Cover image for Encyclopedia of literature and science
Encyclopedia of literature and science
Gossin, Pamela.
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xxiv, 575 pages ; 25 cm
Reading Level:
1410 Lexile.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN55 .E53 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



Science and literature have always been strange bedfellows. Like puzzle pieces, they fit because they're different. Some of the greatest works of world literature have been inspired by the marvels of the scientific world. Scientists have written works of the imagination. Even formal scientific writings have been known to employ rhetoric. There is a tendency to think of literature--and the humanities in general--as having little to do with science. Yet scholars have conducted fruitful studies of the history and philosophy of science. With the rise of technology, scholars have also applied scientific analysis to the study of literature and the creative process. The intersection of scientific and humanistic inquiry is finally being mapped. This volume includes more than 650 A-Z entries on topics and themes in science and literature, significant writers, key scientists, seminal works, and important theories and methodologies.

This reference defines the rapidly emerging interdisciplinary field of literature and science. An introductory essay traces the history of the field, its growing reputation, and the current state of research. Broad in scope, the volume covers world literature from its beginnings to the present day and illuminates the role of science in literature and literary studies. A wide range of experts contributed entries to this volume, each of which concludes with a brief bibliography. The entire volume closes with a list of works for further reading.

Author Notes

PAMELA GOSSIN is Associate Professor of Arts and Humanities at The University of Texas at Dallas.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

As stated in the preface, the purpose of this book "is to introduce the emergent field of interdisciplinary literature and science (LS) studies to those just discovering it and provide a ready reference tool for those already working in a specific area." There are more than 650 alphabetically arranged entries, varying in length from 50 to 3,500 words and covering a wide range of topics: themes (Astronomy, Dystopias, Environment); writers (Asimov, Isaac; Milton, John); scientists (Feynman, Richard Philips; Kepler, Johannes); theories (Darwinism, Poststructuralism); and more. Among the longer entries (two to three pages) are Anthropology/psychology/sociology; Culture; History of science; and Literary representations of the scientist. Literary topics are discussed in terms of their relationship to science, and scientific topics in terms of their relationship to literature. Cross-references abound. Each entry is signed, and most have a brief bibliography. An extensive general bibliography includes works used to compose the entries and titles for further reading. The intended audience is "undergraduate college and university students and their instructors," so although the volume is meant as an introduction, the language can be quite technical. Young adult authors such as Madeleine L'sEngle and William Sleator have been excluded--perhaps they have not yet been absorbed into the LS field. Literature and science traditionally come together in the science fiction genre, but this volume shows that the two disciplines merge in other, diverse ways. Most academic libraries will need a copy of this encyclopedia, and large public libraries should consider adding it to their collections.

Choice Review

The interdisciplinary field of literature and science (also embracing technology) is not academically delineated or defined. Its practitioners engage in diverse critical or literary enterprises that explore culture through multidisciplinary approaches. The field has recorded its identity and scope by establishing the Society for Literature and Science, publishing Publication of the Society for Literature and Science: PSLS (1985-91) and Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science and Technology (1993- ), and issuing a bibliography, The Relations of Literature and Science: An Annotated Bibliography of Scholarship, 1880-1980, ed. by Walter Schatzberg et al. (1987) with annual supplements in Configurations. This encyclopedia is intended primarily for undergraduates and instructors exploring the interrelations of the humanities and sciences. Its 650 signed entries range in length from 50 to 3,500 words on topics and themes linking science and literature, significant writers and scientists, seminal works, and important theories and methodologies. The 100 contributors were selected for professional expertise and activity, and for broad representation of topics, methodologies, and cultural backgrounds. The range of topics is evident in such entries as "alterity" (duality or otherness), "biophilia," "cyberpunk," "noosphere" (next evolutionary stage of the biosphere), "discontinuity," "popularization," and "thought experiments." Entries also provide brief bibliographies, generally of major book-length studies. Ample cross-references and an index help readers broaden or narrow topics and identify intersections and relationships. Content is rigorously selective, so some expected topics lack full entries ("cryptography," "identity"), yet the volume is valuable and needed for its intended audience and helps structure the limits of a boundary-defying field. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. College and university libraries as an undergraduate and teaching resource. J. A. Adams-Volpe SUNY at Buffalo

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Introduction Literature and Science as Discipline and Professionp. xv
Referencesp. xxiv
Ap. 1
Bp. 39
Cp. 60
Dp. 98
Ep. 117
Fp. 150
Gp. 164
Hp. 179
Ip. 204
J-Kp. 217
Lp. 223
Mp. 267
Np. 293
Op. 312
Pp. 318
Qp. 364
Rp. 367
Sp. 399
Tp. 454
Up. 480
Vp. 486
Wp. 495
X-Zp. 505
Selected Bibliographyp. 509
Indexp. 515
About the Contributorsp. 571