- Satire of Science in Charles Dickens’s Mudfog Papers: The Institutionalization of Science and the Importance of Rhetorical Diversity to Scientific Literacy
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 24, Number 2, Spring 2016
- pp. 197-227
- View Citation
- Additional Information
This article presents an analysis of the satire of science contained in Dickens’s second and third Mudfog Papers. In these sketches, Dickens satirizes science by targeting the distance that is beginning to materialize between science and culture at large, science enthusiasts’ alleged lack of mental prowess, and the institutionalization of science, especially with regard to the science’s exaggerated sense of self-importance and its craving of governmental funding and legal intervention in support of science. Dickens pillories the institutionalization of science even as he champions the professionalization of literature and the arts; this apparent paradox is explored. Additionally, the incipient interdisciplinary conversation between artists and science enthusiasts that is contained in The Mudfog Papers is considered. Finally, the importance of the satire of science as an example of rhetorical diversity necessary to achieve scientific literacy within the context of science’s nascent institutionalization is discussed, as is the potential of the satire of science to help hold science accountable.