Science in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism: Sociopolitical Concerns - Essay

Laura Dassow Walls (essay date 1995)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “A Plurality of Worlds,” in Seeing New Worlds: Henry David Thoreau and Nineteenth-Century Nature Science, University of Wisconsin Press, 1995, pp. 167-211.

[In the following excerpt, Walls surveys nineteenth-century theories about the plurality of worlds in the context of several notable non-fiction works of the time.]

We might try our lives by a thousand simple tests; as, for instance, that the same sun which ripens my beans illumines at once a system of earths like ours. If I had remembered this it would have prevented some mistakes.

—Henry David Thoreau, Walden

One of the...

(The entire section is 22622 words.)

David Knight (essay date 1997)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Thomas Henry Huxley and Philosophy of Science,” in Thomas Henry Huxley's Place in Science and Letters, edited by Alan P. Barr, University of Georgia Press, 1997, pp. 51-66.

[In the following essay, Knight appraises Thomas Henry Huxley's influence on the study and popularity of science in the nineteenth century.]

Huxley was a bold, accessible, and above all controversial writer, at his best defending a friend or attacking an enemy—a David in constant search of Goliaths, if we may use the kind of biblical imagery in which he delighted. Like Aristotle, another keen student of living organisms, Huxley developed his positions in argument with others, living...

(The entire section is 5722 words.)