Scientific Romances In English Literature

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In order to study the scientific romances in context to other literary genres we need to go back to the chivalric romance of the Middle Ages and the Gothic novel of the late eighteenth century which can be called the ancestors of prose romance .Malory’s Morte de’ Arthur deserves special mention as it marks the birth of romances in England, it was the first English book in poetic prose and Thomas More’s Utopia(1516) can be considered as another important book which had germs of the present day novel. Gradually the medieval romance lost its popularity with the advent of picaresque tales of adventure which later resulted in the development of heroic romance which came into significance with the publication of Sir Philip Sydney’s Arcadia in 1590.The…show more content…
First of all the traditional romance, after which it has taken its name the ‘scientific romance’, deserves special attention. They both have many elements in common, the foremost is the element of adventure and fantasy. In fact it has made use of romance as the fundamental and the universal mode of narration because romance has an old and honoured place in the history of English literature, bridging the gap between literature and para-literature and its immense popularity influences the minds of literary critics when they make any judgement on any particular branch of literary writing. In fact if we look closely we notice that westerns, thrillers, historical novel, erotic literature, love stories and adventures of such heroes as Tarzan and James Bond can be classified under the heading of romance because a romance is, as argued by Gillian Beer; “essentially subjective literary form presenting an absorbing, coherent and yet arbitrary vision of the world, which the reader can only enter at the price of a willing surrender to the writer’s…show more content…
If a writer of romance makes use of his arbitrary judgement, the science fiction writers cloak that arbitrariness under the mask of necessity and the writer of realistic fiction hides the fundamental arbitrariness under the garb of verisimilitude. Science fiction has been described as a romance basically because its subject matter is essentially romantic in nature; presenting the sheer excitement as well as the horrors of the new vistas opened up by the progress and development of science and technology but its purpose is not just to amaze and astound its readers, therefore, science fiction being termed as ‘literature of wonder’ is not completely true. In fact science fiction comes much closer to be regarded as ‘contemporary mythology’ as it offers such tales of adventure and fantasy which deals with the prospects and destiny of man and his universe. This brand of fiction has a small section of the society as its ardent devotees who are the believers of scientific principles and theories and use it as a mode of expression for today’s ideological fantasies by first estranging the readers by presenting
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