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American scientists and their fictions: professional authorship and intellectual identity, 1870-1900

Vandome, Robin

Authors

Robin Vandome robin.vandome@nottingham.ac.uk



Abstract

Writers and critics in the Gilded Age United States frequently debated the relations between literature and science. A common contemporary interpretation of this relationship held that these two ways of knowing and writing were fundamentally opposed and that the advancement of science in American culture came at the expense of literary sensibilities. Nevertheless, and often as an effort to challenge this supposed opposition, many scientists also cultivated reputations as literary figures, and produced or planned diverse works ranging from travel-writing and novels to verse drama. Such authors as Clarence King, J. Peter Lesley, Simon Newcomb and Nathaniel Southgate Shaler sustained a hybrid literary-scientific culture in the late nineteenth-century. This interdisciplinary cultural zone was fragile and increasingly fractured by around 1900, as the emergence and consolidation of new categories of intellectual labour became increasingly wedded to the images of the “professional author” and the “scientist” as mutually exclusive identities. This article seeks to contribute to recurrent debates about the “two cultures” of literature and science by foregrounding the differentiation of these new forms of professional and intellectual identity as a decisive factor which constrained the possibility of a shared literary-scientific culture by the turn of the twentieth century.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Dec 13, 2017
Journal Journal of American Studies
Print ISSN 0021-8758
Electronic ISSN 1469-5154
Publisher Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Institution Citation Vandome, R. (2017). American scientists and their fictions: professional authorship and intellectual identity, 1870-1900. Journal of American Studies, doi:10.1017/S0021875817001852
DOI https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021875817001852
Keywords American intellectual history, history of science, science and literature, print culture, interdisciplinarity
Publisher URL https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-american-studies/article/american-scientists-and-their-fictions-professional-authorship-and-intellectual-identity-18701900/BCF1C1A2B2302F36D56238FD8130DF44
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf





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