Writing a Cosmos: European Literature and Popular Astronomy, 1890-1950
The symposium Writing a Cosmos: European Literature and Popular Astronomy (February 6, KU Leuven) investigates the relationship between literature and astronomy during the modernist period (1890-1950) in Europe, addressing the vast literary response to astronomical developments with the rise of the ‘new astronomy’. It gauges the role literature played in mediating astronomical knowledge and exploring new ways of imagining the cosmos. The symposium aims to map fiction that incorporates astronomical knowledge and to arrive at a better understanding of the convergences between physical, cultural, and literary practices and. It homes in on writings from different registers—highbrow, avant-garde, middlebrow and more popular forms of literature—as well as on writings from various European cultures and languages, in order to determine how European literature of the modernist period reflects on astronomy as a stimulus and transformative force in fiction.
Open to everybody interested in the matter, this symposium is part of the larger research project Literary Knowledge, 1890-1950: Modernisms and the Sciences in Europe based in the research lab MDRN at the University of Leuven in Belgium. We bring together scholars of all career stages and from the UK, Germany, Serbia, Italy, France, and Belgium.
- Keynote 1: Florian Klaeger (U of Bayreuth): How to Read Writings of the Cosmos: Theoretical Reflections on Cosmology and Literature (9:30-10:30, HWI Kardinaal Mercierzaal)
- Keynote 2: Rachel Crossland (U of Chichester): '[E]ssentially a Popular Science': Astronomy in Early Twentieth-Century British Periodicals (16:45-17:45, HWI Kardinaal Mercierzaal)