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Title: Cuvier in context : literature and science in the long nineteenth century
Author: Keeling, Charles Paul
ISNI:       0000 0004 6062 3496
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2017
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This study investigates the role and significance of Cuvier's science, its knowledge and practice, in British science and literature in the first half of the nineteenth century. It asks what the current account of science or grand science narrative is, and how voicing Cuvier changes that account. The field of literature and science studies has seen healthy debate between literary critics and historians of science representing a combination of differing critical approaches. This study asks whether we can continue work to synthesise historicist and formalist approaches, and suggests using a third narrative based approach to achieve a full complement of methodological tools. This in turn should provide more nuanced critical readings. In certain novels it has allowed me to shift the focus on literature and science enquiry to different decades. This study looks for “science stories” from scientific discourses in The Last Man, The Mill on the Floss and Bleak House. I have demonstrated the centrality of Cuvier to British science in the first half of the nineteenth century and that science's role as a model for the natural and human world, as well as informing the unstable systems of narrative characteristic of the novel genre and form. Cuvier's Essay initiated a lasting period of scientific centrality and legitimacy in British science and representation in British novels. His law of correlations applied to geology made his science both an important narrative and analogous to the empirical truth-seeking mode of the novel. The paleontological process becomes both a model for organic unity in Victorian fiction and a mode of narrative production. Cuvier's science and its discourse both produce and are reproduced in nineteenth century novels.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PR4000 19th century ; 1770/1800-1890/1900 ; Q Science (General)