New Science, New World

New Science, New World

Book Pages: 264 Illustrations: 9 illustrations Published: May 1996

Author: Denise Albanese

Cultural Studies, Pre-Modern Studies > Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Science and Technology Studies

In New Science, New World Denise Albanese examines the discursive interconnections between two practices that emerged in the seventeenth century—modern science and colonialism. Drawing on the discourse analysis of Foucault, the ideology-critique of Marxist cultural studies, and de Certeau’s assertion that the modern world produces itself through alterity, she argues that the beginnings of colonialism are intertwined in complex fashion with the ways in which the literary became the exotic “other” and undervalued opposite of the scientific.
Albanese reads the inaugurators of the scientific revolution against the canonical authors of early modern literature, discussing Galileo’s Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems and Bacon’s New Atlantis as well as Milton’s Paradise Lost and Shakespeare’s The Tempest. She examines how the newness or “novelty” of investigating nature is expressed through representations of the New World, including the native, the feminine, the body, and the heavens. “New” is therefore shown to be a double sign, referring both to the excitement associated with a knowledge oriented away from past practices, and to the oppression and domination typical of the colonialist enterprise. Exploring the connections between the New World and the New Science, and the simultaneously emerging patterns of thought and forms of writing characteristic of modernity, Albanese insists that science is at its inception a form of power-knowledge, and that the modern and postmodern division of “Two Cultures,” the literary and the scientific, has its antecedents in the early modern world.
New Science, New World makes an important contribution to feminist, new historicist, and cultural materialist debates about the extent to which the culture of seventeenth-century England is proto-modern. It will offer scholars and students from a wide range of fields a new critical model for historical practice.


"Pointed, densely argued, and eloquent . . . [this is] a fine and important book on seminal texts of early modern intellectual culture. Shakespeareans will use it as a stepping stone for rethinking Shakespeare’s relation to early modern scientific thought. And it will bring literary scholars, historians of science and practicing scientists to a new appreciation of the discursive domains from which their disciplines emerged." — Julie Robin Solomon, Shakespeare Quarterly

New Science, New Worldbreaks new ground in connecting literary form to the advent of modernity as manifested in scientific discourse and colonial exploration. This phenomenally learned book is a real intervention in early modern cultural studies.” — Dympna Callaghan, Syracuse University

New Science, New World is a sophisticated account concerning the contradictory pressures at work in the production of modernity. The story of the relations between the scientific and the literary is an original one, and it is told with an elegance that is consistently persuasive.” — Catherine Belsey, Centre for Critical and Cultural Theory, University of Wales, Cardiff


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Denise Albanese is Associate Professor of English and Cultural Studies at George Mason University.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

1. Making It New: History and Novelty in Early Modern Culture 13

2. Admiring Miranda and Enslaving Nature 59

3. The New Atlantis and the Uses of Utopia 92

4. The Prosthetic Milton; Or, the Telescope and the Humanist Corpus 121

5. Galileo, "Literature," and the Generation of Scientific Universals 148

Conclusion: De Certeau and Early Modern Cultural Studies 186

Notes 193

Works Cited 225

Index 239
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1768-5 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1759-3
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