Introduction - Les ailes de Dédale

Abstract : The Romantic era was a time of tremendous change in the relationship between literary creation and scientific knowledge. Scientists framed a specific language and distinctive methods as they moved away from natural philosophy, which had thus far combined physics with metaphysics and united the observation of nature with its celebration. While William Wordsworth stated that « we murder to dissect », thus declaring the secession of poetic writing from scientific discourse, Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) was steadily studying science at Eton and then at Oxford, before embarking on a medical training at Saint Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. This thesis explores the poetic transfiguration of the scientific theories and concepts that Shelley came across in his readings and during his studies. It focuses on the way science is subverted by the poet’s imagination, as scientific representations undergo a fruitful metamorphosis, and become part of the webs of metaphors woven by the text according to its own laws. Shelley recreates the mythical and imaginary foundations as well as the ethical and metaphysical implications which lie dormant in the scientific writings he looks into. This study examines the encounter of two heuristic endeavours, of two highly formalised ways of writing. Science and poetry are in search of the hidden harmonies which underlie appearances. Measuring the measureless, encompassing absolute beauty within poetic metrics, subsuming the infinite richness of the natural world within the rules of mathematical calculation, such are the parallel endeavours of Shelley’s poetry and the science of his age.
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https://hal.univ-lille3.fr/hal-01349748
Contributor : Sophie Laniel-Musitelli <>
Submitted on : Monday, September 11, 2017 - 5:49:04 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, November 29, 2018 - 1:21:14 AM

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  • HAL Id : hal-01349748, version 1

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Sophie Laniel-Musitelli. Introduction - Les ailes de Dédale. "The harmony of truth" : sciences et poésie dans l'oeuvre de Percy B. Shelley, PUL-ELLUG, pp. 11-33, 2012, 978-2-84310-224-0. ⟨hal-01349748⟩

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