The Cultural Impact of Science in the Early Twentieth Century
Edited by Robert Bud, Paul Greenhalgh, Frank James, and Morag Shiach
In the early decades of the twentieth century, engagement with science was commonly used as an emblem of modernity. This phenomenon is now attracting increasing attention in different historical specialties. Being Modern builds on this recent scholarly interest to explore engagement with science across culture from the end of the nineteenth century to approximately 1940.
Addressing the breadth of cultural forms in Britain and the western world from the architecture of Le Corbusier to working class British science fiction, Being Modern paints a rich picture. Seventeen distinguished contributors from a range of fields including the cultural study of science and technology, art and architecture, English culture and literature examine the issues involved. The book will be a valuable resource for students, and a spur to scholars to further examination of culture as an interconnected web of which science is a critical part, and to supersede such tired formulations as 'Science and culture'.
Frank James is Professor of History of Science at the Royal Institution and University College London. His research formerly centred on Faraday, but now focuses on Davy.
Morag Shiach is Professor of Cultural History at Queen Mary University of London. She has published extensively on the cultural history of modernism and on modernism and labour.
Paul Greenhalgh is Director of the Sainsbury Centre at the University of East Anglia, and Professor of Art History there. He has published extensively in the history of art, design, and the decorative arts in the early modern period.
Robert Bud is Research Keeper at the Science Museum in London. His award-winning publications in the history of science include studies of biotechnology and scientific instruments.
Being Modern: Introduction
Robert Bud and Morag Shiach
Section 1: Science, modernity and culture
1 Multiple modernisms in concert: the sciences, technology and culture in Vienna around 1900
Mitchell G. Ash
2 The cinematic sound of industrial modernity: first notes
3 Woolf’s atom, Eliot’s catalyst and Richardson’s waves of light: science and modernism in 1919
4 T.S. Eliot: modernist literature, disciplines and the systematic pursuit of knowledge
Section 2: Tensions over science
5 Modernity and the ambivalent significance of applied science: motors, wireless, telephones and poison gas
6 ‘The springtime of science’: modernity and the future and past of science
Frank A.J.L. James
7 ‘Come on you demented modernists, let’s hear from you’: science fans as literary critics in the 1930s
Section 3: Mathematics and physics
8 Modern by numbers: modern mathematics as a model for literary modernism
9 Sculpture in the Belle Epoque: mathematics, art and apparitions in school and gallery
10 Architecture, science and purity
11 A Portrait of the Scientist as a Young Ham: wireless, modernity and interwar nuclear physics
12 Whose modernism, whose speed? Designing mobility for the future, 1880s–1945
Section 4: Life, biology and the organicist metaphor
13 Ludwig Koch’s birdsong on wartime BBC radio: knowledge, citizenship and solace
14 ‘More Modern than the Moderns’: performing cultural evolution in the Kibbo Kift Kindred
15 Organicism and the modern world: from A.N. Whitehead to Wyndham Lewis and D.H. Lawrence
16 Liquid crystal as chemical form and model of thinking in Alfred Döblin’s modernist science
17 ‘I am attracted to the natural order of things’: Le Corbusier’s rejection of the machine
Epilogue: Science after modernity
Frank A.J.L. James and Robert Bud
Format: Open Access PDF
Publication: October 10, 2018