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In late-Victorian popular fiction, science is often represented in an unorthodox way, for example in the figure of mad scientists, such as Dr Jekyll. At the same time, there was a strong belief in the power of science as a tool for progress. The so-called scientific naturalists were strong and successful advocates of the objectivity and truthfulness of scientific work and represented scientists as virtuous model citizens. LAURA HABBE has examined the disparity between their representation of science and its depiction in examples of popular fiction. In this video she explains two strategies she identified and which these texts employ to subvert the authority of the scientific naturalists. Her study of late-Victorian popular culture suggests that appropriate science communication and the public understanding of science have always been crucial elements of successful scientific research.


Laura Habbe received her PhD in English from Trinity College Dublin. She also holds degrees in Comparative Literature (Trinity College Dublin) and Latin (University of St Andrews). At Trinity College Dublin, she taught as Teaching Assistant in the School of English. Her research interests include Victorian literature, popular fiction and the history and philosophy of science.


Trinity College Dublin

At Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin we provide a liberal environment where independence of thought is highly valued and all are encouraged to achieve their potential. We promote a diverse, interdisciplinary, inclusive environment which nurtures ground-breaking research, innovation, and creativity through engaging with issues of global significance.  Located in a beautiful campus in the heart of Dublin’s city centre, Trinity is Ireland’s highest ranked university and one of the world’s top 100.  It is home to 17,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students across all the major disciplines in the arts and humanities, and in business, law, engineering, science, and health sciences. ( Source )
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Original publication

Unorthodox Science: Late-Victorian Popular Fiction and its Subversion of Scientific Naturalism

Habbe Laura
PhD diss.
Published in 2017

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