding to a contingent future. Choi pairs novelists George Eliot and Lewis Carroll with physicist James Clerk Maxwell, demonstrating how they introduced possibility and probability into once-assured literary and scientific narratives. And she explores the popular board games and pre-cinematic visual entertainments that encouraged Victorians to navigate a world made newly uncertain. By locating contingency within these cultural contexts, this book invites a deep and multidisciplinary reassessment of the longer histories of causality, closure, and chance.

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Authors & Contributors
Ratcliff, Jessica
Merchant, Carolyn
Jenkins, Alice
Naylor, Simon
Nickelsen, Kärin
Grasshoff, Gerd
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Royal Historical Society. Transactions
Perspectives on Science
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
History Ireland
Pickering & Chatto
Liverpool University Press
Pantheon Books
Anthem Press
University of Chicago Press
Duke University
Science and society
Science and culture
Experiments and experimentation
Science and literature
Darwin, Charles Robert
Bacon, Francis, 1st Baron Verulam
Faraday, Michael
Herschel, William
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft
Herschel, Caroline
Time Periods
19th century
18th century
20th century, early
17th century
Great Britain
London (England)
Dublin (Ireland)
United States
Royal Geographical Society

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