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Physics envy: American poetry and science in the Cold War and after

Physics envy: American poetry and science in the Cold War and after
Physics envy: American poetry and science in the Cold War and after
At the close of the Second World War, modernist poets found themselves in an increasingly scientific world, where natural and social sciences claimed exclusive rights to knowledge of both matter and mind. Following the overthrow of the Newtonian worldview and the recent, shocking displays of the power of the atom, physics led the way, with other disciplines often turning to the methods and discoveries of physics for inspiration.

In Physics Envy, Peter Middleton examines the influence of science, particularly physics, on American poetry since World War II. He focuses on such diverse poets as Charles Olson, Muriel Rukeyser, Amiri Baraka, and Rae Armantrout, among others, revealing how the methods and language of contemporary natural and social sciences—and even the discourse of the leading popular science magazine Scientific American—shaped their work. The relationship, at times, extended in the other direction as well: leading physicists such as Robert Oppenheimer, Werner Heisenberg, and Erwin Schrödinger were interested in whether poetry might help them explain the strangeness of the new, quantum world. Physics Envy is a history of science and poetry that shows how ultimately each serves to illuminate the other in its quest for the true nature of things.
9780226290003
Chicago University Press
Middleton, Peter
9f64f346-a05f-4e54-bbf4-600c87a2b237
Middleton, Peter
9f64f346-a05f-4e54-bbf4-600c87a2b237

Middleton, Peter (2015) Physics envy: American poetry and science in the Cold War and after , Chicago, US. Chicago University Press, 272pp.

Record type: Book

Abstract

At the close of the Second World War, modernist poets found themselves in an increasingly scientific world, where natural and social sciences claimed exclusive rights to knowledge of both matter and mind. Following the overthrow of the Newtonian worldview and the recent, shocking displays of the power of the atom, physics led the way, with other disciplines often turning to the methods and discoveries of physics for inspiration.

In Physics Envy, Peter Middleton examines the influence of science, particularly physics, on American poetry since World War II. He focuses on such diverse poets as Charles Olson, Muriel Rukeyser, Amiri Baraka, and Rae Armantrout, among others, revealing how the methods and language of contemporary natural and social sciences—and even the discourse of the leading popular science magazine Scientific American—shaped their work. The relationship, at times, extended in the other direction as well: leading physicists such as Robert Oppenheimer, Werner Heisenberg, and Erwin Schrödinger were interested in whether poetry might help them explain the strangeness of the new, quantum world. Physics Envy is a history of science and poetry that shows how ultimately each serves to illuminate the other in its quest for the true nature of things.

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Published date: November 2015
Organisations: English

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 377754
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/377754
ISBN: 9780226290003
PURE UUID: 9e731b19-f71d-47c5-9901-43dc33afc761

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Date deposited: 05 Jun 2015 13:08
Last modified: 11 Dec 2021 06:47

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