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Humanist Archives: June 27, 2020, 6:36 a.m. Humanist 34.137 - poetry & science

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 34, No. 137.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
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        Date: 2020-06-26 14:53:19+00:00
        From: Francois Lachance 
        Subject: poetry, science, insects


I have been beginning my day by dipping into a daily reading of naturalist
Donald Culross Peattie from the collection _An Almanac for Moderns_ (1935 rpt
1980). The conclusion to the entry I read today with its theme of poetry and
science reminds me by analogy of digital humanities:

I accept the challenge of the artists that cool investigation may often be the
death of poetry. As knowledge lessons the terror of plague, so it may take some
of the soulfulness out of nature. There is a sort of Wordsworthian sermonizing
that shrinks before the biological frame of mind, just as the childish
abhorrence of insects vanishes with familiarity. But not all poetry is really
good poetry (however good it may sound). Good poetry is swift-winged, essential
and truthful description -- and so is good science.

I like the image of overcoming fear of insects by a biological turn of mind. One
can no doubt imagine many cases where a digital humanist frame of mind does

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~
Fran├žois Lachance
Wannabe Professor of Theoretical and Applied Rhetoric

to think is often to sort, to store and to shuffle: humble, embodied tasks

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