Scientific Thought in Poetry

Scientific Thought in Poetry

Scientific Thought in Poetry

Scientific Thought in Poetry

Excerpt

By the title Scientific Thought in Poetry , I do not presume to imply that I am in any sense offering a solution to the vexed question of the relationship of science and poetry. The most that I can hope for this study is that it may subsequently prove to be a step in that direction.

My interests were first enlisted in the problem by reading Dr. A. H. Thorndike's volume Literature in a Changing Age. I began to wonder in greater detail just what influence the biological theories of Darwin might have had upon the poets of his age and subsequently. Obviously, before arriving at an answer to that question it was necessary to examine the effects of earlier scientific thinking upon the poets. In this connection Erasmus Darwin proved an interesting figure, but still the relationship of scientific thought to poetry seemed very obscure. My studies led me from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, through the seventeenth and sixteenth, thence to the Middle Ages, and finally to the Roman and Greek poets.

I hope that, by considering in chronological order some of the poems which have concerned themselves in any way with science, I might be able to point out a steady progression or growth of scientific thought in poetry. With such a hypothesis in mind, I examined much of the work of Lucretius, Virgil and Dante; of Chaucer and other medieval writers, Italian, French and English; and the works of later writers from the time of Spenser to John Davidson in the twentieth century. As a result I came to feel that the phrase "growth of scientific thought in poetry" would be a misnomer. The idea, for example, that Tennyson is more thoroughly imbued with science than Lucretius will not bear very close scrutiny. It became increasingly evident that before anything like a true historical account of the relations of . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.