Bruce Clarke

Bruce Clarke nsIn literature thermodynamics, Bruce Clarke (c. 1950-) is an American professor of literature and science noted for his 2001 book Energy Forms: Allegory and Science in the Era of Classical Thermodynamics. This work analyzes the interactions among energy and entropy, heat and radiation, and their symbolic presentations in the literature of the times, as in the Nefastis machine. It draws on the writings of well-known literary and scientific authors including James Maxwell, William Thomson, Balfour Stewart, H. G. Wells, Camille Flammarion, Yevgeny Zamyatin, and D.H. Lawrence. He critiques the use of thermodynamics in literature, e.g. social energy, by Zamyatin, in his 1920 novel We, or Thomas Pynchon, and his 1966 novel The Crying of Lot 49. [1]

In 1995, Clarke published Allegories of Writing, applying allegory theory to narratives of bodily metamorphosis. Soon thereafter, Clarke developed a fascination with Maxwell's demon, which can be thought of as an allegorical figure fulfilling a thermodynamic thought-experiment duty. In his 1996 book, Dora Marsden and Early Modernism, Clarke included studies of the 19th-century interplay between vitalistic and thermodynamic ideas.

Eventually Clarke’s scholarship turned entirely toward the overlap of literature and science, where he came upon chaos theory and Weiner's cybernetics, coming under the impression that Boltzmann's entropy formula sat behind Shannon's calculus of information entropy, among other similar thoughts.

Since his high school science class years in the 1960s, Clarke has built up, autodidactically, upon his knowledge of science, occasional readings in popular science (Lewis Thomas, James Gleick, Primo Levi's Periodic Table, etc), especially using history-of-science scholarship as a guide, as well as following the growing body of work in literature and science, such as William Paulson and Katherine Hayles, and the philosophy of science of Michel Serres. This effort solidified in 1989 when Clarke joined the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA).

Clarke completed his BA (1974) from Columbia College, and PhD (1980) from State University of New York at Buffalo, both in English. [2] Clarke is currently a professor of literature and science at Texas Tech University.

See also
Bill Poirier

1. (a) Clarke, Bruce. (2001). Energy Forms: Allegory and Science in the Era of Classical Thermodynamics. University of Michigan Press.
(b) Morrisson, Mark. (2002). “Review Essay: Why Modernist Studies and Science Studies Need Each Other”, Modernism / Modernity, Vol. 9, No. 4, pgs. 675-82.
2. Bruce Clarke – Curriculum vitae.
3. Email communicate from Clark to Libb Thims on April 22, 2009.

Further reading
● Clarke, Bruce. (1996). “Allegories of Victorian Thermodynamics” (abs), Configurations 4(1): 67-90, Winter.
● Clarke, Bruce. (2002). “From Thermodynamics to Virtuality,” (pp.17-33) in From Energy to Information: Representation in Science and Technology, Art, and Literature (see also: Part I: The Cultures of Thermodynamics, (pgs. 35-94). Ed. Clarke and Henderson. Stanford University Press.
● Clarke, Bruce. (2009). “Information” and “Communication”, in Critical Terms for Media Studies. University Press.

External links
Bruce Clarke (faculty) – Texas Tech University.

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