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Home truths: women writing science in the nuclear dawn

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Abstract:

This paper develops a political reading of women writers’/writer-editors’ involvement in the American atomic age, Cold War-era fields of science fiction and popular science writing. Judith Merril (1928-97) in her post-war science-fiction writing and Rachel Carson (1907-64) in her international best-selling anti-pesticide polemic, Silent Spring (1962), capitalized on popular, mass-market literary genres as vehicles for social criticism in what Jessica Wang calls an ‘Age of Anxiety’ in which open criticism of American science, government, and the industrial-military complex carried high personal risk. Importantly, both explicitly politicized images of domesticity, thus joining women’s history to some of the most sweeping changes of the twentieth century.

(Erratum : Dianne Newell's name was presented incorrectly in the article published as Diana Newell.)

Keywords: Rachel Carson; atomic age; domestic Cold War; feminist literature; history; natural science; science-fiction literature

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ejac.22.3.193/0

Affiliations: University of British Columbia, Canada

Publication date: October 1, 2003

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  • The European Journal of American Culture (EJAC) is an academic, refereed journal for scholars, academics and students from many disciplines with a common involvement in the interdisciplinary study of America and American culture, drawing on a variety of approaches and encompassing the whole evolution of the country.
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