Mathematics

Figure 1: Benjamin Herschel Babbage. “Engraving of Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine No. 1.” _Harper’s New Monthly Magazine_. 30 (175). In the Public Domain.

Roger Whitson, “The Difference Engine: 1832, 1855, 1876, 1991, 2002, 2008″

The difference engine is a case study in what media archaeologists see as a diversity of temporalities entangling the production and functionality of technological media. Only an unfinished prototype, what was called “Babbage’s beautiful fragment” existed of Babbage’s designs during his lifetime. Even so, many machinists created their own variations of the difference engine after Babbage’s death. This phenomenon, and the many troubles Babbage himself ran into regarding the materials used to create the difference engine, demonstrates that the machine’s functionality exceeded its inventor’s intentions and awareness.

Deanna Kreisel, “The Discovery of Hyperspace in Victorian Literature”

Deanna Kreisel, “The Discovery of Hyperspace in Victorian Literature”

This article examines the discovery of non-Euclidean and higher-dimensional geometries in the latter part of the nineteenth century.

Figure 1: Photograph of Thomas Hardy (c. 1910-15)

Anna Kornbluh, “Thomas Hardy’s ‘End of Prose,’ 1896″

This entry considers Thomas Hardy’s “End of Prose,” his renunciation of the novel in favor of poetry, as an important event in nineteenth-century literary history, motivated by aesthetic concerns. It reads the geometric imagery in Hardy’s final novel, Jude the Obscure, in connection with the advent of non-Euclidean geometry, suggesting that mathematical forms inspired Hardy’s turn to the poetic line.