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Topics in Literary Interpretation I

Literature in a Scientific Age *CANCELLED WINTER 2023*

Vlad Tchompalov

Follow the science" is the admonition of the day. From climate change to covid vaccines, science is the beacon of rationality that is to guide us out of these dark times. But what is "the science" and where is it leading? What is the relationship of science to technology? To politics? To ethics? And how might literature help us to navigate these questions? This course will sample some of the major literary engagements with science and technology, from classics like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and H. G. Wells's The World Set Free, to more recent work, like Adam Dickinson's poetry on bodily contaminations or Robin Wall Kimmerer's essays on intersections of traditional ecological knowledge and botany. Throughout, we will trace the ways in which writers of literature have channeled broader cultural fears, hopes, and dreams involving "the science," ultimately asking what role science has or should have in both describing and shaping social and ecological systems.


Assessment consist of: 

  • Active participation
  • Collaborative presentation
  • Short response papers
  • Final paper (with mandatory research component and rough draft)


  • ENGL 200
  • ENGL 290

Department of English, Queen's University

Watson Hall
49 Bader Lane
Kingston ON K7L 3N6

Telephone (613) 533-2153



Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.