On the wings of imagination”: Agnes Giberne and women as the storytellers of victorian astronomy

Daw, Gillian (2014) On the wings of imagination”: Agnes Giberne and women as the storytellers of victorian astronomy. The Victorian, 2 (1). pp. 1-23. ISSN 2309-091X

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Agnes Giberne was a “pioneer” of easy to understand astronomy books for children and beginners. She merged fact with fiction to educate her readers about the wonders of the heavens and the religious significance she believed resided there. Employing the dialogue form and the theme of the cosmic journey she encouraged her readers to learn about the sun, moon and planets on “the wings of imagination”. Victorian astronomy was predominantly a male science and astronomical writing operated as chiefly a male genre. Yet, Giberne carved out a place as one of the most popular writers on astronomy in the late nineteenth century, her works appealing across generational, gender and class lines. Giberne’s astronomical writing was shaped by contemporary critical responses to women’s place in astronomical science and the genres acceptable for female authorship. Writing for children, using analogies from botany and being “mindful” of her “catechism”, Giberne stayed within the bounds of Victorian femininity. However, Giberne used her writing on astronomy, not only as an acceptable feminine vehicle for transmitting the facts of astronomical science, but also to show how women, as well as men, could be the storytellers of astronomy.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Subjects: L Education
P Language and Literature
Q Science
T Technology
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Gillian Daw
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2014 14:13
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 21:34
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/49295

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