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date: 20 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the genre of the scientific romance and its relationship with scientific knowledge and with literary modernism. It does so by focusing on depictions of the moon by Mark Wicks, H. G. Wells, Garrett P. Serviss, Charles Hannan, and G. H. Ryan. These are situated within a broader context of literary and scientific thinking about the moon in order to interrogate the idea—put forward by Jean-Paul Sartre and Marjorie Nicholson—that increasing scientific knowledge of the moon tends to dispel its mythical and poetic power. It is instead argued that scientific knowledge and the literary imagination coexist and at times feed one another. Moreover, despite a tendency in conventional literary histories to position the scientific romance outside modernism, the chapter shows how the depiction of the moon in a modernist text—the ‘Ithaca’ episode of Joyce’s Ulysses—reveals essential similarities with the scientific romances under discussion.

Keywords: scientific romance, science fiction, H. G. Wells, James Joyce, selenography, lunar photography, modernism

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