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|Title:||Sucking Divinity from the Flowers of Nature: Explorations of the natural historian's changing interactions with the community of the Church in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century fiction|
|Department:||English and Cultural Studies|
|Keywords:||English Language and Literature;English Language and Literature|
|Abstract:||<p>After battling savage beasts, wild storms, and his own fears, a shipwrecked man finally escapes his island prison by means of the flying machine he has constructed using his own ingenuity and bits of debris washed ashore. Francis Godwin, Robert Paltock, and Ralph Morris, in their respective narratives M<em>an in the Moon, The Life and Adventures of Peter Wilkins</em>, and <em>The Life and Astonishing Adventures of John Daniel</em>, build their narratives on variations of that plot. Their proto-science fiction texts, written in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, while intended to titillate and amaze their readers, also purposefully highlight the positive potential of experimental science. They respond to doubts and criticisms of the natural history espoused by people such as Francis Bacon, Thomas Sprat, and Robert Boyle, but satirized by authors like Jonathan Swift. Swift, in<em> Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World</em>, questions the claims of empirical scientists who aver that natural history can praise God and benefit society. Using their texts as laboratories and mixing religious imagery and metaphor with technological advancement, Godwin, Paltock, and Morris experiment with the potentialities and implications of science, concluding that the natural historian can be both a good Christian and an aid to his community. This project, therefore, delves into questions of science, community, and the Church in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, building on previous studies of actual natural historians, but focussing instead on fictional representations of Christian scientists.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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