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By Peter Duren

ISBN-10: 0821801309

ISBN-13: 9780821801307

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In particular it will investigate how the ways of seeing that emerged in microscopy – which the previous chapter called microscopic vision – bled into other cultural arenas to become a more interrogative method of observing and imagining individual identity. One focus of the interconnectedness of scientific research on disease and socio-cultural identity will be fictional accounts of disease’s effects in the world, fictions that conduct what might be called thought experiments on the impact of infection in the social, cultural and political spheres.

Lubbock also conjures the bacteria’s spectral status; in particular its ability Science, Imagination and the Phantasmagoria 25 to resist being controlled by the regulating structures of human society, in which context it remains invisible, uncontrollable and constantly dangerous. Phantasmagorias Lubbock’s partly satirical comments about bacteria and Acts of Parliament seem to be at some distance from the microscopist who looks through the lens of his microscope and finds an image which is difficult to identify as either real or imagined.

Yet there is an irony here, which is also present in Le Fanu’s ‘Carmilla’, in the fact that it is the existence of the mythological vampire that becomes the most objective and rational position in each of the fictions. If this appears to be a reversal of expectations, it is because such a reversal precisely mirrors the most striking effect of discourses on disease: that the specific object of investigation (the animalculae, dust mote, microbe or germ) is always depicted as Gothic. These disease objects become Gothic both because they are always anthropomorphized as an active agent of disease transmission, and because they are very difficult to see, even with the technological addition of the microscope’s lens.

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A century of mathematics in America. by Peter Duren


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