"The Poetic Structure of the World" is a major reconsideration of a
crucial turning point in Western thought and culture: the
heliocentric revolution of Copernicus and Kepler. Fernand Hallyn
treats the work of these two figures not simply in terms of the
history of science or astronomy, but as events embedded in a wider
field of images, symbols, texts, and practices. These new
representations of the universe, he insists, cannot be explained by
recourse to explanations of "genius" or "intuition." Instead,
Hallyn investigates the problem of how new scientific hypotheses
are actually formed and the complex way in which certain facts and
not others are selected to support a particular theory. He contends
that the scientific imagination is not fundamentally different from
a mythic or poetic imagination and that the work of Copernicus and
Kepler must be examined on the level of rhetorical structure.
Hallyn shows the sun-centered universe to be inseparable from the
aesthetic, epistemological, theological, and social imperatives of
both neoplatonism and mannerism in the sixteenth century Fernand
Hallyn is a Professor in the Department of French Literature at the
University of Ghent. Distributed for Zone Books.
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