(Mad) Scientists in British Literature

(Mad) Scientists in British Literature
BA (Anglistik) A4, A7, D2; BA Int. Stud. A1.2, A1.3, A2.1,
A2.5; BA Lehramt (alt: A4, A4a; neu: VM Lit, WM FW 1 und
2, WM FW/FD); MAIAS (old: A1.4, C1; new: A4, C3)
PS 2st., Do 8-10
SoSe 2018
Universität Bayreuth

Genius or madman? – That is the question we will try to answer in studying literary works thatfeature the motif of the (mad) scientist. By getting involved in pacts and being obsessed with projects that aim at exceeding the limits of life, the scientists featured in the selected works can either be read as being ahead of their time, or as being victims of social conventions and expectations. Hence, we will identify changing socio-cultural concerns in different epochs ranging from the English Renaissance to the Victorian Age. The intellectual circles in which the authors participated during their writing career often determined the way science and innovative thinking are portrayed in the written texts. This will be another focal point of our seminar. With the help of critical essays, we will discuss attitudes and warnings implemented or implied in the narratives and interpret them in the light of our contemporary knowledge.

Texts to be obtained by students:
Christopher Marlowe, Dr. Faustus
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
H.G. Wells, The Island of Dr. Moreau