Category Archives: 19th Century

Metamorphosis and Mirrors

[Please Note: This text contains minor spoilers for the 2017 television series “Twin Peaks: The Return.”] The season finale of “Twin Peaks: The Return” earlier this month created a seismic ripple amongst David Lynch devotees of the Internet. The proliferation of detail-obsessed fan theories, wikis in at least six languages, and thoughtful analytic pieces speaks […] Continue reading

Posted in 19th Century, art, binge-watching, byatt, contemporary, Darwin, doppelganger, doubles, Humanity, identity, lynch, medium, metamorphosis, mirrors, Science Fiction, SF, technology, Television, Televsion, transparent, travel, twin peaks | Comments Off on Metamorphosis and Mirrors

De-Sensitizing the Operating Room: Normalizing the “Unnatural” in The Island of Dr. Moreau

I say I became habituated to the Beast People, that a thousand things that had seemed unnatural and repulsive speedily became natural and ordinary to me. (The Island of Dr. Moreau, End of Chapter 15) I used to consider myself a very squeamish person. T… Continue reading

Posted in "victorian literature, 19th Century, 20th Century, biomedicine, biopolitics, disillusion, dystopia, ethics, Ethics of science, H.G. Wells, history of science, role of scientists, Science Fiction, technology, The Island of Dr. Moreau, Visuality | Comments Off on De-Sensitizing the Operating Room: Normalizing the “Unnatural” in The Island of Dr. Moreau

Recuperating Darwin: Is there anything left to offer?

Put frankly, I am perhaps a poor candidate to write a blog post addressing Darwin. Upon reading On the Origin of Species, I felt just as unwilling to recuperate and entertain Darwin’s theories of natural selection and evolution as I thought I would. … Continue reading

Posted in 19th Century, critique, Darwin, disability, evolution, Gender studies, transgender | Comments Off on Recuperating Darwin: Is there anything left to offer?

Caged in Desire, or How to Read an Unreliable Narrator: Anxiety, Projection, and Crushes in Henry James’s In the Cage

I’d like to open this post with some mood music: There we go.  That sets the stage nicely. In other words, In the Cage is a stomach-turning read for any fantasy-prone person (re: most of us) who has ever had an unrequited crush.  Let’s th… Continue reading

Posted in "victorian literature, 19th Century, disillusion, Freud, Gender studies, Henry James, humanities, In the Cage, mechanical servant, narrative, narrative structure, Novelists, subjectivity | Comments Off on Caged in Desire, or How to Read an Unreliable Narrator: Anxiety, Projection, and Crushes in Henry James’s In the Cage

Tweeting from “the Cage”?: Applying Henry James’ Technological Critique to the 21st Century

“It had occurred to her early that in her position—that of a young person spending, in framed and wired confinement, the life of a guinea-pig or a magpie—she should know a great many persons without their recognizing the acquaintance”—so begi… Continue reading

Posted in "social media, 19th Century, Henry James, history of science, In the Cage, Jack Dorsey, technology, twitter | Comments Off on Tweeting from “the Cage”?: Applying Henry James’ Technological Critique to the 21st Century

The Formation of the Observer in “The Difference Engine”: Political Upheaval and Visual Culture

In his book Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century, Jonathan Crary details two popular models for understanding the change in vision and visuality over the course of the mid- to late-nineteenth century and the sub… Continue reading

Posted in 19th Century, academia, Bruce Sterling, The Difference Engine, William Gibson | Comments Off on The Formation of the Observer in “The Difference Engine”: Political Upheaval and Visual Culture

Cholera and Miasma: Technological Progress and Medical Backwardness

In science fiction, cyberpunk, and speculative fiction, technology is often presented as an answer to social problems; we like to think of it as manna delivered from the heavens by an unseen hand to feed a people hungry for progress. However, William G… Continue reading

Posted in 19th Century, Bruce Sterling, Cholera, Florence Nightingale, Germ Theory of Disease, History of Medicine, history of science, London, Miasma, microbiology, Science Fiction, technological progress, The Difference Engine, The Great Stink, William Gibson | Comments Off on Cholera and Miasma: Technological Progress and Medical Backwardness

A Louse-y Holiday: Cavendish, Hooke, and the History of Scientific Objectivity

Christmas 2014 will forever be remembered by my family as: The Christmas of the Louse. Yep. Louse or better known by it’s plural form (because there is never just one) Lice. Imagine this: after a weekend filled with the joys of experiencing Christmas… Continue reading

Posted in 17th Century, 18th century, 19th Century, 20th Century, Christmas, experimental philosophy, history of science, Lice, Lice Humor, Louse, Margaret Cavendish, Micrographia, microscopic science, objectivity, Observations upon Experimental Philosophy, Robert Hooke, scientific objectivity | Comments Off on A Louse-y Holiday: Cavendish, Hooke, and the History of Scientific Objectivity

Mounds of Venus, or What a Pile of Goddess Guts Can Teach Us About Objectivity

In their history of science tome, Objectivity (2010), Daston and Galison examine how the modern concept of objectivity emerged from the mid-nineteenth-century sciences. They argue that this ideal of objectivity requires “the suppression of some aspec… Continue reading

Posted in 19th Century, anatomical venus, erotic science, exquisite corpse, Gender studies, history of science, lady parts, Lorraine Daston, medical ethics, Peter Galison, torso explosion, Visuality | Comments Off on Mounds of Venus, or What a Pile of Goddess Guts Can Teach Us About Objectivity

Minding Your Own Beeswax and the Middlemarch Twitterverse

“News is often dispersed as thoughtlessly and effectively as that pollen which the bees carry off (having no idea how powdery they are) when they are buzzing in search of their particular nectar.”  -George Eliot, Middlemarch, Book VI, Chap… Continue reading

Posted in " pollination, "social media, "victorian literature, 19th Century, bees, bioculture, biopolitics, culture, ecosystems, eliot, Eliot, George, Inception, Middlemarch, pollen, popular science, twitter | Comments Off on Minding Your Own Beeswax and the Middlemarch Twitterverse