Home truths: women writing science in the nuclear dawn

TitleHome truths: women writing science in the nuclear dawn
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsNewell, D
JournalEuropean Journal of American Culture
ISBN Number1466-0407
Keywords1900-1999, American literature, atomic age, Carson, Cyril, domestic Cold War, domesticity, Eric, Ernest, feminist literature, fiction, Grossman, Hamilton, History, International economics, Josephine Judith, Judd, Judith (1923-1997), literary marketplace, Merril, natural science, nuclear age, Political structure &amp, processes, Rachel (1907-1964), Rachel Carson, Rose, science fiction, science-fiction literature, scientific popularization, Sharon, Silent Spring, social criticism, Thorstein, women writers, World history

This paper develops a political reading of women writers’/writer-editors’ involvement in the American atomic age, Cold War-era fields of science fiction and popular science writing. Judith Merril (1928-97) in her post-war science-fiction writing and Rachel Carson (1907-64) in her international best-selling anti-pesticide polemic, Silent Spring (1962), capitalized on popular, mass-market literary genres as vehicles for social criticism in what Jessica Wang calls an ‘Age of Anxiety’ in which open criticism of American science, government, and the industrial-military complex carried high personal risk. Importantly, both explicitly politicized images of domesticity, thus joining women’s history to some of the most sweeping changes of the twentieth century. (Erratum : Dianne Newell's name was presented incorrectly in the article published as Diana Newell.)