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On the Influence of Literature on Science

Academic Journal article by Sarah Dillon

On the Influence of Literature on Science, Configurations (2018)

Scholars of Literature and Science studies have always maintained that literature influences science as much as science influences literature. In Literature and Science, his 1963 contribution to the two cultures debate, Aldous Huxley asserts that "it goes without saying, between the Two Cultures the traffic of learning and understanding must flow in both directions—from science to literature, as well as from literature to science." In 1988, George Levine identifies at the heart of Literature and Science studies a "determination to see the impurity of scientific and literary ideas and the recognition that there is two-way traffic between them." In his survey of the field in 1978, G. S. Rousseau acknowledges that "there is no reason to disbelieve on logical or epistemological grounds that literature and science affect each other reciprocally. That is, that each influences the other in just about the same degree, although conceivably in different ways." But Rousseau notes that, despite these claims, it is only the influence of science on literature that has actually been investigated in any detail.

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