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FRANKENSTEIN 2018: DOSCIENTOS AÑOS EN LA HISTORIA DE LA CIENCIA
“Frankenstein on Ice: the Novel and Arctic Exploration”
a càrrec Tim Fulford (De Montfort University)
Dijous 17 de maig de 2018 a les 19h a l’Institut d’Estudis Catalans (C/Carme 47, Barcelona)
This talk will investigate Frankenstein in the context of early 19th century literature and science concerning an Arctic that was, for the first time, predictably attainable—a technologised Arctic near enough to reached and subjected to experiment, an Arctic from which measurement might expel superstitious belief. But my purpose is also to ask what happened when the results didn’t meet temperate norms—when the Arctic confounded the disbelief induced by scientific instruments, when it refused to be comprehended by the calibrated scales. Because of its simultaneous availability and resistance to empirical knowledge, it became uncanny—an external representative of the fear and desire buried within the scientific culture of mensuration. It was rendered alien, other, opposed, extreme because it signified the thrilling anxiety that science needed to expel from within itself—the anxiety that nature might always slip from its grasp, elude the record, escape its power. It has remained fascinating in the European cultural imaginary for this reason—our Other, embodying our fear but also longing for a world that eludes the predicability of the world we’ve mastered by technology. A consequence of this is that aspects of the Arctic—especially the capacity of its air to transmit sound—were used by Europeans to configure alternatives and oppositions to scientific discourse and the technologised environments over which that discourse presides. As a result of this, in Frankenstein the Arctic became imagined as a last refuge, in its fleeting sonic traces, of belief in a spiritualised natural world, a place of ghosts and spirits.
Tim Fulford, Professor, Faculty of Art, Design and Humanities, School of Humanities, De Montfort University, Leicester, Reino Unido. Especialista de la literatura romántica y los contextos del colonialismo y la exploración, la ciencia y la religión, el paisaje y lo “pintoresco.” Es autor de Romantic Indians: Native Americans and Transatlantic Literary Culture 1755-1830 (2006) y Literature, Science and Exploration in the Romantic Era: Bodies of Knowledge (2004). Con S. Raston, prepara actualmente los cuatro volúmenes de The Collected Letters of Humphry Davy que publicará Oxford University Press.