Title: Listening to the Silence: Huxley, Arnold and H. G. Wells’ Scientific Humanity
Authors: Vanvelk, Jan # ×
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Series Title: Victoriographies vol:5 issue:1 pages:72-93
Abstract: H. G. Wells’ writings from the first few years of the twentieth century inherit a discourse on literature and science that can be traced back to the Victorian debate between Thomas Henry Huxley and Matthew Arnold. The legacy of this dispute that permeates Wells’ texts here under investigation lies in the biological metaphors that are deployed to imagine the human as a partaker of humanity in general. The scientific education propagated by Wells crucially engages with the language of the beautiful, the politics of civilisation projects, and the role of fictional and non-fictional texts as devices of social action. Recognising the strong sense in these texts that they could serve as tools for the formation of humanity as the prime agent of science, this article seeks to examine ‘humanity’ as a term denoting both the audience for and the achievement of the public intellectual’s prophetic vision for the future.
ISSN: 2044-2416
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Text and Interpretation, Leuven (-)
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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