Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World: Illustrating the Romance of Science

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Critics have argued that The Lost World's blend of technical realism and escapism offered a semi-serious commentary on how imperial expansion, journalistic exposés, and photographic reproduction technologies could reinvigorate early twentieth-century readers' paling sense of the world's romance. Conan Doyle did not personally seek enchantment solely in fiction but was attracted to the multifarious term "romance," sensitive to the ways in which both fiction and scientific investigation could provoke a more profoundly wondering sense of the world's mysteries. This article argues that Conan Doyle's collaboration with illustrator Patrick Lewis Forbes provides an insight into the nature of the former's attraction to and repulsion from scientific knowledge. It makes substantial use of various archival sources that have received little or no scholarly attention, including the novel's draft manuscript and related correspondence at the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library, supplying important information about the construction of the novel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-92
Number of pages30
JournalEnglish Literature in Transition 1880-1920
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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