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Geestelijke lenigheid. De relatie tussen literatuur en natuurwetenschap in het werk van Frederik van Eeden en Felix Ortt, 1880-1930.

21 January 2010

PhD Ceremony: mw. L.K. Vermeer, 16.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Proefschrift: Geestelijke lenigheid. De relatie tussen literatuur en natuurwetenschap in het werk van Frederik van Eeden en Felix Ortt, 1880-1930.

Promotor(s): prof.dr. M.S. Kemperink, prof.dr. G.J. Dorleijn, prof.dr. R. Gruttemeier

Faculteit: Letteren

Contact: Leonieke Vermeer, 050-311 34 09, leonieke.vermeer@zonnet.nl

Leonieke Vermeer focuses on the relationship between literature and science, in particular on the incorporation of the natural sciences in the works of two Dutch fin de siècle authors: Frederik van Eeden (1860-1932) and Felix Ortt (1866-1959). Although literature and science developed in the course of the nineteenth century into autonomous domains with their own institutions and codes of conduct, they remained firmly connected with regard to the exchange of knowlegde. The circulation of knowledge between writers and scientists is considered for concepts such as evolution, energy, entropy and the fourth dimension. Furthermore the sinuous turn writers gave to this knowledge is being put forward. The cases of Van Eeden and Ortt show that a tension existed between their autonomous poetics and their position as ‘mental wanderers’ between literature and science. As the writers tried to cope with this tension they turned out to became exponents of a new social figure: the modern intellectual. Their search for a new, unifying ideal was an attempt to solve one urgent dilemma of modernity: the disintegration of society into fragmented, machine-like parts. In this attempt one can detect the typical combination of cultural criticism and utopian idealism of the Dutch fin de siècle.

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