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The Scientific romances of Charles Howard Hinton : the fourth dimension as hyperspace, hyperrealism and protomodernism

By Elizabeth Lea Throesch


This thesis examines the epistemological, socio-cultural and aesthetic impact of the hyperspace philosophy of Charles Howard Hinton, as expressed within his two-volume\ud collection of Scientific Romances (1884-1896). Hinton's hyperspace philosophy is founded on the belief that the fourth dimension exists as a transcendental yet material\ud space that is accessible to both the mind and the physical senses. Inspired by Immanuel Kant's discussion of space as an a priori intuition, Hinton's project is one of\ud consciousness expansion: he argues that 'a new era of thought' can be attained through the recognition of the fourth dimension. The thesis demonstrates that, in the Scientific Romances, Hinton seeks to engender the 'reality' of the fourth dimension within the reader's imagination through the collaboration of reader and author. Hinton's hyperspace philosophy is thus concerned with mediation, the ways in which the consciousness thinks and creates with and through the aesthetics of space. In addition to providing the most developed analysis of Hinton's writing to date, this thesis examines the work of Hinton's contemporaries \ud exploring the ways in which the discourse of the fourth dimension can offer new readings of familiar literary texts. A recurring explanatory device throughout\ud hyperspace philosophy is the dimensional analogy, and the thesis illustrates how this trope resonates across the work of contemporary writers including Lewis Carroll, H. G. Wells, HenryJames, Friedrich Nietzsche and William James

Publisher: School of English (Leeds)
Year: 2007
OAI identifier:

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