Literature and Science – Simon James reflects on Mechanical Diggers, Scalpels, Spades and the flow of ideas between ‘the two cultures’

“It is a curious paradox…that when writers in the Arts and Humanities incorporate science into their work, sometimes they fail to apply the same combination of rigour and scepticism that we bring to history, philosophy or aesthetic artefacts in our own disciplines. A scientific ‘fact’ can become an idée fixe that subjugates all the other components, a sword to cut through the Gordian knots of literary production and consumption.”

Simon James is a Senior Lecturer in Victorian Literature in the Department of English Studies at Durham University, and an affiliate of the Centre for Medical Humanities. This  essay, originally published in The Grove, appears in full on Durham’s Celebrate Science blog,where you can also read Linda Gillard’s conversation with Professor Tom McLeish about What Makes a Good Writer and What Makes a Good Scientist.

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