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Observing By HandSketching the Nebulae in the Nineteenth Century$
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Omar W. Nasim

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226084374

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226084404.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Use And Reception

Use And Reception

Biography of Two Images

Chapter:
(p.83) 2 Use And Reception
Source:
Observing By Hand
Author(s):

Omar W. Nasim

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226084404.003.0004

Chapter 2 provides a broader cultural, historical, and philosophical context for the work of Lord Rosse and by extension other nebular researchers. By following the public circulation and consumption, reproduction and presentation of two published images of the same object (M51), it is possible to explore how different publics used the images, what was expected of them, and how the images were fashioned or manipulated in order to fit particular purposes, arguments, or visions of the cosmos. Of particular interest is how the published images of the “Great Spiral” operated as the phenomenon to be explained by scientific theory. In light of their proxy status, the images were used to identify the possible mechanics, constitution, and structure of the object in space. At the same time they were also used to critique practices of looking and drawing, and to enlarge the public’s imagination and sometimes horror of the dark infinite. This chapter broadens our perspective of the power of the image of a nebula for Victorian audiences.

Keywords:   William Whewell, John Pringle Nichol, Vincent Van Gogh, Camille Flammarion, Visual Culture, Circulation, Whirlpool Galaxy M51, Art and Science, Engraving

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