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Humanities and Social Sciences Colloquium - Marco Caracciolo (Comparative Literature)

Caracciolo

Scaling Down the Cosmos: Embodiment and Spatial Strategies in Works by Cummings, Matheson, and Calvino

Dr. Marco Caracciolo
Comparative Literature
Junior Fellow

Scaling Down the Cosmos: Embodiment and Spatial Strategies in Works by Cummings, Matheson, and Calvino
When Apr 04, 2016
from 01:15 PM to 02:45 PM
Where FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, Seminar Room
Contact Name
Contact Phone +49 (0)761 203-97362
Attendees universitätsöffentlich / open to university members
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This talk is concerned with three fictional narratives that, by opening a dialog with scientific knowledge, engage with spaces below what psychologist J. J. Gibson called the "intermediate world"—i.e., the world of ordinary human interactions. These spaces are the subatomic terra incognita charted by Ray Cummings’s The Girl in the Gold Atom (1919; a classic science fiction novel in the subgenre of "space romance"); the diminutive world of Richard Matheson’s The Shrinking Man (1956); and the dimensionless void occupied by the narrator of one of Italo Calvino’s Cosmicomics (1965)—a story set before the Big Bang. In representing these realities, Cummings, Matheson, and Calvino challenge readers’ familiarity with space even as they appeal to bodily patterns typical of our everyday apprehension of space. This reader-response dynamic is at the heart of the "bodily defamiliarization" that I will explore in this presentation.