John Banville: Doctor Copernicus

(2256 words)
  • Pietra Palazzolo (University of Essex)

Banville's scientific tetralogy (1976-1986) – Doctor Copernicus (1976), Kepler (1985), The Newton Letter (1982) and Mefisto (1986) – comes after the self-contained worlds of his first two novels, Nightspawn (1971) and Birchwood (1984). The tetralogy traces an interesting trajectory in historical and scientific development from early modernity to the present, highlighting an intriguing interplay between scientific knowledge and literature. In an article published in the New York Times in 1985, “Physics and Fiction: Order from Chaos”, Banville suggested a kinship between modern science and literature, in particular in terms of cognitive uncertainties, as propounded by Heisenberg: <…

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Palazzolo, Pietra. "Doctor Copernicus". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 October 2002
[, accessed 24 September 2016.]