Tita ChicoJul 22, 2019
The Experimental Imagination
Literary Knowledge and Science in the British Enlightenment
Stanford University Press 2018
Can science be seductive? According to Tita Chico, the answer is a resounding yes. In her new book, The Experimental Imagination: Literary Knowledge and Science in the British Enlightenment (Stanford University Press, 2018), Dr. Chico’s new book upends the traditional, modern dichotomies which enforce strict separations between literature and science. Rather than solely bound to rigorous, self-effacing protocols, scientific practice is instead revealed to be deeply tethered to imaginative, figurative, and aesthetic epistemologies. Much like science, literature produces its own forms of knowledge about the world – for, as Dr. Chico puts it, they are epistemological siblings. This is a book that will interest anyone seeking to question, historicize, and expand the meaning of scientific knowledge by way of recovering its early modern capaciousness. Not only did natural philosophers also write poetry, but natural philosophy could be poetic as well. Readers interested in exploring the possibilities of metaphor, figuration, the imagination, and aesthetics in science will find fertile ground in this book; whilst those seeking to engage in generative conversations about problems like objectivity, truth, and fact will not walk away disappointed either. The Experimental Imagination is, in sum, not only a very rich book, but a book that will surely generate many enriching conversations in e.g. the fields of literary studies, history of science, feminist STS, and eighteenth-century studies.