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Title: Space and knowledge in literary and scientific writing in Britain, c. 1815-1840
Author: Jenkins, A.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1999
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This dissertation advances a thesis about the ways in which British writers used and responded to concepts of space in the first part of the nineteenth century. It investigates the methods by which space is transformed into verbal representation. In the course of the argument I analyse how the abstract spaces which derive from but are independent of lived space are articulated discursively. The thesis uses source material from literature, science, and a variety of modes including travel narratives, popularisations of science, reviews and private journals. I select for examination texts which explicitly invoke and develop concepts of spatiality, rather than attempting to give a representative cross-section of English writing in the period. The Introduction places the dissertation within the spectrum of social, geographic and literary theory dealing with spatiality, particularly discussing the work of Lefebvre, Bachelard and Foucault, as well as more recent writers including Kathleen M. Kirby, Doreen Massey and Ernesto Laclau. Then the first part of the dissertation focuses on three major early nineteenth century writers on science: John Herschel, William Whewell and Michael Faraday. The first chapter within this part discusses early nineteenth century conceptions of the discourse suitable for writing about science, comparing the plain style and its claims to authenticity in both scientific and travel writing with allegorical or algebraic linguistic models. The next chapter focuses first on Whewell's account of space and its discursive possibilities in his Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences, and then on his spatially-metaphorical review of Mary Somerville's On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences. The third chapter in the first part of the dissertation examines Michael Faraday's development of a spatial terminology for electrolysis, and then discusses his travel writing as spatial production. The second part of the dissertation investigates particular spatial tropes and the textual productions and contextual knowledges associated with them.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available