s the first three epigraphs to this Introduction suggest, the "New
World" and the "New Science," isomorphic for us through a
trick of language that retrospectively endows each with an equal title
to novelty, were also seen as homologous in the seventeenth century.
What, however, can the homology be read
signify from this vantage?
To claim both Europe's geographical expansionism and the transforma-
tion of knowledge-seeking agendas as "modern" is a usual enough his-
torical description. Still, it leaves unaddressed the near-circularity of
the formulation and hence the genealogical relationship such "modern"
forms have with the time and space of the writing that describes them.
New Science, New World reads the isomorphism of novelty as a symp-
of modernity-as the sign of changes beneath the skin of early mod-
ern culture, changes that reveal how scientific modernity emerges from
within the humanist textuality of the late Renaissance. Although it
concerns some of the many explicit links made in seventeenth-century
texts between the "New World" and the "New Science," my book is
not a study of how the connections are represented, how the organized
investigation of nature is domesticated-propagated-through a rhet-
oric of common novelty. Nor is it a systematic account of such con-
nections, although a very useful study remains to be written on just
that subject. Rather, I propose to consider these colonialist tropes as
the discursive signs of cultural change in suspension-what Raymond
Williams has usefully called a structure of feeling.
To demonstrate how the literary becomes the exotic other of the
scientific-in other words, to show how science and literature have
come to occupy opposite poles in (post)modern culture-my book
seeks out the connections between the New World and the New Sci-
Previous Page Next Page