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Nineteenth-Century Popular Science Magazines, Narrative, and the Problem of Historical Materiality

By James Mussell

Abstract

In his Some Reminiscences of a Lecturer, Andrew Wilson emphasizes the importance of narrative to popular science lecturing. Although Wilson promotes the teaching of science as useful knowledge in its own right, he also recognizes that the way science is taught can encourage audiences to take the subject up and read further on their own. Form, according to Wilson, should not be divorced from scientific content and lecturers should ensure that not only is their science accurate, but that it is presented in a way that will provoke curiosity and stimulate interest. This paper discusses the influence of narrative in structuring scientific objects and phenomena, and considers the consequences of such presentations for historical research. As scientific journalism necessarily weaves both its intended audience and the objects under discussion into its accounts, these texts demand that we recognize their nature as social relationships inscribed in historical objects

Topics: Z004 Books. Writing. Paleography, D204 Modern History, QH Natural history
Publisher: Routledge
Year: 2007
DOI identifier: 10.1080/14616700701412217
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.bham.ac.uk:531

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