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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
August 2023
Print publication year:
Online ISBN:
Creative Commons:
Creative Common License - CC Creative Common License - BY Creative Common License - NC
This content is Open Access and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence CC-BY-NC 4.0

Book description

Literature, Science, and Public Policy shows how literature can influence public policy concerning scientific controversies in genetics and other areas. Literature brings unique insights to issues involving cloning, GMOs, gene editing, and more by dramatizing their full human complexity. Literature's value for public policy is demonstrated by striking examples that range from the literary response to evolution in the Victorian era through the modern synthesis of evolution and genetics in the mid-twentieth century to present-day genomics. Outlining practical steps for humanists who want to help shape public policy, this book offers vivid readings of novels by H. G. Wells, H. Rider Haggard, Aldous Huxley, Robert Heinlein, Octavia Butler, Samuel R. Delany, David Mitchell, Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan, Kazuo Ishiguro, Gary Shteyngart, and others that illustrate the important insights that literary studies can bring to debates about science and society. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.


‘Jay Clayton has provided a state-of-the-art toolkit for humanities scholars engaging with policy, but also for their Deans, PVCs, Vice-Chancellors, and funding bodies who support interdisciplinary research and outward-facing institutions. Clayton's expert knowledge of literary history and lifelong collaborations in science and technology will be of interest to anyone who wants informed opinion on literature and science, evolution, epigenetics, the modern synthesis, and genomics.'

Regenia Gagnier - University of Exeter

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Full book PDF
  • Literature, Science, and Public Policy
    pp i-ii
  • Literature, Science, and Public Policy - Title page
    pp iii-iii
  • From Darwin to Genomics
  • Copyright page
    pp iv-iv
  • Dedication
    pp v-vi
  • Contents
    pp vii-viii
  • Preface
    pp ix-xviii
  • Acknowledgments
    pp xix-xx
  • Part I - Literature and Science Policy
    pp 1-30
  • Chapter 1 - A New Project for the Humanities
    pp 3-30
  • (Ian McEwan)
  • Part II - Deep Time
    pp 31-94
  • Chapter 2 - Victorian Chimeras
    pp 35-53
  • (H. G. Wells, Thomas H. Huxley)
  • Part III - The Modern Synthesis
    pp 95-144
  • Part IV - Genome Time
    pp 145-197
  • Chapter 7 - Time Considered as a Helix of Infinite Possibilities
    pp 147-162
  • (Samuel R. Delany)
  • Chapter 8 - Biodystopia
    pp 163-181
  • (Gary Shteyngart, Philip Kerr, Margaret Atwood)
  • Chapter 9 - Clones and Other Sorrows
    pp 182-197
  • (Kazuo Ishiguro)
  • Conclusion
    pp 198-203
  • Notes
    pp 204-222
  • Works Cited
    pp 223-243
  • Index
    pp 244-254


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