Virginia Woolf and the Discourse of Science: The Aesthetics of Astronomy

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9780521812979: Virginia Woolf and the Discourse of Science: The Aesthetics of Astronomy
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Holly Henry investigates how advances in astronomy in the early twentieth century had a shaping effect on Woolf's literature and aesthetics as well as on the work of modernist British writers including Vita Sackville-West, H. G. Wells, Olaf Stapledon, Bertrand Russell, and T. S. Eliot. The 1920s and 30s witnessed a pervasive public fascination with astronomy that extended from the US, where Edwin Hubble in 1923 definitively determined that entire galaxies existed beyond the Milky Way, to England, where London's intellectuals discussed Sir James Jeans's popular astronomy books and the newly explored expanses of space. In re-evaluating the cultural context out of which Modernism emerged, Henry contends that Woolf, through her own fascination with astronomy, formulated a global vision that helped shape her fiction and her pacifist politics. Henry's study includes examinations of scientific and literary archival material and sheds light on Woolf's texts and recent re-evaluations of Modernism.

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Review of the hardback: '... provides important new cultural and popular contexts in which to read Woolf'. Yearbook of English Studies

Review of the paperback: 'This enthralling and well-researched book sets Virginia Woolf and her work in the context of popular imaginings of astronomy, relativity, politics and social justice during the first third of the twentieth century. A particular strength of Holly Henry's work is her thoroughgoing archival research into James Jeans's papers and papers concerned with Edwin Hubble.' Virginia Woolf Bulletin

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Henry investigates how advances in astronomy in the early twentieth century had a shaping effect on Woolf's literature and aesthetics as well as on the work of other modernist British writers. Henry's study includes examinations of scientific and literary archival material and illuminates Woolf's texts.

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