“Origins of the Royal Society and Origins of the Novel”, how would people imagine that there might be a connection between them. It looks like they have not much to do with each other, however, the Royal Society emerged in mid-late 17th century supported by Charles II and this was also the period as we began to see the emergence of another thing, which was the Novel. Is this a coincidence or is there some sense of relationship between these two that they were happening around the same time?
Royal Society was interested in doing experiment of science as a way of knowing. What further those people holded up is shown as the motto from Latin word, nulliun in verba, which means take nobody’s word for it. This makes me aware that the Royal Society always stands on perceiving science or natural world as distrust and pursues the facts with real data or figures by experiments and observations.
This stance was also didactic for me because I did not realize that there is the novel before the famous book Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe until today which I thought that it was the oldest British novel. In fact, in 1666 there was a publication of The Blazing World by Margaret Cavendish and it might be considered as one the first novels. What made me surprise was that it was written by a woman and she was also the first woman to visit the Royal Society in 1667. She was representing gender-wise as the only woman in 17th century who accomplished great deeds in science and natural philosophy.
It was interesting to see how this Royal Society ideas of experiments and making efforts to explain the improbable to public reflected in novels. The novels from 17th century through early 19th century had gained some characteristics to create realistic and rational explanations in order to make people understand, for instance they focused on more ordinary people, day-to-day things and produce more minds and particulars. As prof. Hanlon argued, the all of these elements of the novels are related or influenced by the object of experimental science.
Although the characteristics or genres of novels have been changing with societies’, authors’ and readers’ diverse values, the basic forms of novels which origin in 17th century are still living in the novels as essential components. Kazuo Ishiguro is one of the examples who is British writer and has won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017. He wrote a book “Never Let Me Go”(2005) which is considered as a scientific novel. The story goes on with the narrator Kathy who is a protagonist and was born as a clone who donates her vital organs when she reaches a young adult. I think it is interesting experimental novel because we may have peculiar experiences that we see ourself in a position of Kathy and have empathy on her, but also we might create a sense of feeling of shudder that we are the one of the majority of humans who pretends to be a ignorant about clones through Kathy’s eyes. The world with clones describing in the book may sounds improbable but it makes us enable to feel realistic and drags us into the story because Ishiguro provides detail-oriented delineation and describing real life events such as focusing on school life, friendship and love.
It is interesting to get an idea that origins could trigger to the others and they might be influenced and related each other even though it looks nothing to do with like origins of the Royal Society and the novel. It made me aware that what is important is not just satisfied with knowing origins superficially but try digging deeply by knowing the backgrounds the period those origins happened and extend to other fields and keep exploring so that we might be able to discover unexpected connections.