KONF: "Writing a Cosmos: European Literature and Popular Astronomy, 1890-1950", Leuven (6.2.2020)

Christoph Richter-Rodiek's picture

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. 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. This symposium brings together scholars of all career stages and from the UK, Germany, Serbia, Italy, France, and Belgium.

For more information and a detailed programme of the event, visit the symposium's website.


09:00 – 09:20Welcome and Registration
09:20 – 09:30Introduction
09:30 – 10:30

Keynote 1

chair: Elke d’hoker (Leuven)

Florian Klaeger (U of Bayreuth): How to Read Writings of the Cosmos: Theoretical Reflections on Cosmology and Literature

10:30 – 10:45Break
10.45 – 12:15

Session 1

chair: Sascha Bru (Leuven)

Philipp Weber (Bochum) [& Reto Rössler (Flensburg)]: Ceasing Worlds. ‘Acosmism’ and ‘Neo-Ptolemaism’ in Lukács and Benn

Rachel Claire Hill (London): 'Each Flake a Universe:' The Newly Expanded Astronomy of Olaf Stapledon’s Star Maker

Matthias Hennig (Berlin): Cosmos and Colonialism (1890-1950)

12:15 – 13:30Lunch
13:30 – 15:00

Session 2

chair: Ben De Witte (U of Leuven)

Olly Teregulova (Durham): Into the Cosmic Kaleidoscope: Astronomy and the Embodiment of the Inward Turn in H. G. Wells’s The First Men in the Moon and ‘Under the Knife’

Tijana Jovanović (Belgrade): (After)life on Mars: The Astronomical Spiritualism in the Works of Camille Flammarion

Céline Richard (Sorbonne): 'A Sunrise on the Moon' or Dream as a Struggle (V. Hugo): Writers in Search of Cosmic Lights in Paris in XIX-Century French Literature

15:00 – 15:30Break
15:30 – 16:30

Session 3

chair: Kris Van Heuckelom (Leuven)

Ilaria Ampollini (Trento): Flying Shadows, Bolides and Extraterrestrial Journeys. The Popularization of Astronomy as Viewed by Guido Horn d’Arturo (1931-1967)

Christoph Richter-Rodiek (Leuven): Popular Astronomy in German- and English-Speaking Periodicals: Current State of Research

16:30 – 16:45Break
16:45 – 17:45

Keynote 2

chair: Anke Gilleir (Leuven)

Rachel Crossland (Chichester): '[E]ssentially a Popular Science': Astronomy in Early Twentieth-Century British Periodicals







Redaktion: Constanze Baum – Lukas Büsse – Mark-Georg Dehrmann – Nils Gelker – Markus Malo – Alexander Nebrig – Johannes Schmidt

Diese Ankündigung wurde von H-GERMANISTIK [Mark-Georg Dehrmann] betreut – editorial-germanistik@mail.h-net.msu.edu