Science and Literature: The Great Divide?

We are pleased to announce the publication of MHRA Working Papers in the Humanities vol.7 (2012) ‘Science and Literature: the Great Divide?’ The issue is available online here:

Constantly I felt I was moving among two groups – comparable in intelligence, identical in race, not grossly different in social origin, earning about the same incomes, who had almost ceased to communicate at all.

C.P. Snow

C.P. Snow’s infamous ‘Two Cultures’ lecture of 1959, and the heated public exchange with literary critic F.R. Leavis that ensued, highlight the great academic tension of our age: that sometimes tacit, sometimes openly explosive disjunction which exists between the arts and humanities on the one hand, and the natural sciences on the other. To what extent, though, is this relationship one that has changed over time? How far back, chronologically speaking, can a conflict be traced between the arts and the sciences? And how does the interaction between the two disciplines make itself felt in the cultural production of the modern era: in the dissemination of scientific ideas through literary writing, in the depiction of scientists and the scientific community, and in the hybrid genre of science fiction? It is these questions, and more, that are tackled by this edition of Working Papers in the Humanities.

Table of Contents


Alex Stuart, Jessica Goodman

‘De la science dans la fiction’: Elisa Brune’s ‘Petite révision du ciel’ and ‘Les Jupiters chauds’

Caroline Verdier

What D.H. Lawrence Understood of ‘The Einstein Theory’: Relativity in ‘Fantasia of the Unconscious’ and ‘Kangaroo’

Rachel Crossland

Questioning Categories of Science and Fiction in Fin de Siècle Magazines

Will Tattersdill

Metaphors of Science and Empire: The Entomologist Narrator in Amin Maalouf’s ‘Le Premier siècle après Béatrice’, and the Scientific Subject in Chris Marker’s ‘La Jetée’

Sura Qadiri