2
THE ADDICTIVE IMAGE

TWO GENERAL APPROACHES to the relation of literature and science can be discerned in the criticism of the past decade. The first approach, canvassed briefly in my introduction, takes the reading, writing, and interpretation of literature to be the objects of scientific study. In their different ways, critics like Elaine Scarry, Lisa Zunshine, and Blakey Vermule use scientific models of cognition and perception to describe literature and literary experience. While this pioneering work has succeeded in placing the question of the relation of the humanities and science at the forefront of current debates, the particular form that relation tends to take in this work renders it of limited value going forward. Wendy Jones’s recent ELH article exemplifies the problem when the author argues that Austen’s Emma is “a text that demonstrates, through its representation of thoughts, feelings, and relationships, what neuroscience tells us about how the brain works” (317). In the aftermath of the Sokal hoax, this critical modesty perhaps has something to recommend it.1 But humanists can be forgiven for failing to greet the prospect of so reductive a deferral to science with much enthusiasm.

The second recent approach to the relation of literature and science argues that literature shows us a gap in scientific knowledge, and an opening for a kind of knowledge peculiar to literary studies. Again, in its broadest form this idea is nothing new, and is at least as old as Keats’s complaint that Newton unwove the rainbow. What’s different is the nature of recent attempts to move past a traditional sense that literature and science are simply different and in-

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Writing against Time
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction - Writing against Time 1
  • 1 - Imaginary Music 23
  • 2 - The Addictive Image 57
  • 3 - Big Brother Stops Time 87
  • 4 - The Cultured Image 115
  • Conclusion - From Representation to Creation 139
  • Reference Matter 149
  • Notes 151
  • Bibliography 171
  • Index 185
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