Instructor: Elisabeth Sheffield
“There is no science without fancy and no art without fact.” (Vladimir Nabokov)
In this course, we will examine the emerging form of the science novel—that is, the serious literary novel that takes as its subject matter the complex relationships between scientific knowledge and the people who produce, use and are affected by it. Some examples of the science novel that we may read in this course include Susan Gaines’ Carbon Dreams, Ian McKewan’s Solar, Lily King’s Euphoria, Simon Mawer’s Mendel’s Dwarf, Rebecca Goldstein’s Properties of Light and Allegra Goodman’s Intuition. We will consider the kinds of stories such novels tell about science and also how these representations might contribute to contemporary debates about and perceptions of science (e.g. climate change). But we will also think about these novels as work of art in themselves, and contemplate the aesthetic possibilities scientific concepts and discourse offer to fiction writers for creating new literary worlds. Students in this course will have the opportunity to write science stories of their own, potentially sharing them in a workshop format during the last weeks of the course.
Repeatable: Repeatable for up to 6.00 total credit hours.
Requisites: Restricted to students with 57-180 credits (Juniors or Seniors).
Additional Information:Arts Sci Gen Ed: Distribution-Arts Humanities
Departmental Category: Critical Studies in English