During the second half of the eighteenth century, the most powerful literary work in Britain was nonfictional: philosophy, history, biography, and political controversy. Leo Damrosch argues that this tendency is no accident; at the beginning of the modern age, writers were consciously aware of the role of cultural fictions, and they sought to ground those fictions in a real world beyond the text. Their political conservatism (often neglected by modern scholars) was an extensively thought out response to a world in which meaning was inseparable from consensus, and in which consensus was increasingly under attack.
Damrosch finds strong affinities between writers who are usually described as antagonists. The first chapter places Hume and Johnson in dialogue, showing that their responses to the challenge of their age have deep similarities, and that their thinking points forward in significant ways to twentieth-century pragmatism. Subsequent chapters explore the interrelationship of the fictive and the “real” in a wide range of works by Boswell, Gibbon, White, Burke, and Godwin.
In its combination of literary, philosophical, and cultural criticism, this book will appeal to scholars in many fields as well as to nonacademic readers interested in intellectual history.
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A few years ago, a military doctor walking the corridors of New Jakarta Space Station saved Melati’s life. She signed up for the International Space Force to pay back her moral debt to him. But her family thinks she has betrayed her people. It was ISF who forcefully removed their grandmothers and grandfathers from the crowded slums of Jakarta to work in interstellar space stations.
It is Melati’s job to teach six-year old construct soldiers, artificial humans grown in labs and activated with programmed minds to serve in an interstellar war. Her latest cohort has one student who claims that he is not a little boy, but a mindbase traveller whose swap partner took off with his body. It soon becomes clear that a lot of people are scouring the space station for this fugitive, a scientist with dangerous knowledge about interstellar space.
The best place to hide in the space station is amongst the many cultures and subcultures of the expat Indonesian B-sector. Looking for him brings Melati into direct conflict with her people. She does not want to be seen as one of the enemy, but if the scientist’s knowledge falls in the wrong hands, war will come to the station.
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