Article ID: CBB718105396

Satire of Science in Charles Dickens's Mudfog Papers: The Institutionalization of Science and the Importance of Rhetorical Diversity to Scientific Literacy (2016)


This article presents an analysis of the satire of science contained in Dickens’s second and third Mudfog Papers. In these sketches, Dickens satirizes science by targeting the distance that is beginning to materialize between science and culture at large, science enthusiasts’ alleged lack of mental prowess, and the institutionalization of science, especially with regard to the science’s exaggerated sense of self-importance and its craving of governmental funding and legal intervention in support of science. Dickens pillories the institutionalization of science even as he champions the professionalization of literature and the arts; this apparent paradox is explored. Additionally, the incipient interdisciplinary conversation between artists and science enthusiasts that is contained in The Mudfog Papers is considered. Finally, the importance of the satire of science as an example of rhetorical diversity necessary to achieve scientific literacy within the context of science’s nascent institutionalization is discussed, as is the potential of the satire of science to help hold science accountable.

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Authors & Contributors
Frank, Lawrence
Winyard, Ben
Furneaux, Holly
Bown, Nicola
Connor, Steven
Parham, John
19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century
Victorian Literature and Culture
Journal of Medical Biography
Nineteenth-Century Contexts
History of Science
Virginia, University of
Palgrave Macmillan
Cambria Press
Pickering & Chatto
Stanford University
University of California, Santa Cruz
Science and literature
Popular culture
Dickens, Charles
Darwin, Charles Robert
Eliot, George
Poe, Edgar Allan
Doyle, Arthur Conan
Owen, Richard
Time Periods
19th century
Great Britain
Java (Indonesia)

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