Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date

Fall 2012


Oxford French Literature Professor Frédérique Aït-Touati’s book Fictions of the Cosmos: Science and Literature in the Seventeenth Century is packed full of information—perhaps too packed with information—about all sorts of interesting subjects relating to the interplay of science and literature in the seventeenth century. The book explores literary aspects of science writing, the history of astronomy and optics, and the history of the relationship between fiction and knowledge, especially in the early modern period. Her overall aim in this exploration is to instruct us on the value of fiction in science and the value of science in fiction. To accomplish this, she focuses much of her book around the theme of cosmological voyages written by the likes of Johannes Kepler, Francis Godwin, John Wilkins, Cyrano de Bergerac, Robert Hooke, Margaret Cavendish, Christiaan Huygens, and Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle. She then utilizes her expertise in literary theory and her studies in the history and philosophy of science to explicate the various literary techniques used in their works.


© 2012, University of Chicago Press on behalf of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science.

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Publication Title

HOPOS: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science





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