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Representations of Astronomers in Literature


Haynes, RD, Representations of Astronomers in Literature, The Astronomy Quarterly, 8 pp. 131-176. ISSN 0364-9229 (1991) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 1991 Pergamon Press plc

DOI: doi:10.1016/0364-9229(91)90021-C


The depiction of astronomers as characters in fiction during the last four centuries provides a useful historical indication of the changing popular perception of astronomy and its practitioners. It is apparent that lay attitudes to astronomy, even in any given period, are complex. On the one hand there is the continuing, innate attraction which the spectacle of the night sky has for people of all ages, the sense of wonder it generates and the perception of astronomy as a "pure" science, free from military and environmentally damaging spin-offs. But, on the other hand, astronomy poses particular and radical challenges to the humanist tradition and these have elicited from many writers not only expressions of anguish and confusion but, at times, a personal attack on the astronomers who were considered responsible for the unwelcome views.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:literature, astronomy, fiction, history
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Communication and media studies
Research Field:Communication and media studies not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in language, communication and culture
UTAS Author:Haynes, RD (Dr Roslynn Haynes)
ID Code:121721
Year Published:1991
Deposited By:Office of the School of Humanities
Deposited On:2017-10-12
Last Modified:2017-11-23

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