Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Higher Dimensions in Literature

ENGL 261.602
also offered as: COML 075
Tuesdays 6-9:00 pm

The concept of higher-dimensional hyperspace has taken on new meanings in light of the advances of modern physics and the prospect of multiple dimensions coexisting alongside our own. At the turn of the 20th century, new possibilities about the natures of space and time fascinated mathematicians, philosophers, and artists alike. Riemann's mathematical demonstration that the universe might exceed its standard three dimensions catalyzed projects of reconciling the "supernatural" within the frameworks of science and rationality and of contemplating the limits of human reason. In this course, we will examine the modes by which higher dimensions have been envisioned in literature as both space and time. How does thinking through the implications of these higher dimensions affect how we interpret these literary worlds—and our own reality? Authors may include H. G. Wells, Oscar Wilde, Joseph Conrad, Kurt Vonnegut, Philip K. Dick, H. P. Lovecraft, Robert Heinlein, and Edwin Abbott.

fulfills requirements